SINGAPORE - When the old library@orchard at Ngee Ann City closed at the end of November in 2007, I felt as if my little oasis in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road had vanished overnight. Some yin-yang balance had been thrown.
So much on Orchard Road feels cold and commercial, but not library@orchard. Known to many as Orchard Library, it was the one personal space I could relate to.
I had fond memories of its warm wooden floors, and the many readers, backs pressed against the glass walls, engrossed in their newest pickings.
I was part of the throng of students who went there to study on weekends. The library's tables would be packed during exam season, with others waiting around like hawks. My friends and I thought it was the perfect place to study for a full afternoon, then reward yourself with a shopping trip after. I guess many others thought like us.
I remember library@orchard as a place to wait. Since we were perfect Gen Y specimens, my friends, sadly, seldom showed up on time for appointments. But I could always count on having a library book to fill the hours.
Sure, one could always browse through books at the Kinokuniya Bookstore. But you have to ask someone behind the counter to unwrap it for you. It is nothing like having a public library, where you can dig straight into a book, and then walk away having borrowed it, without burning a hole in your pocket.
I could not be happier now that library@orchard has re-opened at orchardgateway, as a grown-up and amped-up version focusing on design. In keeping with its theme, there will be spaces like Make, where people can create their own projects and share them with others, and Cocoons, reading nooks where someone can lose themselves in a book. There will be many activities like talks by designers.
Here's the opportunity again to chance upon a good book while waiting for friends. Or to feed the mind after a Sunday shopping trip. I can't wait to meet an old friend in the new library@orchard. I'm glad my little oasis in the midst of town is back.