Public libraries move as human traffic patterns change

We thank Mr Alexander Yap Yuk Ken for his letter on the relocation of Bukit Merah Public Library to VivoCity ('Tourist mall' is no place for a community library; July 5).

The National Library Board (NLB) looks at several factors when planning a library's location. These include the developments and plans for the surrounding area, demographics and accessibility.

When Bukit Merah Public Library opened in 1982, much of the area's activity was centred on Bukit Merah Central. However, as residents and businesses moved away over the years, fewer people visited the library.

We want to ensure that as many people as possible can access our public libraries. This sometimes involves moving our libraries to fit into the changing human traffic patterns.

We have been looking into co-locating our libraries with other community facilities or shopping malls near major transport nodes.

We decided to relocate Bukit Merah Public Library to VivoCity so that more people will be able to enjoy library services and facilities.

VivoCity has high visitorship and is easily accessible via public transport.

Meanwhile, we will ensure that Bukit Merah Central and nearby residents continue to enjoy convenient access to reading materials and services.

We are working with community partners to set up reading corners at various community clubs, senior activity centres and schools.

We also welcome grassroots initiatives to set up more community-owned reading corners.

We are ready to provide these reading corners with collections and training to equip grassroots volunteers with sufficient knowledge to run them independently. Interested parties can get in touch with us at

We have no plans to relocate Queenstown Public Library, given the significance of its location. It is the first public library in Singapore and it is housed in a building that is gazetted for conservation.

We will continue to review our library development plans according to changing community needs.

Catherine Lau (Ms)

Assistant Chief Executive

Public Library Services

National Library Board

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline Public libraries move as human traffic patterns change. Subscribe