Singaporeans are enjoying books now more than ever. If you have a penchant for the written word, there are many bookstores that have just about everything in them, from fiction to graphic novels, to recipe books. While bookstores are a great place to take home a few titles to read at your own leisure, the owners may not always be as forgiving if you spend hours at the store leafing through the pages and leaving user marks on their brand new books. That is why libraries are a favourite place of most book lovers. When you were much younger during your childhood days, were you one of those who spent hours at a time at the library closest to home? That tradition still has not died and if you pop in to a library on the weekends, you can observe little ones sharing a childhood tale from Aesop’s Fables with their friends or learning how to read with Pop and Mom by their side. Being allowed to take your pick and read what you fancy the most is one of life’s little pleasures and you can gift your children that opportunity in Singapore. This is so because of the number of public libraries (there are 26 in total) available for Singaporeans and expats. If you are unsure of which library to visit after moving to this city, our little guide can help you uncover four public libraries that you can visit that have something magical about them to help foster a love for reading.
Central Public Library
The Central Public Library is one of the most unique libraries in Singapore for the little ones. Housed within the basement of the National Library, that is where you will find the perfect spot to spend your weekends at. Why the Central Public Library is such a hit with families is thanks to the My Tree House, an initiative created in partnership with City Developments Limited to create a fascinating eco space specially for kids. As the world’s 1st green library for little readers made out of eco-friendly materials like recycled bottles and refurbished bookshelves, the library encourages environmental literacy in children, while also existing as a place where they can get lost in books. To bring together the idea of the library as a knowledge tree, there is an interactive installation that features a tree that bears fruits when participants correctly answer questions about environmental awareness and wilts when they don’t. On selected days, there are even story-telling sessions by famed local authors and storytellers that would entertain and bring your child’s favourite books to life.
As one of the libraries which have recently undergone a facelift, the [email protected] looks impeccable design-wise. Pop by the upper floor of the library and you would understand why. From the level above, the bookshelves resemble waves especially when you dangle a camera to capture what you see. Located on the fourth and fifth levels of Orchard Gateway, the library is popular with adults and teenagers who would appreciate the 45,000 design textbooks and magazines that includes all facets of design available to peruse. Something that the [email protected] is exceptionally proud about are the tiny little nooks fondly referred to as cocoons, where readers can enjoy their favourite book without any external disruptions.
Bukit Panjang Library
Made the West of Singapore your home? Bukit Panjang library should absolutely be at the top of your weekend to-do list. In the newly refurbished library, there is something for every member of the family from adult, teens to children. For the little kiddos, the children’s zone in the library is jam-packed with things to do that would leave your kids occupied for hours. A unique feature to the library is the colour-coded paths that help kids find books that are age-appropriate to them and to discover books within their preferred genre. The shelves are also functional, alongside being eye-catching — taking the additional effort to arrange them in a unique manner, the shelves come together to form cosy little nooks that your little one can snuggle up with their favourite picture books. When they are done with their reading, they can drop their books in the conveyor-belt return system and watch the books return to their original locations (it’s a fun watch for them). There is even an interactive multimedia storytelling room that they can spend hours in to feed their curiosity for knowledge.
As the newest member of the brood, the [email protected] recently opened in 2019 and it has all the bookworms in Singapore excited. Housed within a 3,000 square meter space in Vivo City, the largest shopping mall in all of Singapore, the [email protected] is teeming with books. There are over 200,000 books, magazines and audio-visual materials that your entire family can go wild over. For your little inquisitive readers, there are a host of activities for them to enjoy. Within the Children’s Zone, they can pick out digital books and activities in the Tumblebook stations, get lost on adventures in the Stories Come Alive room and can even get busy their hands with the DIY crafts and puzzles available in the Tinker Truck children’s makerspace.