Conserved Queenstown library to undergo major revamp in its 55th year in 2025
Singapore’s oldest public library will be closed for a two-year revamp in the first quarter of 2025, as part of the National Library Board’s (NLB) wider transformation plans for its libraries.
Queenstown Public Library will undergo a large-scale redesign to refresh its spaces and service offerings. This will include incorporating wellness and sustainability features, NLB told The Straits Times.
“The new library seeks to create communal spaces that can empower community action, as well as transport users into a sanctuary with layered experiences,” said NLB in tender documents seen by ST.
Located in Margaret Drive, the grey two-storey building with bow-tie arches has seen its share of upgrading works since opening in 1970, from the refurbishment of the adults’ and children’s sections in 1984 to building-wide renovation works in 2003.
It was gazetted for conservation in 2013, which requires its exterior facade to be maintained.
NLB said it is looking to weave the library’s heritage into its revamped design and offerings, while following conservation guidelines.
The board had called a tender for consultancy services, which closed on April 11.
After detailed designs for the project are ready, it is slated to call a tender for construction works from the third quarter of 2024 to the first quarter of 2025.
One idea that NLB is exploring for the revamped library is a drive-through book drop, according to tender documents.
While the library is being revamped, a book dispenser will be set up for patrons to browse and borrow books, as well as pick up reserved library materials, NLB said.
More details will be shared when they are ready.
NLB said people can also try out its book delivery subscription services, or visit nearby libraries such as the Clementi Public Library and library@harbourfront.
The library’s upcoming revamp follows the rejuvenation of Queenstown estate, Singapore’s first satellite town, in recent years. This includes the renovation of Queenstown Sports Centre to upgrade its facilities, slated to be completed in 2025.
New developments have also been completed, such as the Margaret Drive Hawker Centre and Build-To-Order housing project Sky Residence@Dawson.
Retiree Joan Chan, 76, wants to see more elderly-friendly infrastructure in the library, such as angled bookshelves that reduce the need for patrons to bend down while browsing books.
Queenstown Secondary School student Eva Lee, 13, looks forward to having more conducive study spaces in the library, with a mix of taller and child-friendly tables on the ground floor.
Mr Lee Yong San, a 43-year-old manager who lives in Tanglin Halt, wishes for a bigger community garden with more sheltered spaces and benches, so that it will be “more inclusive and comfortable” for families as his three young sons enjoy relaxing in the garden there.
Madam Teresa Ng, a 51-year-old housewife who used to visit regularly as a child, said a permanent multimedia exhibition featuring interactive artefacts from the library’s past – including card catalogue cabinets and paper-based borrowing cards – should be set up to entice younger generations to learn more about the place.
Interior designer Andrew Kong, 55, hopes the library can be revamped into a “museum-like lifestyle venue”, while retaining its architectural elements and “iconic” trees that surround the building to commemorate its significance as the first branch library.
“The newer libraries, with their bright colours and carpets and spacious sitting areas, feel more like community centres than libraries,” he said.
“No other library in Singapore has this kind of feel. Don’t change it in the name of ‘revamp’ until it’s like any other library. Then it loses its soul.”