2021 Singapore Writers Festival
Literary Pioneer Exhibition

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A Bookworm
and Through

Hedwig Anuar is quite possibly Singapore’s biggest bookworm. She was born in 1928 and was the first Singaporean Director of the National Library of Singapore (1965 – 1988). Under her leadership, the library grew from one building in the middle of Singapore to the many branches we see today. She was also a founding member of the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) and the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE).

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Learn more about Hedwig Anuar and how her childhood planted the seeds for her love of books and language. Her father was especially fond of books and she spent a lot of her childhood reading from his immense home library.

As Hedwig embarked on a journey to further her studies, she made discoveries about herself that would drastically alter her path from being a teacher as planned. Find out how she got her first taste of working in a library!

Hedwig Anuar came back to Singapore to coordinate the move of the National Library to a new building on Stamford Road. Although she only had 12 months, she implemented many key changes that defined the library for years to come.

Between 1965 – 1988, Hedwig oversaw initiatives to make books accessible to people of all ages. She provided resources and training to set up school libraries. She travelled often to present ideas at conferences about developing librarianship within an Asian context.

Hedwig Anuar was passionate about social issues and literacy. She ensured that generations of women were able to read, write and teach their children to value books. She was a respected leader to her team and fought for their welfare.


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