Not just books: Some libraries offer storytelling rooms and creative spaces

Bukit Panjang Library's new interactive storytelling room.
(Clockwise from left) The Tween area in Sengkang Public Library, an artist's impression of the Tampines Regional Library, the temporary container library at Punggol West and another artist's impression of Bedok Public Library.
(Clockwise from left) The Tween area in Sengkang Public Library, an artist's impression of the Tampines Regional Library, the temporary container library at Punggol West and another artist's impression of Bedok Public Library.PHOTOS: ST FILE, MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION
SINGAPORE - The ghosts of libraries past may have told children to be quiet, but innovative guardians of Bukit Panjang Public Library are introducing immersive storytelling space with animations and sounds to make reading more enjoyable.

Named the Stories Come Alive Room, storytellers need only say the word for images to be projected onto walls. It is voice activated, though it can also be controlled using a tablet.

The library, which reopens on July 1, also has two new wings - one for children, where the storytelling space is located, and one for adults and teens, which houses discussion areas and a reading lounge.

Other libraries in Singapore have also been pushing out new attractions to cater to their target audience. Here are five such libraries:

1. Tween area in Sengkang

To cater to the area's larger proportion of young families, Sengkang Public Library has a dedicated "tween" area. It targets children between 10 and 14, and stocks books on youth interests such as cosplay and manga drawing.
The library reopened in March and is the only one with such space.

Sengkang Public Library spans two floors and is the first to offer a dedicated space for tweens aged 10 to 14. PHOTO: ST FILE

A National Library Board (NLB) spokesman said this was to "sustain children's reading interests as they transit into their teens".

2. Container library with children's books in Punggol

Recently dubbed Singapore's baby town, Punggol has a temporary library made of cargo containers which opened last October.

Around two-thirds of the 2,000 books in the community library are aimed at children and teenagers.


Mascots dressed as superheroes interacting with children taking part in a colouring competition during the launch of a temporary container library in Punggol West on Oct 23, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

The container library, situated near Punggol Walk, will be there until 2018, and a public library will open around two years later in 2020.

3. Large-print books for seniors in Bedok


An artist’s impression of the seniors' space at Bedok Public Library, which will reopen later in 2017. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION
 

A seniors' space will be added when Bedok Public Library reopens in the last quarter of this year.

NLB said it will be a comfortable place for senior readers to meet, learn new skills and take part in activities together.

Large-print books will be made available so that seniors can read more easily.

4. Creative space for "tinkerers" in Tampines


An artist's impression of the Tampines Regional Library. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION
 

The regional library will reopen in the third quarter of this year with "maker space" that allows visitors to get creative.

The space will be located on a volunteer-run floor with 3D printers and collaborative work spaces. NLB said "tinkerers" can experiment and create prototypes.

The library's revamp reportedly also sets up smart work centres, providing resources such as Wi-Fi, meeting rooms and video-conferencing services.

5. Facilities for teens in Pasir Ris


A youth reading at the Pasir Ris Public Library which re-opened its doors on Nov 27, 2015, after a nine-month closure due to renovation work. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Pasir Ris Public Library focuses on teenagers, and has introduced a Teens' Mezzanine "as the population in the area has matured and there is a higher proportion of teens and working adults", said an NLB spokesman.

The library also has a virtual white board where visitors can "write" creatively with their fingers - known as a digital doodle wall.

It reopened in November 2015.