Marine Parade, Central libraries to close for major revamps

The Central Public Library in Victoria Street will be closed from June 13. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - Marine Parade Public Library was a frequent hangout for Ms Ho Jung-An when she was in primary school, and she was a student volunteer there during her secondary school days.

Now an account executive at a public relations agency, the 25-year-old still finds herself dropping by the library sometimes when she has work to finish.

But from May 9, the Marine Parade Public Library will be closed for three years, till 2025, as part of the Marine Parade Community Building rejuvenation plan, said the National Library Board (NLB) in a news release on Tuesday (April 5).

"It's quite sad to hear that it'll get an entire makeover. I can almost feel a part of me or my history being taken away from me, in a sense," Ms Ho said.

"I don't frequent it as much as I'd like to... but it's nice to see it there when I pass by on the bus or on foot," she added.

Still, Ms Ho agreed that the library was due for some refurbishment.

Meanwhile, for the first time since it opened in 2005, the Central Public Library in Victoria Street will be closed from June 13, and is expected to reopen in the first half of next year.

Private university student Thalia Mariman, 22, visits the Central Public Library twice a week to study. Although it is not the closest library to her home, she prefers going there, as she finds the place comforting.

She said: "I'll definitely miss going there when it is closed, as it has become part of my weekly routine. But I'm sure the other libraries are as nice and conducive to work in. Maybe it's time for me to explore (other locations)."

During the closure of the two libraries, the public can visit other nearby libraries. NLB has also introduced new services for library users to access books.

Those who frequent the Central Public Library can visit Toa Payoh Public Library, library@harbourfront and Geylang East Public Library, said NLB.

They can also use replacement services like the NLB new Grab-n-Go library.

Under this pilot initiative, from May 18, the public can grab a book and have their loan automatically recorded when they go past a gantry, from 9am to 9pm.

They can choose from about 5,000 English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil adult titles at the Grab-n-Go library at the Study Lounge on Level 5 of the National Library Building, which remains open during the upgrading of the Central Public Library in Basement 1.

The public can also continue to pick up their reserved items through the reservation lockers and return their books to the 24-hour book-drop at the National Library Building.

Meanwhile, Marine Parade library users can visit nearby libraries such as the Geylang East Public Library, Bedok Public Library, and Tampines Regional Library.

They can also look forward to new services like a 24-hour book dispenser and a reading corner.

From May this year, NLB will open a 24-hour book dispenser outside FairPrice Finest at Block 6 Marine Parade Central, the location of the old Marine Parade Community Library from 1978 to 2000.

Here, members can browse and borrow physical books, and pick up reserved items, magazines and audio-visual materials. They can also use an interactive screen to browse, borrow and download eBooks to read on their own devices using the Libby app.

The Marine Parade Public Library will also donate 1,200 pre-loved books to the People's Association so it can set up a reading corner at the Marine Terrace Walk Residents' Committee (RC). Patrons can continue to borrow books from the reading corner over the weekend and return them the following week.

In another initiative by NLB, the public can continue to borrow and return books from mobile library buses, called Molly buses.

The buses will visit Block 35 Marine Crescent Ville (Marine Crescent Ville RC) every first Sunday of the month, except May 1, from 1pm to 4pm, and Block 53 Marine Terrace (Marine Terrace Haven RC) every second Sunday of the month, except July 10, from 9am to 12pm.

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