(Re) Connect With Nature: Choa Chu Kang Public Library Reopens With A Passion For Sustainability

Singapore, 22 October 2021 – A bigger, better Choa Chu Kang Public Library reopens to the public at Lot One Shoppers’ Mall on Thursday, 28 October 2021, offering many features seen for the first time in a public library in Singapore. From extended hours to a Community Wall, Nature Walls, Indoor Garden, and Hydroponics Showcase, the revamped library boasts several new elements that celebrate nature in everyday life. Themed (Re)Connect with Nature, the library melds design with tech, creating an experiential communal space that promotes environmental awareness and interest in sustainable living.

Choa Chu Kang Public Library is one of the next-generation libraries being launched in conjunction with LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025). The blueprint outlines the National Library Board’s (NLB) evolving roles and priorities for the next five years in response to changing needs of the community. To help the community learn and pick up new skills, NLB will develop a Learning Marketplace, an omni-channel platform of physical and digital hubs and nodes. Choa Chu Kang Public Library forms part of this network and features curated spaces, collections, and programmes to inculcate an interest in nature, biodiversity, and sustainability.

“Libraries have a major role to play, and with LAB25, we are evolving them to meet the changing needs of our patrons,” said NLB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ng Cher Pong. “We are excited for everyone to be able to experience a bigger, better and greener Choa Chu Kang Public Library, redesigned with the community’s needs and interests in mind. With this revamped space, we hope that people will come together to bond, socialise, and learn, especially on topics related to nature and sustainability.”

Key features of the revamped Choa Chu Kang Public Library

a.         Expanded space
The new library is now spread over two floors instead of one. It has expanded its total floor area from 2,320 sq m to 3,000 sq m with an additional floor on level 5 in Lot One Shoppers’ Mall. Level 4 caters to adults, teens, and older children (7-12 years), while level 5 caters to parents and young children (0-6 years). Patrons who step into the library on level 4 will come through a 24/7 lobby, with a display of library-related information such as book recommendations, visitorship, and loan trends. Level 5 features the first Indoor Garden in a public library, reflecting the farming heritage and community gardening culture of Choa Chu Kang, and provides a natural and peaceful space for patrons to read.

b.         Extended visiting hours
A pilot programme will cater to patrons who prefer to visit and use the library’s facilities earlier (by 2 hours) or later (by 1 hour) in the day, which is outside the library’s standard operating hours. They can do so by scanning their NRIC, library card membership barcode or QR code through the NLB mobile app at the entrance on level 4. From 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and 9.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. daily, patrons will be able to gain access to the Reading Zone, as well as the Study and Multimedia Zone on level 4. Patrons can also access these library spaces during the eves of Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, and public holidays, from 9.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.

c.         Green Grove (sponsored by CapitaLand Hope Foundation)
Nature and technology meet at the Green Grove on level 4, which is sponsored by CapitaLand Hope Foundation, CapitaLand Group’s philanthropic arm. A curated corner that cultivates environmental awareness and literacy by showing the intricate links between humans and their local environments, the Green Grove features a Hydroponics Showcase, which will be used to run workshops to foster interest in urban farming solutions and food security in Singapore. The Climate Action Corner displays information on climate change to educate and provide inspiration on minimising one’s carbon footprint.

Patrons can also access real-time environmental and nature-related information through a Live-Statistics Display. These include weather forecasts and air quality information, environment and nature-related news from organisations such as World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore and Singapore Geographic, updates of biodiversity activities in Singapore from sources like National Parks Board, along with some fun trivia about nature and nature-related e-book recommendations from our digital collection.

