Singapore, 31 May 2013 – “My Tree House”, the World’s 1st Green Library for Kids opens its doors to library visitors today at the Central Public Library. The National Library Board (NLB) and City Developments Limited (CDL) jointly present a special library that will encourage children to explore, discover and challenge their curiosity in learning and caring for the environment. “My Tree House” was opened by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information on 31 May 2013.
Mrs Elaine Ng, Chief Executive Officer of NLB said, “NLB is continuously looking for new and innovative ways to create unique identities for our libraries and better serve our customers. We are happy to collaborate with CDL and its partners to create our first green library for kids. We have created this special library for children to see, read, touch and experience a magical journey into learning and caring about the environment.”
Mr Kwek Leng Joo, Managing Director of CDL said, “NLB and CDL share a common vision and passion. We tapped on each other’s strengths and expertise to create a completely green and innovative library conducive to ignite in young minds, a love for nature. CDL has also brought together 11 other equally like-minded collaborators who have embraced this project with fervour. Being experts in their individual fields, our partners have made invaluable contributions to bring to fruition “My Tree House” – a truly exceptional green showcase for Singapore. As CDL celebrates our 50th Anniversary this year, we take pride as a Singapore-grown company, to be able to make a positive community contribution with sustained impact to the benefit of our nation.”
“My Tree House” will serve as a resource centre in facilitating environmental literacy for children. Aptly named after the centrepiece which features a tree house structure constructed with recyclable materials, the library is designed specifically with children in mind. NLB hopes to cultivate children’s interest in environmental conservation through reading, discovering, and engagement in green activities, and nurture them to be environmentally-conscious adults.
Purposefully conceptualised, constructed and operated with environmental sustainability in mind, “My Tree House” is the first library in the world to be steered by green principles in all facets from design, infrastructure and use of sustainable materials, to collection and programming. Eco-friendly building materials such as energy-efficient LED lighting, refurbished bookshelves and carpets with green properties were used. The canopy of the tree house centrepiece is built and installed with over 3,000 recycled plastic bottles collected from the public, schools and visitors to City Square Mall.
At “My Tree House”, children can learn about the environment through a multi-sensory experience. They can interact with The Knowledge Tree, which is a shadow play wall, to learn about the environment and energy conservation. Budding meteorologists can also discover Singapore’s temperature, rainfall and wind speed “live” through The Weather Stump which charts real-time weather information provided by the Meteorological Service Singapore.
With the green library’s collection of 45,000 books, children will have a wider variety of green themed books to borrow and read. A significant 30% of these books will focus on green topics such as animals, plants, nature, water resources, weather, environment, recycling and climate change. Fiction books including fairytales, fantasy and folklores which are related to the theme of the enchanted forest will make up the other 70% of the collection. Young users can also read green themed eBooks and play educational games through interactive and child-friendly eReading kiosks.
Children can take part in an interesting line-up of green themed programmes, for which NLB is partnering other public agencies such as the National Climate Change Secretariat, National Environment Agency and National Parks Board. These programmes include storytelling sessions and workshops on creating games and craft-making. NLB will also be organising tailored library tours for schools for environmental education and outreach.
“Libraries are integral to our efforts to educate the public, especially the young, on the importance of sustainability in the built environment due to their pedagogical role in serving the community. As a central space for knowledge sharing, “My Tree House” is uniquely placed to educate children on the importance of sustainability. The extensive use of green materials, energy-efficient fittings and innovative teaching features were factors which garnered the project the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award. Indeed, the overall green concept was well conceived and executed. I am heartened by CDL and NLB’s commitment to promoting sustainable development and have no doubt that “My Tree House” will inculcate in the kids and their parents alike a sense of eco-consciousness,” said Dr John Keung, Chief Executive Officer of BCA.
“My Tree House” has received the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award. The award is the highest tier for green buildings in Singapore, for its unique sustainable properties. The green library is housed in the iconic National Library Building which first received the Green Mark Platinum Award in April 2005 and subsequently in March 2009. This is the highest honour for green buildings in Singapore bestowed by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). In July 2007, the National Library Building also won the first prize in the ASEAN Energy Efficiency Awards under the “New and Existing Building” category. In May 2007, the Building was given the Silver Award in the Universal Design Award from BCA, for its wide spaces, good lighting, accessibility and clarity in wayfinding.