1) Each registered member is given a number of library cards like the one in the photo above.
2) When you want to borrow a book, the librarian will take out the card from a pocket mounted on the back cover of the book and slot in your membership card and place it in a wooden box with the cards arranged in alphabetical order.
3) She will stamp the due date on the Due Date slip pasted on the back cover of the book.
4) When you return the book, she would look for your card and take out the book card, slot it back into the pocket in the back of the book and return your card to you.
(Photo credit: Above black and white photo is from the National Library Board's CD; MOMENTS & MEMORIES)
Recently, I received an email from an architectural student asking me if I could recall what used be on the grassy patch of land at the junction of Armenian Street and Stamford Road. See photo below; and here’s my reply. I wonder if older readers can confirm if I remember correctly.
"If my memory serves me, it used to be a sort of make-shift, single storey open coffee shop; i.e. without walls. Stalls may be a better word. So as the bus rounded the bend from Armenian Street and turns left into Stamford Rd, immediately there is bus stop. This coffee shop is directly behind the bus stop. Immediately after the bus stop is the entrance (for cars) to the Nat Lib. Further down is the exit, and after that is the National Museum.
Behind this coffee shop would be an open car park. I think part of it is still there. Many users of the library would take their meals here. Across the road at Waterloo Street were several very famous Indian sarabak stalls selling Indian Rojak and Mee Rebus. When we want to get to the library, we take a bus and alight at Bras Basah Rd and walk along Waterloo Street. We were bound to be accosted by the hawkers.
What I remember most about the coffee shop at the Library was the ice kacang. They had these jars of multi-colour syrup and there were always some bees hovering around them. Even when you were not going to the library, the bus always stopped at this bus stop and if you were sitting in the aisle seat, you could see these syrup and bees.
What are my thoughts when I pass this place? The green patch itself - not much except for the bees and syrup. My other thought is; "No life".
But this area as a whole; especially the tunnel entrance make me fell a sense of resentment that the government refused to listen to the people and insisted on destroying something so dear to our memories of our childhood; in spite of strong objections from many people."
I remember our PM saying at one of his National Rally speeches that the government wanted to redevelop this area into a ‘hip’ and happening place where young people can hangout etc. etc. But when I see this place now, it looks so deserted and lifeless. During our time, it was truly full of life. Even the MPH building was always crowded with students and young people.
One more question for the oldies. According to my 1981 street directory, there was CPIB (Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau) building next to the library. I don’t have any recollections of this building. I always thought the CPIB building was at Cantonment Road?