SINGAPORE - The public will now be able to borrow from the National Library Board's (NLB) collection of more than 1,000 French books, previously available for reference only.
The collection, housed at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library in the National Library building on Victoria Street since 2008, was relocated to the Central Public Library, in the basement of the same building, on Wednesday.
The books - a mix of classical French literature, including acclaimed titles like The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux and Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust, and works on philosophy and the social sciences - were contributed by the French Embassy here. All the titles have been translated into English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.
"I am happy that we are able to make these books available for lending," said NLB chief executive Elaine Ng, noting the French collection would be well received by the public. "It would give library-goers an insight into French culture."
Yesterday, 50 more books, mostly contemporary titles including novels by Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano, were added to the collection.
Mr Benjamin Dubertret, ambassador for France to Singapore, said more books would be added in the coming months.
"This collection is a way to present our prestigious literary legacy. Every year, thousands of new books are written by French authors and shared all over the world," he said. "By relocating the collection to the Central Public Library, it will be more accessible to the public and they can now borrow these books."
Following the launch event, Mr Olivier d'Agay, delegate general of the Antoine de Saint Exupery Youth Foundation, held a conference in which he talked about the classic, Le Petit Prince, or The Little Prince, which was written by his great uncle Antoine de Saint Exupery.
The book has been translated into over 270 languages, including Thai and Spanish, and has sold over 140 million copies worldwide. Copies of The Little Prince are also made available for lending at the Central Public Library.
The launch of the French collection and the conference are part of this year's Voilah! French festival.