On the afternoon of 28 July 2016, Pasir Ris Public Library hosted 25 of our LAS members from various institutions to a tour of its new revamped library, the first mall library in Singapore to have a space managed by teens for teens. The library is centrally located at the 4th level of White Sands Mall and boasts an excellent collection of 125,000 books, 300 magazines and audio visual items.
We gathered at the library’s programme zone where the visit commenced with a brief presentation on the library which re-opened to its community on 28 November 2015. These included the customer engagement sessions the library had with its readers, the ideas and plans behind the design of the library as well as the various new innovations and services that created new pathways for its users to access its rich resources. With the brief introduction, we were ready to take on the much anticipated tour of the library!
The enthusiastic librarians gave us an insight on how the library catered to the different moods and needs of its users. Examples included reading spaces designed to integrate among shelves for people who like to browse specific collections; a quiet reading lounge for users who prefer a more private and comfortable solitude reading environment; an outdoor leisure reading seating arrangement; and for comfort and bonding moments a parent-child reading zone. We saw how each section of the library was planned to allow for a more fulfilling user-experience.
We particularly liked the way the library had redesigned its shelves to create a more dynamic and engaging book browsing experience. Books for young children are displayed with the book covers facing frontward and placed at heights that make it easy for them to pick books that they find appealing. Adult shelves incorporated shelving modules that supported the display of books to make it easier for users to discover new reading materials.
We were also impressed with the librarian’s curated book displays highlighting various authors, themes and genres.
The librarians generously shared their engagement efforts with the community and how these collaborations have contributed to the essence of the library. For example, the Teens’ Mezzanine is managed by a team of teenage volunteers who called themselves the “Inspiring Readers Society (IRS)”. Also located at the teen space is a digital screen called the “Book Tree”, a platform to reach out to teenage readers. It features a monthly theme introducing authors who specialise in young adult literature as well as book recommendations by both staff and readers. Book trailers, contributed by the librarians as well as the volunteers from IRS, are also encompassed into the “Book Tree”.
We were also given an introduction to the reservation locker, a DIY collection point for reserved books, and were brought to the library’s backroom for a tour and a brief demonstration of the bookdrop auto-sorter, both new features of Pasir Ris Public Library.
After the comprehensive tour, we made our way back to the programme zone. As part of the National Reading Movement, the librarians invited us to take part in the “Read for Books” activity, a special donation drive where one book will be donated for every 10 people who read for 15 minutes.
As we took part in the reading programme, we tucked into the sumptuous tea spread waiting for us and had the opportunity to catch up with our colleagues from the other libraries. The librarians even organized a game segment to showcase how to use their latest interactive projector.
Finally, volunteers from the Pasir Ris Library’s DIY Club demonstrated the art of origami and shared how they have contributed through their art pieces on the curation of book displays.
At the end of the visit to the library, we left feeling inspired and ready to put the good knowledge we learnt into our libraries. We would like to thank the staff of PRPL for the engaging and interactive tour and for the occasion to experience the library first-hand!
Submitted by Jami So (Social and Programmes Committee)