The history of the SBC Library dates back to 1952 when the Bible Training program was initially established. Miss Elizabeth Laing, an OMF missionary who was also a member of SBC faculty, was the first librarian. Back then, the library was located on the third floor of Block I. When Block II was built, the library was relocated to the basement of Block II.
Between 1983 and 1984, the audio-visual collections were added to the library, coinciding with the growth of other new programmes at SBC. Eventually, an audio-visual centre was created, housed next to the main library.
Under the leadership of Mrs. Wing-Huen Maak, the library cataloging system was eventually converted from the paper system of using catalogue cards to a customized DBASE computerized system in January 1989. The DBASE library cataloging system was created by our own Chinese Department Dean, Dr. Christopher Lee.
By the end of June 1998, the library cataloging system had become automated under the V-Lib library software system. A total of 11,893 Chinese titles and 18,464 English titles were bar-coded and keyed into the system. In October 1998, the library was invited to participate in a public access catalogue system, TIARA. TIARA is a comprehensive one-stop internet-based resource tool which links Singapore’s 40 libraries from its 11 major educational and government institutions.
On 16 November, 2000, the library moved from Block II to its new two-story area in Block VII. After the books were tied and numbered, library staff and students formed a human chain as they moved the books into the new building. By 2 December, 2000, all of the books had been placed on the shelves and were ready for use in the next academic term.
In its current location, the library is housed on two floors. On the library’s first floor, which is the second floor of Block VII, the reference section, audio-visual centre, multimedia room, and IT office are located. On its second floor, the third floor of Block VII, the loan section of both the English and Chinese collections is laid out. Under this new layout, the seating capacity of the library has also been increased from 40 to 100.
One cannot journey upon the road of theological education without drawing upon the wisdom of saints past and present. Therefore, we are thankful to God for building up our library collection, which stocks 75,914 books, covering both Chinese and English books, as well as periodicals and sheet music. Recently, we have made available for our community the Digital Theological Library, which allows access to more than 100 different databases on the Internet and more than 9,000 academic e-books. Moving forward, we look forward to expanding our resources to continue to support all those on the journey of theological education.