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  • UNITE Editorial

Review of library@harbourfront

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

library@harbourfront, the newest NLB library in Singapore recently opened on 12th January 2019. Located within Vivocity, it is currently Singapore’s largest library to be housed in a mall. It’s new geography at the centre of Singapore makes it highly accessible to the wider public as well. Should you face difficulties navigating, signs are placed all along the route to provide directions! Despite being a relocation of the Bukit Merah Library, it is spacious and is embellished with new amenities to serve the needs of many.

The library adopts a rather futuristic and minimalistic aesthetic. The interior is adorned with glowing strips of LED lights, floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek pillars with little circles of multicolour light, and a paint job leaning heavily towards stark white. While the library distances itself from a cosier aesthetic, the atmosphere does not feel sterile or unwelcoming, perhaps due to the large crowd it is drawing. Within the library, the names of each sections are displayed on overhead signs, so you can easily find your desired category at a glance.

The large windows also play a considerable role in the library’s aesthetics. With plenty of natural light gleaming through and a scenic view of Sentosa, visitors are able to make use of the amenities such as the adirondack chairs provided for reading and studying whilst enjoying the picturesque landscape. There are also stations for reading newspapers digitally as well!

If you think the scenic view is the most outstanding feature of the the library, you may want to think again. In the Programme Zone, besides storytelling activities and talk events, there are tech showcases on such as iwonder and Play With Tech where you get to play around with nifty robots, gadgets, and devices! There are also recommendations of robotics-related books to read.

In this zone, there are learning pods accompanied with headphones, and allows you to view digital materials and take 360 virtual tours. With the rise of ebooks, it is nice to see the library has adapted to the shift by including such stations. There is also a comfy lounge area with a theatre-size screen, and allows patrons to explore the world with Google Earth. There is a handy Quick Charge area too, although you will have to stand at the pillar while your device charges.

The children’s section is decorated with bright colours and a crafty, eclectic look. There is a little reading ‘shelter’, and a children’s crafts area that forms the body of a decorative ‘truck’. These infrastructures exudes a pleasant and homey vibe, inducing it as a welcoming space for kids to not just read, but also to interact with others while making crafts. With a space for such hands-on application activities, children can enjoy their time in this library more.

Occupying only part of the third floor of Vivocity, the library may strike some as small, and may lack certain books in print. However, it is more than just a place to borrow books. There is a clear effort to make this a communal space where people get together to read, study, attend events and more significantly, foster social interaction amidst the shopping spree. Nonetheless, this newly built library continues to be a contentious topic and only time can tell if this is was a successful relocation. But for now, the wide array of facilities remains a selling point to the public. If you’re looking for a place to cram for exams, read leisurely, or to check out some workshops, this just might be it!

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