A Tribute to Donors to NUS Libraries

NUS Libraries has received notable gifts and donations from private donors in recent years. Donations ranging from $500 to $5 million have been primarily used to purchase books, build special collections and renovate a library. We greatly appreciate these opportunities as a large portion of our annual operating budget is spent on subscription to current and ongoing resources.

Special collections of historical or research value are particularly precious to NUS Libraries because not only do they benefit scholars and researchers, the knowledge produced and communicated by the scholarly community ultimately benefits society.

We are delighted to announce that we used donated funds to complete our acquisition of the outstanding Siku Quanshu series and in early 2008,for the digitization project of Lat Pau.

Siku Quanshu (库全书) [Complete Library in Four Branches of Literature] is indisputably the single largest collection of Chinese classics in the world. With deep appreciation to the family of Mr Wan Boo Sow (雲茂潮先生), NUS Libraries is now one of the few libraries outside China and Taiwan to own the complete Siku series. This important East Asian Studies resource is now easily available to scholars and researchers within Southeast Asia.

Lat Pau (叻报) is the longest-running Chinese newspaper during pre-war Singapore. Regrettably, the earliest issues of Lat Pau are lost and now the issues extant at the NUS Chinese Library cover only the period from August 19, 1887 to March 31, 1932. The Library hopes the digitization project will preserve and further extend access to this invaluable pre-war resource for Singapore and Chinese Overseas research. Funding of the Lat Pau digitization project was sponsored by the family of Mrs Wang-Chen Hsiu Chin (陈秀女士) in memory of her.

Special print collections gifted to the Library are acknowledged with book plates bearing the names of the donors.

The significant endowment of over $5 million from the late Mr Koh Choon Joo, with a matching grant from the government, to name the Law Library has enabled us to upgrade the library building to house Singapore’s premier law research collection under suitable conditions, as well as provide the essential network facilities and environment conducive for research and study. A plaque was installed prominently at the entrance and driveway to perpetuate the name of our generous donor.

Smaller contributions, starting from $500 can be made through a new scheme, initiated by an NUS Alumnus, which is tailored for purchase of specific subjects of library resources (print and electronic).

The Family of Mr Wan Boo Sow
The Wan Family has generously donated over S$100,000 to NUS Libraries, specifically for Chinese Library to acquire Chinese materials.  The Wan Family’s connection with NUS Libraries can be traced back in mid-1990s, where they donated some collection to Chinese Library. Since 1996, the Wan Family has been making generous yearly donations of S$10,000 to Chinese Library. This year, they made a new fresh gift pledge of S$150,000 to Chinese Library over the next ten years.

The Chinese Library has been using donations from the Wan Family for the acquisition of several important voluminous works. Notable among these are: Continuation of Sikuquanshu, Siku Banned Titles Series, Siku Excluded Titles Series, Collection of Local Gazettes of Hainan Province, Collection of Literary Works of Hainan Prominent Scholars, Biographies sources in Local gazettes from Huabei Region, Complete Works of Song dynasty and The Rare Books of Song Dynasty. These acquisitions have considerably enriched the Library’s resources and proven a great boon to researchers.

Mrs Wang-Chen Hsiu Chin
NUS Libraries received a $30,000 gift from the family of Mrs Wang-Chen Hsiu Chin (1922-1983), in support of its efforts to digitize its collection of Lat Pau (叻报), the longest running Chinese daily in pre-war Singapore.

The gift is in honour of the late Mrs Wang-Chen Hsiu Chin who was the University Librarian of the former University of Singapore, the predecessor institution of NUS. Mrs Wang joined the library in 1955 and retired as the head of the library in 1978.  She obtained both her MA in Political Science and Master of Librarianship from the University of Washington in Seattle. Prior to that, she had worked with a leading local Chinese newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau as a journalist and as the head of its resource centre.

The Straits Times, in reporting her passing in 1983, described Mrs Wang as “the woman who helped build the then University of Singapore’s library into one of the best in this region.” (S.T. 11.5.1983) Mrs Lee-Wang Cheng Yeng, daughter of Mrs Wang says: “This gift, made on the 25th anniversary of my mother’s earthly departure, is a tribute to a remarkable woman known for her professionalism, dedication and indomitable spirit. It is appropriate to celebrate her life and contributions by giving back to the library she had loved and served so well.” 

Lee Cheng Ean/Winnifred Wong/Maggie Yin, Central Library
Sim Chuin Peng, Chinese Library

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