Woodlands Regional Library now home to Singapore’s largest Tamil literary collection

It comprises over 20,000 reading materials, with some even being translated into English.

Harshiyne Maran

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Published: 18 April 2022, 2:12 PM

The National Library Board (NLB) has launched the Tamil Cholai (Tamil Garden), the largest Tamil literary collection in Singapore, as part of the Tamil Language Festival 2022.

Hosting over 20,000 titles ranging from contemporary works to classical texts, the collection is housed in a dedicated space at Level 2 of the Woodlands Regional Library for everyone to read and enjoy

While most of the collection is in Tamil, there are 1,000 specially curated works in English, Chinese and Malay for anyone interested in learning about Indian arts, culture and traditions to access.

These include poetry translated from Tamil to English, as well as other works written in English, Chinese and Malay on topics such as travel, history, and politics in relation to the Indian community.


The space was co-developed by staff and students from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. The students designed murals to make the space more vibrant and cosy for visitors. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL LIBRARY BOARD


Within the space dedicated to hosting the Tamil Cholai collection, there are some highlights on display to look out for. 

One special showcase is of the Tamil classic, Thirukkural. Considered one of the earliest works written on ethics and morality, the manuscript of the text written on a palm leaf will be on display. The section will feature couplets, written in English, that are based on the Thirukkural

Another highlight is the specially-curated exhibition, Kuralgal – Voices of Singapore Tamils

This exhibition showcases influential Tamil literary works from the 19th century to the present. It reflects the unique concerns, outlook, and aspirations of the Tamil community in Singapore through the times.

Other than promoting literary works by Singaporean authors, Tamil Cholai also highlights award-winning titles and ancient Tamil works in modern Tamil. 

To foster understanding and appreciation for such works in the Tamil Cholai collection, NLB will organise reading programmes for the general public.

NLB will also be partnering with the Centre for Singapore Tamil Culture to develop an online Encyclopaedia on Singapore Tamils, as a record of Tamil life and history in Singapore.

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