The beautiful, natural space complements a new Augmented Reality (AR) Learning Trail spanning levels 4 and 5. The trail brings stories to life digitally by drawing inspiration from history or focusing on nature. Visitors can interact experientially to see how rubber tapping was done in the past or have a closer look at the endangered Samba deer. Developed in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, this provides a unique digital experience that encourages patrons to interact with the library’s physical spaces while immersing in AR content that can broaden patrons’ knowledge on wildlife species and natural landscapes in Singapore.

d.         Community Wall
The library’s Community Wall on level 4 will be the first of its kind among our public libraries in Singapore. It features both historical and modern-day sections with elements unique to the Choa Chu Kang neighbourhood, from its agricultural heritage to a transformation to agrotechnology and new generation farms today. Residents will be able to contribute their own memories, experiences, and thoughts on the wall, and in the process, showcase the kampung spirit that the wall hopes to foster. The wall ends off with an art mural, which illustrates a myriad of flora and fauna commonly found in Choa Chu Kang.

e.         Nature Walls
Discover facets of nature with curated illustrations on the Nature Walls on level 4, near the lobby, Adult Collection, and Older Children Collection.  Some of the images featured come from a dazzling array of natural history books, botanical prints, plantation photographs and maps from the National Library’s extensive collection and Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris.

f.         Sustainability-focused content and programmes
The library will also offer many new eco-themed programmes and marquee events throughout the year. These aim to raise awareness of environmental issues and inspire everyone to adopt sustainable lifestyles. The examples include:

  • Green Market – The biannual Green Market sponsored by CapitaLand Hope Foundation is a family affair with programmes such as talks, workshops, and exhibitions. It aims to empower everyone to pursue sustainable goals as a community, by introducing them to sustainability principles and connecting them to green groups and initiatives that they can support. The first Green Market entitled ‘Green Market: SG Food Tech Fest’ is co-organised by NLB and Asia Sustainability Forum, and focuses on food technology. It will feature food innovators such as Shiok Meats, Innovate 360, and Amplefresh, who will share their insights and innovations with the general public to raise awareness of food technology and sustainability. Children aged 5 to 9 can learn about food waste under a brand-new educational programme conducted by CapitaLand staff volunteers. The event will run from 12 to 14 November 2021 and will feature both online and physical programmes.
  • Great Make-Over Project – This annual project sponsored by CapitaLand Hope Foundation aims to encourage community co-solutioning to reimagine and reinvent spaces to promote sustainable living. The solutions would be presented as prototypes or an exhibition within our library spaces.  Experts from green organisations will be roped in to support participants with knowledge and resources to devise solutions to sustainability challenges that they care about. The first Great Make-Over Project is scheduled to start in December 2021.
  • Sustainable art installations – Produced by commissioned artists to raise awareness of various sustainability issues, these works will involve crowd-sourced elements such as material contribution from members of the public. From October to November 2021, the installation will be themed around food sustainability.
  • Programmes for preschoolers, children, and teens – Younger patrons will be treated to storytelling sessions, talks, and hands-on workshops that introduce concepts of sustainability and nurture an appreciation for nature and wildlife. Older children, tweens and teens will also be given ownership of the library spaces, where they will be able to participate in tabletop gaming sessions with their friends and families, join a roleplaying game learning community, or use the spaces carved out for them to tinker, study or do project work.
  • Volunteering programmes – In line with the library’s theme, there will be volunteering opportunities that celebrate sustainable living and encourage communities to do their part to protect the environment. For example, through a home farming series from October to December 2021, an NLB volunteer and urban garden enthusiast will be imparting urban gardening tips through hands-on activities and interactive discussions. Other volunteering opportunities include managing volunteer-run spaces, book displays and acting as library guides. More information on volunteering programmes can be found at www.nlb.gov.sg/volunteers.

In anticipation of large crowds, a one-hour dwell time will be implemented for both the online booking and seat booking systems for one month till 28 November 2021 (including weekdays and weekends).

Details on Choa Chu Kang Public Library’s programmes can be found at go.gov.sg/cckpl. More details on the revamped Choa Chu Kang Public Library are available at www.nlb.gov.sg

- END – 

About National Library Board
The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities and a Knowledgeable Nation by promoting reading, learning and history through its network of 27 public libraries, the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB also forges strategic partnerships that encourage awareness, appreciation and greater discovery of Singapore’s history through its rich collections on Singapore and the region.

NLB achieves excellence through innovation, focusing on citizen engagement and co-creation, resource and digital innovation. This creates learning opportunities, greater access to library resources, services and archival collections, as well as a continual development of innovative library spaces. Established on 1 September 1995 as a statutory board, NLB is under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

For more information, please visit the NLB website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.