Woodlands Regional Library
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The Woodlands Regional Library (WRL), located at 900 South Woodlands Drive, Woodlands Civic Centre, #01-03, Singapore 730900, was officially opened on 28 April 2001. It is the thirteenth branch library to be opened by the National Library Board (NLB) and the first full-fledged regional library.
In 1992, the government set up a Library 2000 Review Committee to review public library services in Singapore. One of the recommendations by the committee was to restructure the public libraries into a three-tier library system consisting of regional libraries, community libraries and neighbourhood libraries. In 1995, the government announced that following the prototype regional library at Tampines, it was planning to build a second regional library at Woodlands New Town. The library was completed at a cost of S$60 million and was officially opened on 28 April 2001 by Tony Tan (Dr), Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence and Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC. On the following day, when the library opened to the public, it registered a record of 100,000 visitors and 19,000 loans
It occupies a total floor space of 11,100 square metres: twice the size of Tampines Regional Library. It is housed at Woodlands Civics Centre, occupying four storeys and the split-level basement. Situated at the basement is a 250-seat auditorium. At level one, there is a wide range of magazines, newspapers and audiovisual materials, a cafe, a stage for performances, and one of WRL's unique visual features - the Atrium, which features a water-wall accompanied by four sculptures by local sculptor Han Sai Por. Levels two and three house the reference section and the general lending section respectively. Level four, which has a lower ceiling than the other floors, is the young people and children's section.
WRL is located in close proximity to three nature reserves: Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, Sungei Khatib Bongsu and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. To reflect the lush greenery which surrounds it, WRL has adopted the theme of nature and the environment. In keeping with this theme, the children's section has been designed as a park, with several interesting visual features to create environmental awareness.
Another special feature of WRL is its focus on children. The children's Reading Park is specially designed to provide an environment conducive for reading as well as to stimulate creativity and innovation. Interesting features include the Enchanted Tree, a display area for children to indicate their favourite books; the Windows to the World, a globe of the world with thematic displays on people, places and events around the world; the reading corner, an area which encourages bonding between parent and child through reading together; and Expressions by Children, an area which showcases children's art works and other creative projects. In addition to the special decor and design, WRL is the first library to introduce Kids Cat, a special catalogue designed just for children. Kids Cat features user-friendly icons and colourful displays to make it easy for children to navigate and search for books on the library catalogue. There are also specialist librarians stationed at WRL to provide advisory service for parents, teachers, caregivers and others who are working with children. The specialists, well-versed on the reading and information needs of children, provide advice on the type of books that are suitable for children according to their age level and development.
Currently, WRL has a collection size of 420,000 books. To promote awareness and appreciation of local art, the library also features a sizeable local art collection. Besides Han Sai Por's sculptures, other works of art include a painting by Earl Lu and a wall mural by Romanian-born, Singapore-based Delia Prvacki. The art collection in WRL, numbering about 50 pieces, is the biggest among the public libraries and is worth half a million dollars. The library also has a collection of more than 10,000 cookery books in various languages (Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil).
Other Services and Facilities
Project rooms are available for rental at the library. There are also 54 multi-media stations and ten wireless-enabled Music Posts, i.e. listening stations offering access to seven music channels and one radio station. The library has a seating capacity of 1,000.
Ong Eng Chuan
Largest Library Opens in Woodlands . (2001, April 29). The Straits Times, Home, p. 30.
Ong, S. F. (2001, April 29). Out of the Woodlands. The Straits Times, Sunday Plus, p. 2.
Yeo, A. (2001, April 27). Look out for the Roving Librarian. Straits Times, Home, p. 7.
Yeo, G. (1995, March 30). Libraries of the Future to Develop along Twin Tacks. The Straits Times, p. 28.
National Library Board. (2001, May/June). @the Library: Record Number of Visitors at Woodlands Regional Library. Retrieved January 12, 2002, from http://www.nlb.gov.sg/libbackissues/back.may_jun01/features/active/index.asp
The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
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