The importance of fiction to the Raffles Library, Singapore, during the long nineteenth-century
Date of Issue2009
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
One of the main controversies in the world of librarianship in the latter half of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century was the role of fiction in the public libraries of North America and United Kingdom. To what extent was this concern translated to other parts of the English-speaking world? In this article, I explore, from the available evidence, the attitudes towards fiction held by officials of the Raffles Library, Singapore. I present evidence that the library tended to be very liberal in its views. To understand why this was the case, I argue, involves an understanding of the notion, commonly held at the time, of human degeneration from prolonged exposure to tropical environments, and the colonialist reaction to this predicament.
DRNTU::Library and information science::Libraries::History and statistics
Library & information history
© 2009 Maney Publishing. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Library & information history, Maney Publishing. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/175834909X417444.