Forum: Get little-library movement going

People at the storytelling zone in the Choa Chu Kang Library.
People at the storytelling zone in the Choa Chu Kang Library.PHOTO: ST FILE

I appreciate Arts Correspondent Olivia Ho's overview of the recent brouhaha over the closure of the Choa Chu Kang Public Library and the state of reading in Singapore (A library - more than books?, Nov 7).

It is interesting to note that a few people were literally up in arms over the library closure, which speaks well of their passion for this most democratic of institutions.

Equally heartening is the fact that annual surveys have revealed an increase in reading rates among Singaporean adults.

How wonderful it would be if the occasional reader can be converted to a passionate one who indulges in reading in a manner which disregards psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, giving it equal or more importance than even some fundamental human needs.

I don't think I am alone in thinking Singapore would be a better place for that.

Access to books being a major part of the equation is a given, and homes and libraries obviously have to continue to fulfil that role.

May I suggest that occupying a niche between the two would be a little library set up by the ordinary Singaporean for the benefit of his neighbours - a community library in every sense of the word.

This is the concept behind the Little Free Library movement which began in the US in 2009, with the mantra "take a book, leave a book".

There are to date 70,000 micro-libraries in more than 85 countries. A cursory online search reveals the little libraries ranging from a humble shelf to elaborate repositories that are veritable works of art.

I myself was inspired by one I saw locally in 2014, but it was only recently that I overcame the inertia to set up one. It's a gratifying experience which I highly recommend to everyone with a few books lying around the house.

Colin Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Get little-library movement going'. Print Edition | Subscribe