Singapore’s biggest shopping mall library to open next week at Vivocity

Photo: NLB / Facebook
Photo: NLB / Facebook

Shopping mall libraries are totally a thing here, and the biggest, grandest one will be opening at Vivocity come Jan 12. Library@harbourfront will house a collection of 200,000 books, magazines, audio-visual materials and other content across its 3,000 sqm space on the third floor of the shopping mall next to Sentosa.

The library is actually relocated from Bukit Merah Central, which ceased operations in December last year. With a seating capacity of 460, the space is split into two separate zones for adults and children, so the grown-ups won’t have to glare and shush kids repeatedly. Adults will be able to access informative digital content and read in peace, while children will be able to play and develop early literacy skills through educational activities and augmented reality books.

The Reading Lounge in library@harbourfront should prove to be a hit — the facility offers gorgeous, panoramic views of the sea and the neighboring resort island of Sentosa.

Bukit Merah residents weren’t that happy when they found out in 2017 that the Bukit Merah Public Library would be relocated to a busier spot inside a shopping mall. The concept of having shopping center libraries was part of a master plan to improve public library services in Singapore, with the aim to draw bigger crowds. Why erect a standalone library if its quicker and cheaper to establish them in shopping centers?

“By locating libraries in malls, (National Library Board) aimed to bring library services closer to the people,” Singapore Infopedia stated in 2016.

“It was envisaged that people visiting the shopping mall to buy groceries, catch a movie or have a meal, would drop by the library since it was also located within the complex. At the same time, it would also be convenient for the patrons to borrow and return library materials.”

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