New library@orchard



Located in Orchard Gateway shopping centre on Orchard Road, the new library@orchard was officially opened on 23 October 2014 by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim. The library’s collections, comprising around 100,000 items, are centred on lifestyle, design and the applied arts. There are some 45,000 books on the latter two subjects, the largest such collection among the public libraries.1

History
The first-ever public library located in the Orchard Road shopping district was officially opened on 21 October 1999 by then Minister for Information and the Arts Lee Yock Suan. Part of the stable of branch libraries under the National Library Board (NLB), it was located on the fifth floor of Ngee Ann City shopping mall.

The inspiration to set up a “lifestyle library” at Orchard can be traced to the Library 2000 report published in 1994. The report provided the blueprint for the development of library services in Singapore; the library had been identified as a key player in the information age of the 21st century. A further impetus was the findings of a survey carried out in 1998: a sharp decline in readership of the 18 to 30 age group was identified. Hence, the NLB decided to adopt a lifestyle-oriented approach, offering a specialised collection to this age group to encourage them to visit libraries and to read.2

The first library@orchard was popular with the public; however, it closed on 30 November 2007 as its landlord did not renew its lease, and many lamented the closure.3 The NLB began searching for a new location, also on Orchard Road, and eventually settled on the current site at Orchard Gateway. Following Orchard Gateway’s completion, the new library@orchard was unveiled on 23 October 2014.4 To commemorate its opening, the library featured the exhibition irememberOrchard, which showcased personal memories as well as historical photographs of Orchard Road from the National Archives of Singapore.5

Description
library@orchard comprises two floors, grossing 1,700 sq m in total, with a seating capacity of 180. It is the first double-storey mall library operated by the NLB. The two floors are known as The Studio (level three) and The Loft (level four). Three designated display areas and three programme zones are available on the third floor.6

Significant features
Upon entry into the library, visitors are greeted by a video wall that screens design-themed videos, including films and animation shorts, as well as programme happenings and live feeds from ongoing workshops held within the library premises. This area has isolated sound spots that allow interested patrons to view and listen to the videos without disturbing others in the library.7

Besides the electronic newspaper-reading stations,8 another new service introduced at library@orchard is self-service pickup of reserved materials. Patrons can collect their items from lockers located at the entrance of the library after its operating hours but before the shopping centre closes.9

library@orchard is the first public library in Singapore to be built based on the principles of design thinking. Conceptualised in partnership with Singapore Polytechnic, the NLB project was led by the theme “Design is for Everyone”.10 Public feedback on the library’s design was gathered through an exhibition of prototypes at the Central Public Library, located in the National Library Building on Victoria Street, between 18 December 2012 and 31 January 2013, as well as through focus groups.11 Following a study on patrons’ needs conducted by some 30 students and lecturers from Singapore Polytechnic, and the collation of 1,000 pieces of public feedback, ideas for the “book trees” and “cocoons” were born.12

Cocoons are pod-inspired seats that offer personal and conducive spaces for users, while the book trees are interactive book displays located on level four. The book trees highlight materials curated by library staff and are outfitted with digital displays showing notable personalities and icons according to a theme. Patrons can add their own recommendations to the list by scanning their selected library books.13 Other design features include the tall shelves with a meandering shape; the higher tiers are accessible by a movable ladder.14

The final design of library@orchard was undertaken by New Space Architect Pte Ltd.15

Collections
library@orchard’s collections comprise about 100,000 titles, approximately 45,000 of which are on design and the applied arts. Fiction titles are located on level three, while non-fiction materials are on level four. The non-fiction collection is organised into five design clusters: people (fashion, people photography, portfolios, entrepreneurs), space (architecture, landscape, interior design), visual (furniture design, industrial design, game design, handicrafts, packaging), product (advertising, graphic design, photography, printmaking, typography) and lifestyle (gastronomy, wellness, travelogues, etiquette, literary). The library’s collection of design magazines, the largest among the public libraries, can be found at the “magazine wall”, a prominent feature on level three.16

