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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Back

Branch Services and Collections
What services and collections do NLB's public libraries offer?

NLB Community and Regional Libraries
Regional Library
The regional library has an extensive collection, as it is targeted not only at the people living in that particular township, but also at those who have more specialised information needs. Such a library offers a wider range of reference materials (in both print and non-print formats), in addition to the general collection. The regional library also functions as a test-bed for many new services before full rollout to the community libraries.

Community Library
A community library services the people living in that particular township. It caters to the information needs of the community and has a balance of both fiction and non-fiction materials, in print and non-print format. Value-added services like the video-lending and CD-ROM lending service are being rolled out in stages to the community libraries. Community outreach efforts include regular library programmes for both children and adults.

Community Children's Libraries
Community Children's Libraries are located in the void decks of HDB (Housing and Development Board) estates, and are targeted at children 10 and under. They offer books in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, in addition to multimedia terminals to make learning fun. The young members can borrow up to four books for a period of two weeks. In addition, they have the privilege of borrowing another four books for three weeks from any community library. This privilege only applies to Singapore Citizens. Singapore Permanent Residents and foreigners can only apply as community library members at the community libraries.

National Reference Library (NRL)
What type of materials and services does the National Reference Library offer?

The National Reference Library offers the following:

  • General Reference Centre 1 and 2
  • Specialised Reference Collections
  • Reference Point
  • Singapore Resource Centre
  • InfoXpress
  • Business Information Service Centre
  • Multimedia Centre
  • Document Supply Service
  • Reprographic Services
Please check out the NRL section for a comprehensive view of its services.

NLB's Reference Point
How can I submit my reference inquiries to NLB's Reference Point?

The National Reference Library offers a Reference Point service that can be contacted via:
i) Telephone : 6332-3255
ii) Fax : 6332-3248
iii) Internet : Reference Point form

Returning Loans To Any Branch
Can I return library books to any branch library?

Members may borrow books and return them at any other regional and community library, except at the community children's libraries. However, books with accompanying CD-ROMs must always be returned as a set. Video tapes must be returned to the library of origin either through the video drop or at the customer service counter.

Bookdrop: Operating Hours
What are the bookdrop operating hours for NLB libraries?

Library bookdrops are accessible 24 hours a day except at shopping mall libraries; this is because access is dependent on the opening hours of the shopping mall. Check out the Branches & Hours section for locations and operating hours of all NLB libraries.

Bookdrops Offering Immediate Cancellation

Such bookdrops are available at:

This integrated system promptly cancels your loans when you slot the books into the bookdrop. Thus, you can proceed to borrow books immediately after returning your loans.

Note :

  • Remember to slot items in one at a time, so as to ensure accuracy in the cancellation of loans.
  • You will hear a beep and the 'Returned' sign will light up after you slot each item into the bookdrop.
  • Audio-visual materials must be returned at the Customer Services Counter.
  • Sword-fighting books must be returned as a full set.

Popular Picks
What are Popular Picks?

Popular Picks are browsing shelves, strategi' cally located near the entrance of our libraries. When books are returned via the bookdrops, staff select the popular titles and place these on the Popular Picks shelves. You can therefore get access to popular titles within 15 minutes of their return.

Borrower's Enquiry (BNQ) Terminal
How do I use the Borrower's Enquiry (BNQ) terminal at NLB's libraries?

Following are the step-by-step instructions:

Library members can easily check their loan records, pay renewal charges and overdue fines at the BNQ terminals at our libraries.

Step 1
Hold your membership card or NRIC without blocking the barcode.

Flash the barcode on your card across the scanner.

Step 2
Your loan record and payment charges (if any) will be displayed.
Step 3
Insert your cashcard into the slot to pay for charges listed under 'Payable Here'.
Step 4
Please wait for the charges to be deducted and for your records to be updated. Remember to collect your cashcard.
Step 5
To clear the screen, flash the barcode on your card across the scanner.

Borrowing Stations
How do I use the Borrowing Station at the community and regional libraries?

The Borrowing Station uses Radio Frequency (RF) transmission to identify library items. This technology makes borrowing items more convenient.

A Machine Status
B Interactive Screen
C Option Buttons
D Membership Card/NRIC Slot
E Receipt Dispensing Slot
F Borrowing Zone

Step 1
Select a language by pressing a silver option button.
Step 2
Place membership card or NRIC into slot with barcode facing away from you. Do not remove the card until all items have been successfully borrowed.
Step 3
Place only one item on the Borrowing Zone. Remove item from Borrowing Zone when screen shows 'Loan Confirmed'.
Step 4
Repeat Step 3 if you wish to borrow more items. To end, remove membership card or NRIC from the slot.
Step 5
Remember to collect your receipt.

Please check out sword-fighting books at our Customer Services Counter.

Multimedia Pre-payment Station
Which libraries have Multimedia Pre-payment Stations?

The Credit Charging and Pre-payment System is a cashless method introduced by NLB at the following libraries:

All you have to do is start a Virtual Account initially using a CashCard at the Multimedia Pre-payment Station at the above libraries. Access to your Virtual Account is easy.
  • You can use your NRIC/FIN/Membership Card number.
  • You can start up an account with just $1.00, and can top up your credit to a maximum of $15.00.
  • Credit will be deducted on a per minute basis of $0.03.

In addition to the above sites, accounts created at the sites listed below can now be used for payments on eLibraryHub. (www.elibraryhub.com)

* Your account here is known as 'Pre-paid Account'. As a registered multimedia user at this library, you can use your Pre-paid Account to pay fees and fines.

Approach the counter staff if you would like more information on this service.

Which library services can I pay for via cashcard?

Use your cashcard for the following library transactions at the National Reference Library, regional and community libraries:

  • Reservation of items
  • Loss/damage of library materials
  • Membership subscription

  • - Foreigners
    - Permanent Residents
    - Premium Membership
  • Audio-visual lending service subscription at selected libraries
  • Use of multimedia terminals at libraries with multimedia services
  • Photocopying service at selected libraries
  • Registration fee and loan payment for bulk loan members
  • Renewal of items *
  • Fines for overdue items *
(* Payable at the Borrower Enquiry Service/Payment (BNQ) Terminals)

Singapore ONE Access at Libraries
Which libraries offer Singapore ONE Access?

Singapore ONE (One Network for Everyone) is the world's first nation-wide broadband network, which delivers rich, interactive multimedia applications and services to everyone in Singapore. Enjoy the rich content, multimedia applications and quick access of Singapore ONE at our libraries. The following libraries offer Singapore ONE access:

$2 per hour:

Credit charging is used at these libraries. The fee is $0.03 per minute: Singapore ONE access at CCLs is free:

What is InfoXpress?

InfoXpress offers walk-in library users a quick information resource about Singapore. It points to information via a searchable database.

InfoXpress is a good first stop if you are looking for a particular place, person, or topic related to Singapore or the region. The service is available at the following libraries:

* InfoXpress is available via the Multimedia Stations

Why is the colour-coding method used at the libraries?

Colour coded book spine labels help library staff shelf books easily and quickly. A unique colour band is assigned to each letter of the alphabet or to the digits 0 through 9. Other useful information indicated on the label include subject category, language, ' call number and barcode.