Forum: Libraries not the place for bonding

Visitors at the opening of Library@Harbourfront.
Visitors at the opening of Library@Harbourfront.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

I am concerned by Punggol Regional Library's plan to offer users with disabilities and children with special needs customised services and calming zones, as well as Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Sim Ann's characterisation of libraries as "trusted and treasured spaces where people can bond, socialise and learn" (New library in Punggol to have more inclusive slant, March 4).

While the intentions are good, careful planning is needed. For one thing, the children's zone must be located far away from the learning or studying zones. Library policies and friendly reminders from library staff can do only so much, and based on the present-day situation in libraries, with children running around and screaming, I do not think we can depend on parents to manage their children.

The authorities should bear in mind what purpose a library should fulfil and not turn it into a substitute community hall or, worse, an after-school drop-off point.

Families should not be bonding at the expense of other library users.

Christony Lau Pet Keong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2020, with the headline 'Libraries not the place for bonding'. Print Edition | Subscribe