Friday, 25 September 2009

Another NLS

I've been back in Scotland for two weeks now, but on my way back I stopped off at Singapore to break the journey.
For me, no visit to a city is complete without visiting its main library, so I went along to the National Library of Singapore. There was also the added attraction of air-conditioning, my respite from the relentless humid heat....
Seriously, it is an impressive set up. The Central Public Library, the 24-hour bookdrop, study lounge, Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, gardens, exhibition space, rental facilities and library e-kiosks are all housed in a 102.8m high environmentally-friendly building with 59,000 sqm floor space.
Like the National Library of Scotland, the Singapore library collects books under the provision of a Legal Deposit Act (Singapore's National Library Board Act 1995). Unlike the National Library of Scotland which collects one copy, it requires publishers to provide two copies of every publication.
In the northern hemisphere's NLS we have the Bibliography of Scotland; our southern counterpart has Singapore National Bibliography. Both libraries' main function is to preserve works of writers, publishers and producers in all forms and to make them available for public research. It made me feel very close to home.
One thing that is very different to my workplace in Edinburgh is the creation in Singapore's library of its own weather system. An auto irrigation system provides moisture and atrium spaces draw wind in, creating natural ventilation.
So on the next autumnal blustery day here I'll remember the thick heat of Singapore and smile!

(Photos show view of Singapore and the National Library of Singapore main sign)