Revamped Pasir Ris library woos teenagers

(From left) Coral Secondary student Eliisa Abdullah, 15; Springfield Secondary student Mo Mo Banyar, 13; and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' Secondary student Natalie Goh Hui Shi, 14, at the new Teens' Mezzanine at Pasir Ris Public Library. The new mezzanine
(From left) Coral Secondary student Eliisa Abdullah, 15; Springfield Secondary student Mo Mo Banyar, 13; and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' Secondary student Natalie Goh Hui Shi, 14, at the new Teens' Mezzanine at Pasir Ris Public Library. The new mezzanine makes for a cozy hangout place, says Eliisa, where it is "easier to find books that would interest teenagers, such as realistic fiction about school life and friends". PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
(From left) Coral Secondary student Eliisa Abdullah, 15; Springfield Secondary student Mo Mo Banyar, 13; and CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' Secondary student Natalie Goh Hui Shi, 14, at the new Teens' Mezzanine at Pasir Ris Public Library. The new mezzanine
People waiting to enter the Pasir Ris Public Library, which reopened after nine months at newly renovated White Sands Shopping Centre yesterday. The library was redesigned after seeking residents' views. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

It has snazzy features, including digital doodle wall and mezzanine space for young people

A long queue formed on the fourth floor of the newly renovated White Sands Shopping Centre in Pasir Ris yesterday morning.

The adults with bags in hand and children in tow were not waiting to have brunch, but to enter the revamped Pasir Ris Public Library, which reopened yesterday after nine months.

The library has returned with a strong focus on teenagers, given the high ratio of young people in the east. It has added some snazzy features to appeal to teens, including a digital doodle wall - a virtual white board where visitors can "write" messages with their fingers.

At the new Teens' Mezzanine space, library-goers can browse book promotional videos made by the National Library Board (NLB) on a screen. They can also make book recommendations by scanning library books on a panel. These will be saved, so teens can view books enjoyed by their peers.

Coral Secondary School student Eliisa Abdullah, 15, one of about 40 teen volunteers who help to manage the Teens' Mezzanine, said it makes for a cozy hangout place. "It is also easier to find books that would interest teenagers, such as realistic fiction about school life and friends," said the Secondary 3 student.

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Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, was the guest of honour at yesterday's event.

The Pasir Ris library is one of NLB's 26 public libraries, each catering to different needs. While the Pasir Ris branch focuses on teens, it caters to all age groups. It has a children's section and parent-child reading zone where books are displayed with their covers, not spines, facing out.

Staff software engineer Shailesh Subbanna, 41, who visited the library with his two-year-old daughter Arya, thinks this is a good idea: "My daughter can be independent and choose her own book instead of me picking out one for her."

The library has new quick-charge stations and at least five reading areas, one of which overlooks Pasir Ris Park. Its four e-newspaper reader terminals offer six newspaper titles, including The Straits Times.

The library was redesigned after seeking residents' views, said NLB.

In a statement, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim called the library a role model. He said: "The revamped Pasir Ris Public Library has created a space for teens and introduced new digital initiatives for the convenience of all library users."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 29, 2015, with the headline 'Revamped Pasir Ris library woos teenagers'. Print Edition | Subscribe