NLB launches Manga Library pop-up, features Mr Kiasu robot that offers book recommendations

Close to 1,000 out of the 5,000 titles are donated by Japanese publisher Shogakukan Asia.

Edwin Chan

I like my pineapples on pizzas, and put my cereal before milk.

Published: 20 February 2023, 2:40 PM

Avid-readers of Japanese comics, also known as manga, can now borrow them at the Manga Library at City Square Mall for the next six months.

Launched by the National Library Board (NLB) on Monday (Feb 20), the Manga Library is a fully self-service Grab-n-Go library that allows patrons to scan their ID to enter the space, pick the books that they want to borrow, and check out with ease.

The Manga Library boasts a vast collection of 5,000 manga books, and a wide variety of creative digital manga on e-Reads screens.

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. The publisher intends to donate more copies as more titles in the donated series are published.

Singapore’s rich comic culture will also be on display at the showcase wall. It features local comics donated by comic collectors from their personal collection.

According to NLB, 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. The collection includes Captain V, Singapore’s first full-colour comic, as well as Medium Rare, Singapore’s first comic adaptation of a film.


The special showcased collection will not be available for loan, and serves as a permanent display for all to enjoy. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD


Patrons can also look out for the Mr Kiasu robot concierge, based on the lead character in the popular local comic series. The robot concierge is created by NLB in collaboration with Dex-Lab, a local social robotics company, and one of the co-creators of Mr Kiasu, Johnny Lau.

Programmed with an AI-generated voice, the robot will recommend books and provide basic instructions on using the Grab-n-Go. This is among other services that it is equipped to provide.

NLB’s Grab-n-Go is an initiative under the Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025. It aims to make borrowing books easier and more convenient with a seamless automated self-checkout service.

The board said that it will continue to explore collaborations with partners, including mall operators, publishers and individual donors, to set up more Grab-n-Go libraries around Singapore.

The pop-up Manga Library is located at Level 4 of City Square Mall.

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