The National Library provides the largest public collection of reference materials and reference service in Singapore. It aims to be the premier resource centre for materials on Singapore, Southeast Asia and Asia serving the research and information needs of researchers, professionals and the general public. These collections and services are accessible through the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library (LKCRL).
The collections are for reference only and are not for loan. Some special formats materials and older Singapore materials are kept in the Closed Stacks (RCLOS). These can be requested for onsite consultation.
The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library houses different collections at each level:
Level 7: Business, Science and Technology collections
Level 8: Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities collections
Level 9: Chinese, Malay and Tamil collections and the Asian Children’s Literature collection
Level 11: Singapore and Southeast Asia collections
All our collection items can be found in our online Catalogue. When clicking on “View Availability”, a pop-up window will display the respective locations of individual items. Please refer to “Library” and “Section/Shelf Location” for accessing the materials.
Listed here are the different item locations as you would see under “Section/Shelf Location” for items from the LKCRL.
Items in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library
For items from Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, please refer to the Section/Shelf Location within the catalogue entry:
These items should be available in the open shelves. Please head to the respective level (levels 7, 8, 9 or 11) and look for the corresponding shelf numbers and shelf sections.
Items are shelved according to their call numbers.
These items are in our Closed Stacks and are not found on the open shelves. You can make an online reservation to access these materials, or request for them in-person at the Level 11 Information Counter.
You may plan your visit ahead of time and make an online reservation (free of charge) to access these materials. Please place an online request at least 2 working days before your visit. You will be informed of your application status the next working day. Our staff will email you with instructions on how to retrieve your items for reference during your visit.
You can also request for these items at the Level 11 Information Counter during library opening hours. These items will be retrieved from our Closed Stacks by our staff. This typically takes 20 minutes, but may require more time, depending on complexity of the request. You can view the items in the library until closing time the same day. Please return the items to the counter when you are done.
These rare items often hold heritage value and are not available for reference without written permission. Due to preservation considerations, the rare materials are kept in a controlled environment at the National Library.
Researchers are encouraged to use the surrogate copies (microfilms or digitised copies) of the rare materials.
Please refer to the catalogue entries for details for each item:
- Refer to Shelving Notes for any microfilms (which begin with NLxxxxx), or
- Refer to Electronic Access for any digital surrogate copy (URLs mostly accessible from home, otherwise available at a dedicated terminal at Level 11 of the Library).
- Microfilms are viewable at Level 11 of the Library, while digitised copies are accessible on BookSG.
- For requests to view the physical item, a request form to access the Rare Collection must be submitted. A detailed explanation for the purpose of research and explanation for the necessity to access the physical item is compulsory. Please click here to access the request form.
Items in the Repository Used Book Collection or PublicationSG
As these items are not physically stored in the LKCRL, a reservation must be made in order to access these materials.1 Items will take at least 3-5 working days to arrive in the library. Items will be made available for on-site consultation for a period of 2-3 weeks. Detailed instructions will be emailed to you upon a successful reservation. Please note that the reservation fee will still be charged for any uncollected items.
The Repository Used Book Collection includes items which are the last copies of titles in the National Library Board’s (NLB) collection, out of print titles, materials with research value or historical value, and titles used less frequently although still relevant to Singapore, Southeast Asia and Asia. You may find out more here.
Repository Used Book Collection items can be reserved using this form.
PublicationSG is the National Library’s collection of our nation’s published heritage. These are materials collected through the Legal Deposit statutory function of the NLB. These items can only be retrieved for on-site consultation if there are no other loan or reference copies available in NLB’s catalogue. You may find out more here.
PublicationSG items can be reserved using this form.
For further assistance
Should you require any further clarifications or any assistance, please email us at email@example.com.
A reservation fee of S$1.55 per item applies. Please allow 3-5 working days for the item to be made available for consultation. Terms and conditions apply. ↩