More public libraries to move to malls, town hubs

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Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim talking to a child at the adult and teens wing of the revamped Bukit Panjang Public Library ST PHOTO: TIFFANY FUMIKO TAY

SINGAPORE - Public libraries will become more easily accessible as they move to locations such as malls and town hubs, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said on Saturday (July 1).

The Bukit Merah Public Library will be moving to VivoCity next year as part of efforts to co-locate its libraries with other community facilities or shopping malls near major transport nodes, the National Library Board said.

The Tampines Regional Library, which closed on June 4, will be reopening at Our Tampines Hub on Aug 5 with nearly double the space, while the Bedok Public Library will be closing on Aug 20 and reopening at Heartbeat@Bedok on Oct 28. It will feature a dedicated space and collections for seniors, such as books with large print. The Yishun Public Library will reopen at Northpoint City by the first quarter of 2018.

"This is an effort on our part to ensure that libraries are easily accessible, they meet the needs of the changing population demographic, and more importantly, enables people to make use of the spaces not just to read but to read together and read widely," Dr Yaacob said on the sidelines of the Bukit Panjang Public Library's reopening.

After 10 months of renovation, the library in Bukit Panjang Plaza has nearly doubled its floor space to 2,300 sq m, divided into two wings for younger and older visitors.

The redesigned children's zone features a multimedia storytelling room that uses images and light and sound effects to create interactive storytelling sessions. The National Library Board will be working with partners to create content for the room, including a coding programme for pre-schoolers.

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The adult and teen zones are managed by volunteers and house discussion areas and a reading lounge.

Colour-coded way-finding paths link books by age and genre, as opposed to the traditional method of finding books using the Dewey Decimal classification system.

The larger space caters to the growing population in Bukit Panjang, which is expected to increase by about 15 per cent from its present 139,000 residents by 2030.

Banker Eric Chew, who visited the children's wing with his wife and two daughters on Saturday, said that the space was much bigger and offered a wider selection of books for kids.

"There's also more space to sit and read, and it's good that they're bringing technology into the books' space with the multimedia room," said Mr Chew, 37.

Housewife Joan Tan, 36, said: "I think it's good to have libraries in malls as I can do my shopping while my kids are there. I don't think I would travel too far just to go to the library."

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