Share】 【Print
Overview of the Chung Hwa Medical Library

The Chung Hwa Medical Library was founded in 1946, during the early founding of the Singapore Chinese Physicians' Association (SCPA). The library was planned by the academic section of the association. It was initially named as the "Library Section", and had collected number of Chinese and Western medical books and periodicals of the thirties published by Shanghai and other parts of China. These texts were only for reference to members. After the Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine was established in 1953, the library books were opened to students for reading and borrowing. From the early period of the sixties, the Library Section purchased China-published ancient books on Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Chinese translations of texts and periodicals on modern medicine, increasing the size of the collection several times. In order to cope with the demand of social development and to improve academic research work on TCM, it was moved into the new premises (3rd storey of Chung Hwa Free Clinic building). Since 1979, it has been renamed as "Chung Hwa Free Clinic Chinese Medical Library". To popularize medical knowledge, it was open to the public for reading and borrowing in 1984.

Chung Hwa Free Clinic Chinese Medical Library is a specialized library in TCM. Its collection of books and reference materials is mainly on TCM, but it also has a collection of modern Western medical books. The present collection of books is recorded at 37,100 volumes, with nearly 200 types of periodicals and more than 12,000 copies of TCM magazines.

In 1992, Toa Payoh Chung Hwa Free Clinic building was extended and the library was moved up to the 4th storey, which has a total area of 1620 sq. ft. The interior of the library is divided into "General Reading Room" and "Reference Room". The collection of books and periodicals in the "General Reading Room" can be borrowed by readers, while the collection of TCM literatures in the "Reference Room" is only confined to indoor reading and reference, and cannot be borrowed. The library has also a "Relic Museum" which displays the progress of TCM development in Singapore.

The Chung Hwa Free Clinic Chinese Medical Library is the largest Chinese medical library in Southeast Asia. It also has a collection of newspaper cuttings on the association's activities over the years, minutes of meetings, photographs and over 100 types of Southeast Asian TCM publications, which include periodicals in four languages: Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean. This allows readers to understand the present situation of TCM development in the various countries and to keep abreast with world standards. The library is also a member of the Library Association of Singapore, which promotes exchange of  information among the libraries. According to regulations, the library has to organise, compile and print a list of the various specialized periodicals to be submitted to the society.

The books of the library are classified and organized according to Mr. Wang Yun Wu's "Standard Classification Method" with some adjustments and modifications. After revision, its special characteristic was that it could concurrently accommodate the Traditional Chinese and Western, as well as, old and new medical books as one collection. The outline is divided into ten large categories, namely General Classification, Fundamentals, Internal Medicine, Surgery, ENT, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Diagnosis, Pharmacology, Therapeutics, Acupuncture and Moxibustion and Public Health.