Programmes
Fortnightly community learning sessions are held at an open area amidst the shelves on the third floor, while film screenings take place in one of the programme zones also on the same floor. There are monthly workshops organised for the public to pick up new skills, as well as to create and share their own projects. Additionally, exhibitions held regularly at the library.17



Author
Lee Meiyu



References
1. library@orchard returns with new design concept and experience. (2014, October 23). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; National Library Board. (2014, August 28). library@orchard. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/VisitUs/BranchDetails/tabid/140/bid/337/Default.aspx?branch=library%40orchard
2. Lim, R. (1999, October 21). A hot link for young adults. The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Library 2000 Review Committee. (1994, March). Library 2000: Investing in a learning nation: Report of the Library 2000 Review Committee. Singapore: SNP Publishers under licence from Ministry of Information and the Arts, p. 3. (Call no.: RSING 027.05957 SIN-[LIB])
3. Tan, A. (2007, July 26). library@orchard to close as lease runs out. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. library@orchard returns with new design concept and experience. (2014, October 23). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
5. National Library Board. (2014, October 23).
library@orchard returns with new design concept & experience – making design accessible for everyone [Press release]. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/News/tabid/102/articleid/268/category/Media%20Releases/parentId/121/year/2014/Default.aspx   
6. National Library Board. (2015, January 29). library@orchard. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/gallery/Orchard/library@orchard%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
7. National Library Board. (2014, October 23). library@orchard returns with new design concept & experience – making design accessible for everyone [Press release]. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/News/tabid/102/articleid/268/category/Media%20Releases/parentId/121/year/2014/Default.aspx
8. National Library Board. (2015, January 29). library@orchard. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/gallery/Orchard/library@orchard%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
9. Huang, L. (2014, October 28). library@orchard scores with books and looks. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. National Library Board. (2015, January 29). library@orchard. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/gallery/Orchard/library@orchard%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf; National Library Board. (2014, October 23). library@orchard returns with new design concept & experience – making design accessible for everyone [Press release]. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/News/tabid/102/articleid/268/category/Media%20Releases/parentId/121/year/2014/Default.aspx
11. Lee, P. (2012, December 19). Wanted: Views on new Orchard library. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (2014, October 23). library@orchard returns with new design concept & experience – making design accessible for everyone [Press release]. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/News/tabid/102/articleid/268/category/Media%20Releases/parentId/121/year/2014/Default.aspx
12. Huang, L. (2014, October 28). library@orchard scores with books and looks. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; National Library Board. (2014, October 23). library@orchard returns with new design concept & experience – making design accessible for everyone [Press release]. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/News/tabid/102/articleid/268/category/Media%20Releases/parentId/121/year/2014/Default.aspx
13. National Library Board. (2014, October 23). library@orchard returns with new design concept & experience – making design accessible for everyone [Press release]. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/News/tabid/102/articleid/268/category/Media%20Releases/parentId/121/year/2014/Default.aspx
14. Tan, E. (2014, October 24). library@orchard returns with a new look, concept. Today. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
15. New Space Architects Pte Ltd. (n.d.). library@orchard. Retrieved from New Space Architects website: http://newspace.com.sg/libraryorchard
16. National Library Board. (2015, January 29). library@orchard. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/gallery/Orchard/library@orchard%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf; Huang, L. (2014, October 28). library@orchard scores with books and looks. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
17. National Library Board. (2015, January 29). library@orchard. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/Portals/0/library/gallery/Orchard/library@orchard%20-%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf; National Library Board. (2014, October 23). library@orchard returns with new design concept & experience – making design accessible for everyone [Press release]. Retrieved from National Library Board website: http://www.nlb.gov.sg/News/tabid/102/articleid/268/category/Media%20Releases/parentId/121/year/2014/Default.aspx 



The information in this article is valid as at 18 October 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. 

Subject
Streets and Places
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places