SINGAPORE: The newly-revamped two-level Pasir Ris Public Library at White Sands reopened its doors on Saturday (Nov 28) as the first mall library in Singapore to have a space managed by teens, for teens.
Called the Teens' Mezzanine, the second-storey section of the library will be managed by a starter batch of 39 volunteer teenagers aged between 13 and 19 from the Inspiring Readers Society, a new initiative by the National Library Board (NLB). These teenagers will be co-creating video trailers that recommend books of their choosing, made available for viewing at the Book Tree.
Teens' Mezzanine (Photo: National Library Board)
Nur Eliisa Abdullah Juntunen, a 15-year-old volunteer member with the Inspiring Readers Society, said: "Usually those (who) we want to inspire are those who prefer movies or TV shows rather than reading. So if they see something they can watch and they find out more about the book from a mini clip or animation, I think that will really attract them to read the book.”
In addition to that, they will be organising regular Hangout Sessions in the Mezzanine, where fellow teenagers can speak to the members about any topic relating to a recommended book.
Inspiring Readers Society (Photo: Jamie Tan)
Also in the space, teens and adults alike can interact with a Doodle Wall, where they can draw and ideate using their fingertips with the help of an interactive projector. The display aims to help facilitate live collaborative discussions through the use of visualisation.
It is one of three in the library, with the other two located at the Function Room and the Early Literacy Collection.
A host of other interactive installations can be seen around the library, including the brand new ReadNext screen. Users can swipe through a list of books recommended by the librarians, separated into sections - Children, Teens, Adults. To locate a book, they can scan the attached QR code with their NLB Mobile application. The screen is accessible even while the library is closed.
Speaking about the increased interactivity, Ms Felicia Chan, a librarian involved in Library Planning for NLB, said: “We want people to take charge of their own learning process. When you have interactive elements, there’s also the element of co-creative learning.
“We give you that opportunity to express yourself. Like in the children’s and teen’s section, you will actually learn through the community because you are no longer solitary when you have interactive elements. Everyone is there to share with you.”
One unique feature of the library is the Reading Terrace, which can seat up to 30 people next to the bird’s-eye view of Pasir Ris Park.
Reading Terrace (Photo: National Library Board)
The library also has new intuitive features, such as front-facing books, shorter bookshelves for children in the Early Literacy Collection, as well as chairs of different heights for parent and child.
Early Literary Collection, with seats of different heights. (Photo: National Library Board)
To come up with the changes in the library, the NLB conducted surveys with their visitors over the past year to find out how to cater to the bigger teenage demographic in Pasir Ris.
"What we did was we actually spoke to them, we did some focus groups and they also presented their ideas - not specifically for Pasir Ris. We wanted to know what teens wanted. So we took all this feedback, which we have first applied to Pasir Ris,” said Ms Chan.
Books are front-facing and placed in shorter bookshelves in the Early Literacy Collection. (Photo: National Library Board)
The newly-revamped library follows the theme of "Clouds of Possibility", which not only alludes to the ceiling lights shaped like clouds, but also refers to the ease in which readers can weave in and out of the library’s corridors, lined with books that expand their imagination.
The library reopens on the back of a near nine-month revamp.