Singapore’s first self-service manga library by National Library Board (NLB), debuted on 20 February 2023, with a sizable selection of over 5,000 graphic novels and manga comics.
A six-month pop-up by NLB at the City Square Mall (fourth floor), offers an interesting ‘Grab-n-Go’ facility as per which the manga library’s whole collection is easily accessible for reading and borrowing.
What makes the manga library rare and worth exploring?
The massive collection
Captain V, the first comic to be published in Singapore in full colour, Bookworm Gang Adventures, a 1990s hit among young readers and Medium Rare, the first comic adaptation of a film in the country, are all a part of the collection. The expansive collection also features renowned titles including Spy x Family, Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun, Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon Adventures (Red, Green and Blue).
Additionally, to highlight Singapore’s vibrant comic culture, this exhibition includes some manga comics that are now difficult to find there.
According to NLB, Japanese publisher Shogakukan Asia has contributed about one-fifth of the manga titles and has promised to do so again.
As per reports, The chief executive of NLB, Ng Cher Pong, said, “Many of our patrons enjoy creative and inspiring works like manga, and we are happy to collaborate with (our partners) to bring this collection to everyone.”
High-tech ‘Grab-n-Go’ system
You can easily borrow comics from the pop-up store by heading to the exit gate after selecting the books you want and scanning your NRIC or NLB eCard to enter the area.
The specific books being borrowed will be displayed on a screen during checkout owing to ultra-high radio frequency identification technology.
Thereafter, you will receive a confirmation email. However, it is worth noting that only a maximum of eight books can be borrowed at a time.
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Mr. Kiasu – The robot
The library also has Mr. Kiasu, a robot concierge, who can recommend books and instruct visitors on how to use the Grab-n-Go system.
The protagonist of the eponymous local comic book, Mr. Kiasu serves as the inspiration for the robot, which was developed by NLB in partnership with the local robotics company Dex-Lab.
(Main and Featured Image Credit: National Library Board, Singapore/Facebook)