Punggol Regional Library Opens With Special Features For Children And Persons With Disabilities



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Punggol Regional Library fully opens in Punggol, unveiling five floors of extensive and accessible features in one of the youngest housing estates in the country.

*Updated 5 Apr 2023

Venue: 1 Punggol Drive, One Punggol, Singapore 828629
Opening Hours: 12pm to 9pm, Daily except Public Holidays

Located within One Punggol, Punggol Regional Library has opened its doors to the public on 30 January 2023 with dedicated offerings for children on two levels, as well as new accessible features for persons with special needs. 

Minister for Communications and Information, Mrs Josephine Teo shared the the Punggol Regional Library is designed to be an "inclusive library with a rich
collection and services that are designed to be accessible to all". She further explained,¬†"...our public libraries are intended to serve all of us and not only some of us. Our public libraries provide opportunities for citizens from all walks of life, regardless of background, wealth or social standing and even physical conditions, to acquire knowledge and achieve self-improvement. In that sense, public libraries in Singapore can be an Equaliser, giving every citizen the avenues and pathways to uplift themselves.‚ÄĚ

With that in mind, here's taking a closer look at the special features that you and your little ones can look forward to at Punggol Regional Library:

Children's Features On Level 1 & 2

With dedicated offerings for children on Levels 1 and 2, the library will serve the needs of the community in Punggol, which has one of the highest proportions of children below five years old in its resident population. 

Levels 1 and 2 of the library will open daily from 12pm to 9pm, and have dedicated collections and spaces for children of all ages, where they will be able to broaden their learning about the world and develop 21st century skills.

Toy Library (Level 1)

The Toy Library, maintained by students from the MINDS Fernvale Gardens School, offers regular toys, educational aids, puppets and costumes to cater to different types of play ‚Äď creative, dramatic or sensory.

Target audience: Children aged 6 years and below

TinkerTots (Level 1)

TinkerTots is an accessible space where children can engage in meaningful play with educational toys to learn about the world through simple DIY tinkering activities under parental supervision. There will be monthly thematic building challenges as well as DIY library adventure sheets to help engage children in sensory activities with their parents and caregivers.

Target audience: Children aged 6 years and below

Stories Come Alive Room (Level 1)

The Stories Come Alive Room uses moving images and text, and light and sound effects to make storytelling an immersive and interactive experience for children aged 4 to 10 years.

  • Words That Move: Punggol Stories

All patrons can also enjoy Words That Move, a new showcase unique to Punggol Regional Library’s Stories Come Alive Room. It displays poems by Singapore writers that have been animated with movement, sounds and images. Patrons will be able to interact with poems in the four official languages as they are animated and projected onto the walls of the room. This offers a fun way to experience and appreciate Singapore Literature.

Punggol Stories is the first edition of Words That Move. It focuses on the experience of moving from kampongs to HDB estates. The following four poems will be featured:

  1. Punggol by Ronald JJ Wong
  2. ÁĽĄŚĪčśóŹ„Äč(The HDB Tribe)¬†by¬†śĘĀśĖáÁ¶Ź¬†(Liang Wern Fook)
  3. Kenangan Tinggal Di Rumah Deret (Memories of Living in a Row House) by Norisah A Bakar
  4. ŗģ®ŗģēŗģįŗĮćŗģĶŗģ≥ŗģģŗĮ欆(Urban Riches)¬†by¬†ŗģÖŗģģŗĮÄŗģįŗĮĀŗģ§ŗĮćŗģ§ŗĮÄŗģ©ŗĮ欆(Amiroudine)¬†

The poems will be accompanied by English translations and audio options for greater accessibility.

Words That Move: Punggol Stories is part of the larger Punggol Stories trail in the library, which captures the history of Punggol. Patrons will get to experience the trail when the library opens fully to the public.

Target audience: All age groups

World and Us Zone (Level 2)

The World and Us Zone is a special collection that features stories from around the world and reading materials on themes such as geography, cultures and migration. Children can learn more about world cultures and contemporary concepts relevant to an increasingly digital world in the 21st century, such as cyber etiquette, globalisation, and migration.

The collection includes books contributed by the international Embassies and High Commissions in Singapore. NLB, through its Book Exchange programme, has also collaborated with international libraries, where NLB and the participating library exchange books for their respective collections.

Some of the books in the World and Us Collection include¬†Natural Wonders of Hungary¬†by AŐĀron Mirtse,¬†A Thousand Wonders: A Journey to Discover Italy¬†by Geronimo Stilton,¬†The Inca Empire¬†by Sarah Newman, and¬†Florence: A Painted Dream¬†by Mich√®le Fantoli.

Target audience: Children aged 4-12 years

Storyteller Cove (Level 2)

The Storyteller Cove features interactive experiences for children to learn and appreciate the history, cultures and customs of different countries through stories. Children can discover more about the writing process, appreciate the visual aspects of stories, and be inspired to create their own stories. This is done through a blend of physical and digital platforms, such as decorated physical structures and animations, DIY activity kits and tactile stations that include story prompts, guided story crafting, prop-making, as well as illustrations from children’s picture books on digital displays.

Target audience: Children aged 7-12 years

Spark!Lab (Level 2)

Spark!Lab is a tinkering space that NLB has set up in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution from the United States of America.  Children can participate in hands-on activities independently and create innovative solutions to different challenges, such as creating an item that flies through a wind tunnel and creating a structure to balance on a teetering surface. Children are free to try them out at their own pace, guided by questions for each activity. On top of encouraging children to creatively develop solutions, the activities also encourage family bonding as parents and children can participate in the challenges together.

Target audience: Children aged 7-12 years

Spaces for the Public

Study Zone and Teenspace  (Level 3)

Teenagers can look forward to a Study Zone and a Teenspace, which will host hands-on workshops and talks based on trending topics for teens to spark their interest in reading.

