A walk through the Garfield x Mr Kiasu pop-up library

The collaboration pop-up, which commemorates Garfield’s 45th anniversary, will run until March 2024.

Keola Cheah

Irrationally moved by otter live cams. Enjoys trashy rock and metal.

Published: 23 October 2023, 7:59 PM

If there’s one thing anybody knows about Garfield, it’s that he hates Mondays, which makes the opening date of the Garfield x Mr Kiasu library pop-up – Monday (Oct 23) – deeply ironic. 

The pop-up, which is the National Library Board’s (NLB) first character-themed public library, was conceived under the Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025 to improve accessibility of content. It will remain open every day from 10am to 10pm at The Centrepoint until March 2024. 

Its opening comes after the success of NLB’s Manga Library, which featured Mr Kiasu as a robot that welcomed library-goers and offered title recommendations.

READ: A manga fan’s review of NLB’s pop-up Manga Library 

The pop-up’s premise lies in the idea that Mr Kiasu has invited Garfield to Singapore. Garfield, who is under the impression that he will get to eat special Singaporean lasagna, is shocked when he realises that he had mixed up laksa and lasagna. Upon trying it, he finds he likes the taste. 

According to Mr Johnny Lau, the co-creator and artist behind Mr Kiasu, the comedy doesn’t end there – “The rest is really to leave the public to write their own story [based on the two characters].”

So let’s write, shall we?

Walk-through of the space

At the entrance of the pop-up, visitors will be greeted by its facade, which is decked out in black-and-white art and handwriting-like fonts. The space’s entire aesthetic speaks to its comic inspirations, and has a lively feel to it.


The pop-up is set in Mr Kiasu’s Housing Development Board (HDB) apartment. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


At the entrance, visitors can snap photos with standees of Mr Kiasu and Garfield, who is clutching a drink in celebration of his vacation. Essence of lasagna, perhaps. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


A life-sized statue of Garfield eyeballs visitors expectantly – but too bad for him, food isn’t allowed inside. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


Right from the get go, the space leans into its premise; the walls flanking the entrance are dressed up in murals poking fun at the characters that inspired the pop-up. 


Two walls are dedicated to art of the characters interacting. Mr Kiasu, in true ‘kiasu’ fashion, hoards all of Garfield’s lasagna stock for himself. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


Mr Kiasu knows the way to a cat’s heart is through his stomach, so next up in the space is the kitchen, which features a fridge, a stove setup, and spinning stools. The kitchen includes a real frying pan and pot, which are attached firmly to the stovetop.


Visitors are encouraged to sit and browse in the area, where e-book titles, including recipes for Garfield’s most beloved food as well as Singaporean cuisine, are available via QR codes. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


The fridge opens to reveal a variety of hand-drawn food. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


For library-goers who prefer physical books, the pop-up offers print copies of certain works as well. These copies are for browsing in the library and cannot be taken out for loan.

The collection includes a curated range of 120 books, which include official publications of Garfield and Mr Kiasu comics. 


garfy bodybuilds
The shelf features a resin statue of Pop Sunday’s bodybuilder Garfield. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


The library boasts a collection of other books, like ‘Homer’s Odyssey’, which is deceptively not about Homer or wooden horses, but follows a cat named Homer. It’s kitty city in here. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


In Mr Kiasu’s living room, a large plushie of Garfield has been lovingly stationed on the couch. 

He sits opposite the television, which screens a looping series of Garfield comics – the perfect place for one of his cat naps.


Visitors can sit next to Garfield on the couch. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH




Visitors can borrow e-books via QR codes stationed just above Garfield’s stuffed head.  


Visitors can borrow e-books through the NLB Mobile application. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/KEOLA CHEAH


In the coming weeks, visitors can also anticipate seeing Garfield in all his glory as a mascot appearance at the pop-up. More details will be available via NLB’s social media platforms at a later date. 

The space is free to visit for all. Visitors who would like to borrow the e-comics and e-books must have a mylibrary username and the NLB mobile app.

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