The National Library Board (NLB) will launch a library of Japanese graphic books and comics popularly known as manga, in a fully self-service “Grab-n-Go” library at a mall. Available from 20 Feb 2023 for the next six months, patrons can check out this pop-up Manga Library at Level 4 of City Square Mall, and also have fun with a Mr Kiasu robot onsite that can offer book recommendations, guide them in using Grab-n-Go, among other services!

NLB’s First Manga Library

Following positive public feedback on the Grab-n-Go pilot launched at the National Library Building last May, NLB is now taking the seamless Grab-n-Go experience to patrons at a popular destination, City Square Mall. As NLB’s first manga library, patrons can borrow from a colourful and vast collection of 5,000 manga books, enjoy a wide variety of creative digital manga on e-Reads screens, and discover more about the Singapore comics scene at the exhibition space. Some of the popular manga titles, such as Dragon Ball Z by Akira Toriyama and Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo, will be available.

NLB's First Manga Library Opens at City Square Mall

NLB's First Manga LibraryA vast collection of 5,000 manga book titles for patrons to borrow and enjoy (first and second images). [Photo credit: National Library Board]

Close to 1,000 out of the 5,000 titles, including Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun and Pokémon Adventures RGB, are donated by Japanese publisher Shogakukan Asia. They will donate more copies as more titles in the donated series are published.

Patrons can also discover more about Singapore’s own rich comic culture at the showcase wall featuring local comics donated by local comic collectors from their personal collections. This showcase aims to draw attention to Singapore’s own strong culture of comics, and features comics that are now hard to find in Singapore. These comics will also be added to the National Library’s collection of heritage materials subsequently. The collection includes Captain V, Singapore’s first full-colour comic, as well as Medium Rare, Singapore’s first comic adaptation of a film. Issues of Bookworm Gang Adventures will also bring back nostalgic memories for Singapore’s comic book fans. This special showcased collection will not be available for loan, and serves as a permanent display for all to enjoy.

Manga Library Singapore's own rich comic cultureA showcase wall featuring local comics donated by local comic collectors. [Photo credit: National Library Board]

All titles in the Grab-n-Go manga library will be available for browsing and borrowing. Library patrons may also borrow digital copies from the eManga collection on the NLB Mobile app and eResources website at here.

Mr Kiasu Robot Concierge

Patrons can also look out for the Mr Kiasu robot concierge, based on the lead character in the popular local comic series. Created specially by NLB in collaboration with partners Dex-Lab, a local social robotics company, and one of the co-creators of Mr Kiasu, Johnny Lau, the Mr Kiasu robot concierge, programmed with an AI-generated voice, will recommend books and provide basic instructions on using Grab-n-Go.

NLB's First Manga Library Mr Kiasu Robot ConciergeInteractive life-size model of the Mr Kiasu robot concierge. [Photo credit: National Library Board]

NLB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ng Cher Pong, said: “Many of our patrons enjoy creative and inspiring works like manga, and we are happy to collaborate with Dex-Lab, Shogakukan Asia and City Square Mall, to bring this collection to everyone. The new Grab-n-Go library is part of our LAB25 plans to grow our Learning Marketplace by progressively expanding the network of touch-points for patrons to get NLB’s books and resources even more easily.”

Grab-n-Go Library in a Mall

NLB’s Grab-n-Go aims to make borrowing books easier and more convenient with a seamless automated self-checkout service. This initiative is part of NLB’s ongoing LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025) efforts to enhance the reading and discovery experience for its patrons and build a vibrant Learning Marketplace through community partnerships. Patrons can scan their ID to enter the space, pick the books that they want to borrow, head to the exit gantry, and check out their books with ease. NLB will continue to explore collaborations with partners, including mall operators, publishers and individual donors, to set up more Grab-n-Go libraries around Singapore.

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