If you ever stop by your local bookstore these days, you’ll notice that the top-selling form of fiction hails from Japan. Packed with a kaleidoscopic array of story premises, characters, and intricate illustrations, reading Manga has gone from an underground pastime to a new norm.
Now, the medium is set to be even more accessible to the public as the National Library Board (NLB) launches their first Manga Library — located right in City Square Mall’s level four as a pop-up store.
Available from 20 Feb 2023 and lasting the next six months, you can sample from a dizzying supply of 5000 manga books, ranging from OG titles such as Akira Toriyama’s Dragonball Z and Tite Kubo’s Bleach, to modern classics like Tetsuya Endo’s Spy x Family and Cells at Work by Akane Shimizu.
From this original amount, about 1000 titles have been generously donated by Japanese publisher Shogakukan Asia, offering favourites including Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun, and Pokemon Adventures RGB. But there’s more coming as well! The publisher plans to donate additional copies as more titles from the donated series are released.
As part of its aim to enhance the discovery and ease of borrowing, the NLB also brings two new features to your patronage experience. Firstly, this Manga library has an aptly-named Grab-n-Go system, allowing you to simply pick up to eight books of your choice and have them automatically checked out once you enter the exit gantry gates and scan your NRIC or NLB eCard.
If your appetite for reading exceeds the amount you can carry home, you can also turn to borrowing digital copies from the eManga collection on the NLB mobile app and eResources website.
Not everything has been focused purely on manga; patrons can also discover more about Singapore’s local comic scene at the showcase wall featuring donated works from local artists. The collection comprises works such as Captain V, Singapore’s first full-colour comic, and Medium Rare, Singapore’s first comic adaptation of a film.
While these items will not be available for loan, they can be viewed as part of the area’s permanent display. Almost like a museum installation!
Be sure to also look out for the robot concierge of our local icon Mr Kiasu; it is as though he has come straight out of the popular comic series into real life! In a partnership between NLB and Dex-Lab (a social robotics company), Mr Kiasu will not only guide users on using the Grab-n-Go service but will provide book recommendations as well through AI voice generation!
Whether you are a casual bystander curious about the manga scene, or a cultured individual looking for new titles to sample or return to, visit the NLB Manga Library at Level 4 of City Square Mall now!
Visuals courtesy of the National Library Board.