Jurong Regional Library
by Nureza Ahmad
Jurong Regional Library (JRL) located at 21 Jurong East Central 1, Singapore 609732, is the largest public library in Singapore and the third regional library after Woodlands Regional Library and Tampines Regional Library. First opened as Jurong East Community Library (JECL) in 1988, the library underwent extensive upgrading works in June 2003. It was officially reopened as Jurong Regional Library by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Acting Minister for Education, on 4 June 2004. It is also the first library in Singapore to have a teens library service designed by and for teenagers specifically, and a 24 hour self-service lobby.
For more than 10 years since it opened in 1988, Jurong East Community Library (JECL) had served the needs of some 400, 000 residents living in the southwest area of Singapore. However, with an increasing population in the area and changing needs of the residents, the library was soon slated for further development. It was closed in June 2003 for restructuring and upgrading works. After a $16.5 million facelift, it re-opened as the Jurong Regional Library in June 2004 with bigger premises appended to the old wing, a larger collection of books and new innovative services.
Located in the Jurong East Industrial and Business Hub, the Jurong Regional Library (JRL) is the largest public library in Singapore to date. It acts as a one-stop information, reference and recreation centre for the 800,000 residents in the southwest of Singapore. Its target user ranges from children to professionals working in the nearby industrial and business vicinity.
JRL occupies four storeys and a basement in an estimated area of 12,020 sq m. Architecturally, it is the first public library in Singapore with a skylight incorporated into its structure. It is also the first to use a unique energy saving reflector light technology in Singapore. This technology works by using high reflecting aluminium mirrors to enhance the light of two 400W metal-halide lights to light the whole atrium saving up to fifty percent of energy used in conventional lighting. The atrium itself is the connecting bridge linking the old Jurong East Library building with the new structure. Housing an enlarged collection of 507,000 volumes, it includes 160, 000 volume of print reference materials temporarily located here from the former National Reference Library at Stamford Road. It also has 2,433 magazine titles, 12,000 volumes of audiovisual materials, 22,000 reels of microfilm, 64 newspaper titles and 311,000 volumes of lending books.
In the basement is the children's library, the new children's advisory service and children resource centre. The children's library has a collection of 118,000 books that includes classics, favourite titles, folktales and fairytales, award-winning titles and a special emphasis on books with Asian content.
Level one accommodates the adult English fiction collection, audio-visual materials, magazines and newspapers and the new 24-hour self-service lobby. Users can also relax at the cafe and listen to music whilst seated at music posts.
A large adult lending collection with a readers advisory centre are located at level two. In addition, users can go to the quiet reading room at this floor.
Level three, users can find the main reference collection of 173,000 materials, and utilise new reference services be-fitting a regional library. Previously JECL did not have reference services.
Teenagers would most likely head to level four as it features the young people's collection placed in the first specially designed teens library in Singapore. Called "Verging All Teens" (VAT), the teens library occupies 1,200 sq m of the fourth level, equivalent to the size of regular shopping mall libraries. It has a distinctive collection of comics and graphic novels, and a special Music CD reference collection featuring popular artistes that appeal to teens.
One of the exciting new features of JRL is the teens library, which is created for teens and run by teens. A management committee of 12 teenagers had worked with the NLB teen advisory committee to design and conceptualise the new "Verging All Teens" (VAT) library. With a collection catered to teens' needs, cool music, décor, stage performances, and even a graffiti wall, teens are given a space all to themselves to be inspired and explore new opportunities. In addition, teen volunteers selected by the teens management committee will run VAT.
JRL is the first library in Singapore with a 24-hour self-service lobby. It consists of self-help kiosks in an auto-library styled area built just outside the library. It provides users with membership registration, multimedia prepayment, borrowers' enquiry and payment and bookdrop services.
JRL offers a full-fledged reference service with an in-depth reference collection. Reference services such as microfilm, reprographic, document delivery, inter-library loan, reservation of repository used reference are available to users.
JRL has a children's advisory and information service that offers advice to parents, educators and caregivers on the selection of suitable materials for children. The advisory service operates on Mon-Fri: 2-5 pm, 6-8 pm and Sat-Sun: 2-7 pm. There is also a special children's resource centre catering to children's school project needs.
With the closure of National Reference Library (NRL) at Stamford Road in March 2004, the bulk of its reference collection was moved to JRL for a temporary duration prior to the opening of the new National Library in 2005.
JRL provides multi-operator roaming wireless broadband access to users, in a service provided by PC Connect Pte. Ltd., to cater to their internet surfing needs. Laptop users can access the internet in all areas of the library using their own respective internet accounts.
Address: 21 Jurong East Central 1, Singapore 609732
Operating hours: Monday- Sunday: 12 pm - 9 pm; closed on public holidays; closed at 5:00 pm on the eve of New Year, Chinese New Year and Christmas.
Chow, C. (2004, May 29). By hook or by book. The Straits Times.
Jurong library boasts an atrium . (1988, August 3). The Straits Times.
Jurong Regional Library Fact Sheet [Brochure]. (2004, March 14). National Library Board.
Jurong Regional Library Community Profile [Brochure]. (2004, March 15). National Library Board.
Jurong Regional Library FAQ [Brochure]. (2004, May 27). National Library Board.
National Library Board opens third and largest regional library in Jurong . (2004, June 4). National Library Board Press Release.
Speech by Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Acting Minister for Education, at the opening of Jurong Regional Library. (2004, June 4). Retrieved on 10 June, 2004, from app.sprinter.gov.sg/data/pr/2004060499.htm
The information in this article is valid as at 2004 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.