SINGAPORE - Visitors to the new library @ harbourfront may find it a challenge to pore over a book, with its location on the third level of VivoCity offering sweeping views of the sea and Sentosa.
The coastal theme runs through the facility, which opens on Jan 12, from its blue-green colour scheme to deck chairs for readers to relax in as they browse the refreshed collection of 200,000 books.
Spanning 3,000 sq m, or about half a football field, the library @ harbourfront is the biggest library to be located in a mall.
It has a seating capacity of 460, with two separate zones for adults and children, to help with noise reduction and crowd management.
The zone for children will feature a dedicated area for children to develop problem-solving and early literacy skills.
Children can make paper crafts and explore word puzzles on their own, and read augmented reality books on topics such as space, animals and body health.
The books have QR codes in them, which parents can scan using a mobile application downloaded from Apple or Google Play Store, to make the books "come alive".
There are six learning pods for adults to access digital content and resources to upgrade their skills, such as TED talk videos and online courses from LyndaLibrary.
LyndaLibrary is an eLearning courseware that offers an on-demand library of instructional videos covering topics such as business, creative design and technology.
The adult zone will be run by volunteers, similar to the arrangement at a number of existing libraries including library @ chinatown and Bukit Panjang Public Library.
The new library replaces Bukit Merah Public Library in Bukit Merah Central, which lowered its shutters for the last time on Nov 30.
News of the relocation did not go down well with some Bukit Merah residents, who started a petition to keep the library in its original location, where it had been a fixture since 1982.
In response, the National Library Board (NLB) set up 12 reading corners in the area, offering over 5,000 books and 250 seats in total.
Retiree Ho Hew Lee will be working at the library @ harbourfront as a volunteer.
The 76-year-old, who has been volunteering at public libraries for about 10 years, helps senior citizens learn how to use the new NLB mobile app, digital borrowing machine and e-newspapers.
He also conducts digital literacy workshops for seniors.
"Volunteering is a way for me to make friends. Given my background, it is easy for me to bridge the digital divide and learn how to use new technologies," said the retired electrical engineer.
NLB's assistant chief executive of public libraries Catherine Lau said that the library @ harbourfront has a strong focus in digital technologies.
This is in keeping with other libraries such as the library @ chinatown, library @ orchard and library @ esplanade which have collections in Chinese arts and heritage, design, and performing arts respectively.
Explaining the digital technologies collection at the library @ harbourfront, Ms Lau said: "We want to inspire our readers to come and to learn beyond the horizon, discover new things and embark on a journey of lifelong learning."