Friday, February 20, 2015

National Library of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

The National Library of Malaysia isn’t exactly a tourist destination, but I have an interest in libraries so I made sure to visit this one in my (thankfully) brief time to Kuala Lumpur.  

First of all, I should mention that this was my second and last library visit in SE Asia. I hoped to visit a library in each country, but alas, not every country has interesting and accessible libraries, which really made me appreciate my privilege in being from the United States, where one can find decent libraries in even the tiniest of towns.

When I did an internet search on the National Library of Malaysia, I couldn’t find many photos of the interior, but the interesting roof – apparently inspired by traditional Malay headgear and pattern – piqued my interest enough to warrant a short stop.

I’ll admit that the exterior of the building is vastly more impressive than the interior, which is basic and obviously dated. However, I was particularly amused by the subtle patters on the elevator, bookshelves,  and chairs. It had a Nordic look to me.

At the time I visited, there was an exhibition on traditional Malay navigation texts and maps. I had a quick walk through the giant ship gallery and stared at the illegible texts for a few minutes. The library is full of many unintentional humors. For example, the mannequins in the Malay text exhibit were all wearing outrageous wigs. There was a short video playing from a flat screen, which showed some of the library’s achievements over the past few years, but it was set to heavy metal music. There was also a brand new digital library, which boasted dozens of touch screen computers, but no one was there.

Lastly, I will note that no photography is allowed inside the library, which may explain why there are so few pictures of the interior online. However, I am a renegade and habitual law-breaker, so I bring you all the photos of the library!

Exterior of the library

The famous roof and the flag of Malaysia

Staircases inside

A view of the top floor

Interesting geometric patterns can be found everywhere

The elevator pattern

Bookshelf patterns

Chair fabric patterns

The ship exhibition of Malay texts

Some books on display

Propaganda poster

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