May 29, 2022

Singapore: After Government Minister Intervenes National Library Board Will Move Two “Non-Pro Family” Children’s Books Into Adult Section

UPDATE July 19 U.S. Embassy in Singapore Welcomes National Library Board Decision Not to Pulp Two Children’s Books (via U.S. Embassy Singapore on Facebook)

UPDATE July 19 National Library saga highlights “divisive” issues (via Channel News Asia)

From Channel News Asia:

Two books pulled off the shelves of the library’s children’s section will not be pulped, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim told the Straits Times. Instead, they will be moved to the adult section.

“I have also asked NLB to review the process by which they deal with such books,” Dr Yaacob said in comments which were also posted on his Facebook page on Friday (July 18).

From Yaccob’s Facebook Page

Over the past week, there has been a vigorous debate on the National Library Board’s (NLB) decision to withdraw the three children’s books ‘And Tango Makes Three’, ‘The White Swan Express’, and ‘Who’s In My Family?’.

We stand by NLB’s decision to remove the three books from the children’s section. As I said earlier, NLB has to decide what books should be made readily available to children, who are usually unsupervised, in the children’s section of our public libraries. NLB will continue to ensure that books in the children’s section are age-appropriate. We have a much wider range of books in the adult section of public libraries.

Many objected to the idea that the books would be pulped after being withdrawn from circulation. I understand these reactions, which reflect a deep-seated respect in our culture for the written word. ‘Who’s in My Family’ had already been disposed of as the title had been reviewed earlier. But I have instructed NLB not to pulp the two other titles, but instead to place them in the adult section of the public libraries. I have also asked NLB to review the process by which they deal with such books.

The decision on what books children can or cannot read remains with their parents. Parents who wish to borrow these books to read with their children will have the option to do so.

No word about other children’s books removed earlier this year.

See Also: Singapore: National Library Board Chief Executive ‘Saddened By’ Reaction Over Its Removal of Three Books

See Also: Singapore’s National Library Board Had Pulled More Children’s Books Off Library’s Shelves


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.