Ephemera is a term that refers to items intended for short-term use, such as tickets, pamphlets and brochures. The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library collects a variety of print ephemera, namely leaflets, pamphlets, brochures, information sheets, and other minor documents of a few pages or less. Ephemera are valuable sources containing unique information that can supplement standard reference materials. They are useful to researchers wishing to obtain information on societal, cultural, economic and historical developments.
Our ephemera collection relates mainly to heritage landmarks, organisations and events in Singapore, many of which were issued to promote local cultural events and programmes. When taken in their respective historical contexts, ephemera can reveal much about the culture and society of its time.
Currently, the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library has about 20,000 ephemera items related to Singapore in our collection, and the highlights in our ephemera collection include the Lim Shao Bin collection, which features ephemera from the Japanese occupation, as well as election brochures from the 2011 and 2015 General Election. Ephemera made for local cultural events from several organisations, including W!ld Rice, British Council Singapore and the Indian Heritage Centre, are also selectively collected.
Locating Ephemera on the NLB Catalogue
To search for ephemera, simply follow the steps below:
- Click on the Advanced Search on the NLB Catalogue homepage. This is found on the bottom right corner of the search bar.
- Under Material Type, scroll down and select Ephemera.
From here, you can click Search to pull up the National Library’s entire collection of ephemera. If you know the title or subject of the ephemera you are looking for, you can choose to narrow down your search by Title or Author. You may also narrow the selection by year.
In the following example, let us look for ephemera created by W!ld Rice in 2018.
If there are records matching your keywords in our collection, you will then be directed to this search results page.
Otherwise, try using different keywords and broaden your search. Click on the result to view the item description.
Select View Availability to retrieve the item’s Call Number. This will be found on the top right hand corner of your screen.
Once done, approach the Counter on Level 11 of the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library with the relevant title and call number to retrieve the records for viewing.