In 1925, The Chinese High School (later renamed Hwa Chong Institution after the merger with Hwa Chong Junior College in 2005) was relocated from 15 Niven Road to its present site at 661 Bukit Timah Road. The school had to overcome many obstacles and faced repeated closures until 1934, when under the new chairmanship of Mr. Lee Kong Chian (1934-1955) the school was able to refocus its attention on providing quality education.
In the new premises, the Kuo Chuan Library was one of the first facilities to be completed. It was officially opened on the 21st of March 1957, on our school’s 38th anniversary. The construction of the building cost $111,000. Its completion was possible due to a generous donation made by Mr. Lee Kong Chian.
Mr. Lee Kong Chian was born on the 18th of October 1893, in Nan-Ann, China. When he migrated to Singapore, he became a successful businessman and a prominent figure in the Chinese community together with his uncle, Mr. Tan Kah Kee, the founder of our school. Mr. Lee used the fortune he made in his successful career to build educational facilities in Singapore, such as Tao-Nan Primary, the present National University of Singapore, and Hwa Chong Institution. The name of the library was changed to Kong Chian Library in honor of Mr. Lee when he passed away in 1967.
In 1984, the library was relocated to Kuo Chuan Art Block. The bust of Datuk Kong Chian was unveiled during our school’s 65th anniversary celebration by our former president, Mr. Ong Teng Cheong, who was also a student of the school. In 1997, the library was moved once again to its present location behind the Tower block.
The opening of the Library at Kuo Chuan Art Block
The unveiling of Datuk Lee Kong Chian’s bust (1984)
The current library consists of 3 levels. The magazine and multimedia sections are located on the first level while non-fiction, fiction and reference books in both the English and Chinese language are located on the second level. The Mathematics Learning and Research Centre (LRC) is on the third level, where a wealth of resources on the subject can be found. Recent additions to our ever-growing list of LRCs include the People Development LRC and the English LRC.