Having a public library in the middle of the country’s prime shopping district is actually a good idea. It makes reading cool. 8) Let’s take a look at some images of this new place.
There was actually a library in Orchard Road several years back. However I believe the lease expired or the national library board decided the rental costs were getting too prohibitive. Eventually it was closed and public libraries reverted to being boring and uninspiring. The main national library has an ambiance that is just too clinical and boring. In other words, like a morgue. Libraries in the neighbourhoods are un-cool and frequently used by residents as an air-conditioned climate refuge or just a convenient place to bring their children to and continue a near-futile quest to make children borrow books and spend more time reading than playing with mobile phones and tablets.
Fortunately a new mall was built on Orchard Road that has space, needs attractive anchor tenants and does not charge that high for rental (compared to the previous location). So welcome the new library in Orchard Gateway! Even the entrance looks cool! I mean look at this, just standing at the entrance you already think that reading must be so cool!
The content in this library is quite unique compared to other libraries. Instead of having a lot of boring reference materials or kiddy books for children, the majority of its collection consists of practical, up-to-date books on architecture, travel, media, graphic design, interior decoration, etc. The kind of non-fiction books you would expect a modern bookstore to carry that adults actually want to read. In essence, the Orchard Gateway Library’s content make you feel like it is a modern bookstore stocked with a lot of useful non-fiction content free for people to peruse and borrow. Bravo!
What is even more outstanding is that this may well be the first public library to get an impressive architecture and aesthetics design. Kudos to the public servants brave enough to push for such a creative departure from conventional library design (believe me this is a rarity!) and the firm(s) which designed this place! Organic curves are the new rage in contemporary modern architecture, and we have a lot of it here to make book lovers look like they are the hippest people around.
There are also some very creative and interesting reading spaces, such as this one. Chairs are stacked in a straight row behind some book shelves, with a window to the side to mitigate any claustrophobia. It feels private, but is not overly private as a reader is visible to other readers occupying this stretch. I do wonder if it is a novelty with limited usefulness, or just a very clever way to carve out available seating space.
This basically ends this coverage of the new library at the Orchard Gateway. If you are nearby, do drop in for a look. The tourist pamphlets will not advertise this place, but it is actually interesting enough to justify a traveler dropping in for a look. You may even find it more interesting than some of the other usual “touristy” places.
I will probably follow up with a part 2 some time, as there are still quite a few interesting aspects that are picture worthy.