Letter to ST Forum remembering Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s commitment to Singapore’s libraries.
4 May 2015 // Filed under Articles
Credit for World-class libraries goes to Mr Lee
Published on May 1, 2015 1:15 AM
TO ME, as part of the pioneer generation, the death of Mr Lee Kuan Yew is indeed very sad.
I grew up with his towering presence and inspiring eloquence.
As a librarian and a book person, I find that without Mr Lee's support and vision, libraries in Singapore would not have developed this far - into becoming among the best in the world.
He opened the Queenstown Library in 1970; it was the first branch library in Singapore and was our initial attempt, under Mr Lee's direction, to reach out to the community. I was at the opening ceremony as a young library officer. I still remember vividly his commanding stature and energy as he greeted us and shook our hands.
Mr Lee believed in the importance of libraries. From the early days, he had a close relationship with Mrs Hedwig Anuar, the then director of the library.
Mr Lee would call her for any information and for the loan of books he needed for reference.
He donated some of his books as well. His children, too, as students, particularly Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, patronised the former National Library in Stamford Road.
Mr Lee's personal interest and belief in the value of reading have, without doubt, been instrumental in promoting the stature of libraries and in nurturing the culture of reading in Singapore.
The international standards and professionalism demonstrated in our libraries are yet another testimony to how Mr Lee walked the talk in his leadership. The current library scene, like many other aspects of Singapore, is credited to his foresight and vision.
National Book Development Council of Singapore