New library in Punggol to have more inclusive slant
The National Library Board (NLB) will build a branch in Punggol with a more inclusive slant as well as revamp eight more libraries from now until 2026.
Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, announced this in Parliament yesterday during the debate on her ministry's budget.
Libraries, she said, play a key role in connecting people in the digital age and providing a sense of community.
"They have transformed over the years to become trusted and treasured spaces where people can bond, socialise and learn."
The Punggol Regional Library, which will open late next year at Punggol Town Hub, will offer users with disabilities and children with special needs customised services and calming zones.
It will also house a world children's literature collection. This, said Ms Sim, is so that "younger Singaporeans can appreciate cultural diversity from an early age".
NLB consulted stakeholders, including Punggol residents and an advisory panel for people with disabilities, when designing the library.
The libraries to be renovated include the Central Public Library in the Bras Basah area. It will be closed early next year for the revamp, which involves increasing the floor area from 3,900 sq m to 4,600 sq m.
Its design concept will draw on the heritage and civic district it is located in and will highlight Singaporean aspects like local literature.
The others include Choa Chu Kang Public Library, which shut last June and will gain another floor when it reopens next year in Lot One shopping mall, Queenstown Public Library and Marine Parade Public Library. Four more will be announced after plans are firmed up.
Ms Sim, in response to a question about the future of libraries from Mr Cedric Foo (Pioneer), said NLB revamped six "next-generation" libraries between 2017 and last year.
The most recent of these was library@harbourfront, which opened in January last year and has a technology showcase and a makerspace where children aged three to nine can tinker.
"The revamped libraries have seen an increase of 73 per cent in total visitors and 49 per cent in total loans in the first year of operation," she said.
"Our libraries are an exception to the global trend of falling library usage."