English Schools and School Libraries before the Second World War: A Singapore Perspective

By Lim Peng Han, pp. 61-80


This study attempts to uncover the beginning and development of English schools and school libraries in Singapore since 1819 until 1941.

The growth of English schools from four before 1872 to 22 by 1938 was made possible by the reform of the Grants-in-aid system whether they were missionary or privately run schools. Although the first policy to initiate school libraries in an English school occurred in 1899, the growth of school libraries was sporadic and gradual since many government-aided schools encountered difficulties in importing textbooks and reference books into Singapore in the absence of a local publishing industry in Singapore.