ExperienceIT and MakeIT (Level 4)

Adults, including seniors, can pick up new tech skills and knowledge at ExperienceIT, which is an immersive and interactive showcase of emerging technologies and innovations on Level 4. Patrons can learn about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning through NLB’s collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Seniors and adults can also learn about and try fabrication technologies at MakeIT. ExperienceIT and MakeIT are on Level 4.

Launch and Co-Working Space (Level 4)

Entrepreneurs, aspiring business owners and freelancers can benefit from Launch, a business resource centre on Level 4 that will have masterclasses by industry experts, upskilling workshops, networking sessions, and pitch nights. There is also a Co-working Zone with working pods, meeting pods and reservable seats to provide a conducive working space for professionals and business owners.

History of Punggol 

Punggol residents can discover stories about Punggol, with the area’s history dating back 200 years. The Lens of Literature on Level 3 is a new multimedia interactive showcase of curated poems, novels and short story excerpts about Punggol by Singapore writers. There is also the Punggol Stories exhibition at Singaporium at Level 4, which presents selected stories, with some contributed by the community, and histories of Punggol.

Accessible Features For Persons With Disabilities

As part of its ongoing efforts to make its libraries and archives accessible for everyone, the National Library Board (NLB) is also introducing a range of new accessible features in the library to cater to persons with disabilities. 

Accessible Collection (Level 1)

The Accessible Collection features 3,000 English books for children and adults with disabilities, their caregivers and their communities. The topics selected were based on feedback from users in the disability community. These include Braille books with text for those with visual impairment, social stories that help persons with disabilities learn what to expect and how to react in specific situations or settings, phonics readers to help patrons with language difficulties, and touch and feel books for people to learn through the sense of touch. There are also books for caregivers who want to learn about specific disabilities.

This will be complemented by NLB’s digital collection of eBooks, audio books and databases, enhanced with accessible reader technology for persons with visual impairment.

Calm Pods (Levels 1 & 2)

The Calm Pod is a quiet and safe space for adults and children with disabilities to go to when they need a private and calming sensorial experience. It comprises two spaces: a waiting area equipped with sensory aids and a beanbag, and a more private space with padded walls and flooring. 

Patrons can communicate with staff via the intercom to gain access to the Calm Pods.

Wheelchair-Accessible Book Borrowing Stations (Levels 1 & 2)

The Book Borrowing Stations are equipped with wheelchair-accessible tables, as well as increased font size and colour contrast on the interface to increase accessibility for wheelchair users and persons with partial vision loss, including seniors.

Borrow-N-Go (Level 1)

Leveraging Ultra-High Frequency Radio Identification technology, Borrow-n-Go allows wheelchair users to borrow books easily by going through this passageway with the books.

Assistive Technology (Levels 1 to 4)

Catalogue stations in the library come equipped with assistive technology devices (e.g. joy sticks, trackballs, large key keyboards and high contrast keyboards) that help persons with disabilities perform functions that might otherwise be challenging.

The large keys on the coloured keyboards help to increase the visibility of the keys and help persons with physical disabilities type more easily. Likewise, the high contrast keyboards come equipped with large print letters, numbers and symbols to increase the visibility of the keys, and enable easier typing for persons with visual impairment. Mouse alternatives such as trackballs and joysticks can be used by patrons with physical disabilities to navigate the screens. Trackballs allow patrons to more easily move the ball to direct the cursor, while joysticks allow for precise selection of items on the screen.

Accessible Programmes

Various accessibility tools and services for persons with disabilities are available at the Accessible Programmes in the library. This includes reader-friendly documents on the screens for persons with visual impairment and live captioning for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. There will also be support for persons with autism and intellectual disabilities such as the provision of social stories, visual schedule boards, and a sensory hands-on approach for the library’s Children and Teens programmes. Sessions will also be conducted in programme rooms where there is a clear floor space for easier manoeuvring of wheelchairs, and height-adjustable tables.

These Accessible Programmes will be conducted by librarians, speakers and vendors who are trained to conduct programmes for persons with disabilities.

These programmes cover topics that were found to be popular among our patrons during our pilot runs of Accessible Programmes at other public libraries. The topics include art and science for children and teenagers, and career and health for adults.

Priority Access For Patrons With Accessible Membership

The Accessible Membership provides an expanded scope of library services across all libraries for persons with disabilities, on top of basic library membership privileges. This comprises:

  • Doubling of loan and renewal periods from 21 days (3 weeks) to 42 days (6 weeks). This will give persons with disabilities a longer time to read the borrowed materials and to return them; and
  • Free use of reservation locker service, i.e. waiver of $1.57 reservation fee per item. As reserved books are collected from the shelves and placed within the reservation lockers by library staff, this will increase the convenience of borrowing books for persons with disabilities, especially for persons who are less able to travel to other libraries.

When the Punggol Regional Library fully opens, Accessible members will be able to scan their membership card to get priority access to the Calm Pods and use the eConcierge service, where they can get assistance from NLB staff via video call at catalogue stations.

To sign up for the Membership, individuals must be an existing library member and a beneficiary of an eligible disability scheme or service funded by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, or who had attended or is currently attending a Government-funded Special Education school.

For more information, you may visit this link.

Café

Photo Credits: The National Library Board

Artease (Level 2)

Artease is a café located on Level 2, offering mains, snacks, desserts, and beverages. Artease has employed persons with disabilities as full-time staff or on internships at its other branches since 2018, and will continue to do so at this branch.



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This article is prepared by

Leona Quek
Blessed with 3 handsome and loving boys in her life. Two of them call her Mommy, the other calls her Wifey. Every night, she wishes for an early bedtime, but misses her babies as soon as they sleep.

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