Old National Library Building

Singapore, Singapore

Old National Library Building

The Old National Library Building was a demolished historical library building at Stamford Road in the Museum Planning Area of Singapore. Originally completed in 1960, the library building was a national icon for many Singaporeans. Despite a huge groundswell of public dissent, the library was closed on 31 March 2004, and was demolished in July that year to make way for the construction of the Fort Canning Tunnel to ease road traffic to the city. The controversy surrounding the building's demise has been credited for sparking greater awareness of local cultural roots and an unprecedented wave in favour of heritage conservation among Singaporeans.

The Old National Library traces its roots to Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, who in 1823 started a small private collection of books housed in the Raffles Institution. This was known as Raffles Library, and access to the collection was limited to the British and privileged class. Dr. Robert Morrison, an eminent missionary and educator became the first librarian from 1823 to 1845. He was mainly responsible for establishing the plans with Raffles and soliciting book donations for the Library. When it was first built, it has a red-brick façade.

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