SINGAPORE – Public libraries are treasure troves of knowledge and quiet calm where everyone is welcome. By the end of next year, residents in Punggol will get to enjoy the new Punggol Regional Library, which has been designed to be more inclusive. Besides facilities like calming zones for children with special needs, it will also provide services for users with disabilities.
The National Library Board (NLB) also plans to revamp eight other libraries from now till 2026, including Central Public Library, Choa Chu Kang Public Library and Queenstown Public Library.
The Straits Times looks at seven other libraries around the world famed for their good books and good looks.
1. Vancouver Public Library, Central Library, Vancouver, Canada
This Colosseum-inspired library at the heart of downtown Vancouver is known for its stately granite walls curving into an unmistakable oval shape.
It has nine storeys, including a rooftop garden flourishing with local plant species like lavender, white roses and coral bark maple trees.
Between the second and third floors, visitors can catch a glimpse of a locked treasure chest containing items from the time of the library's opening in 1995. The time capsule will be opened again on its 45th anniversary in 2040.
2. State Library of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
With panels of dark wood and ornate cast iron, the Mortlock Chamber of this library could quite possibly set the stage for a Victorian-era period drama. The chamber was opened in 1884 as an expansion of the main building, which opened first in 1860, and some of the original wallpaper and lamps have been preserved.
During the day, plenty of natural light spills into the chamber from the glass-domed lantern roof overhead. The State Library has about 60km of shelves lined with books in total. It is fully wheelchair accessible, and hearing loops, an assisted listening technology, are available for visitors who are hearing impaired.
3. Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch, Taipei, Taiwan
Resembling a large treehouse, this eco-friendly library stands amid the leafy environs of the Beitou hot springs. It was built in 2006, constructed mainly with wood and steel, and has a sloping roof where rainwater is collected for watering the plants or flushing toilets. Up on the roof, there are also solar panels and a layer of soil which provides thermal insulation.
Visitors can cosy up with a book inside, or head to one of the balconies to admire sweeping views of the surrounding gardens.
4. Tianjin Binhai Library, Tianjin, China
Nicknamed The Eye, this library is stunning and futuristic, if a little dystopian-looking.
A paper-white, spherical auditorium sits at the centre of the room, circled by five-storey-high undulating terraced bookshelves. From the entrance, it resembles the gleaming pupil of a watchful eye. Since opening in 2017, Tianjin Binhai Library has attracted thousands of visitors who come to admire the seemingly endless rows of books. Although the shelves do have the capacity for over a million volumes, however, most of the colourful book spines are actually just printed images.
5. Starfield Library, Seoul, South Korea
With towering 13m-tall bookshelves and neon lights, this library is the star of Coex shopping mall. Since its opening in 2017, shoppers have had access to staggering shelves filled with some 50,000 Korean and international titles, jusRead More – Source