SERANGOON residents are the next in line for a brand-new public library.
The library, expected to open in about a year's time, will be located in a new shopping mall linked to Serangoon Bus Interchange. It is the National Library Board's (NLB) first new library since Bishan Public Library opened in 2006.
Following Serangoon, Clementi will also get its own library, slated to open around mid-2011 in Clementi Central.
An NLB spokesman said the board is in the initial stages of planning a new library in Orchard Road to replace the former Library@Orchard in Ngee Ann City, which shut its doors in 2007. He said: 'NLB considers a variety of factors when assessing the need to open a public library, such as customer demand, demographics, growth of communities and the suitability of sites in terms of accessibility.'
Serangoon was chosen because there was a need to set up a library to effectively serve its growing population. As of 2007, the population in Serangoon Central was 122,000. This number is expected to grow to about 150,000 by 2020.
The closest library serving Serangoon now - Cheng San Public Library in Hougang Mall - also has its own growing population to support.
Said NLB chief executive N. Varaprasad: 'NLB is constantly looking for opportunities where our public libraries can serve as social spaces for users to learn, interact and bond together. I am sure Serangoon Public Library... will be a draw to residents of all age groups and with different needs.'
The new library will have a floor space of about 17,000 sq ft and will have a start-up collection of about 150,000 volumes of books, magazines and audio-visual materials. NLB is in the process of confirming the collection.
Meanwhile, Serangoon residents are looking forward to a library to call their own. Said facilities manager S.H. Long, 40: 'I enjoy reading, so this is good news. I can also take my four-year-old daughter there to read. I usually go to Ang Mo Kio or Bishan, so it is great to have one that is nearer.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times.