Animated poetry, interactive stories and toys – reading and learning are accessible and fun, especially for young children, at the new Punggol Regional Library.
Located within One Punggol, the library opened its first two floors to the public on 30 January 2023, Monday. With dedicated offerings for children on both levels, 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. All five floors of the library are expected to open a few months later.
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. This includes an Accessible Collection with books for the disability community and their caregivers as well as Calm Pods that provide a quiet and safe space for persons with disabilities when they need it. These features have been developed with input from the community, and will continue to be fine-tuned over time with further feedback.
Punggol Regional Library will also have a team of more than 200 volunteers, who have been trained for roles such as helping patrons check out the new features of the library, guiding them on how to borrow books, and supporting programmes for children. Those who are interested to volunteer at the library may e-mail their enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new library is the next step in NLB’s LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025) journey of constant innovation and experimentation to reimagine its libraries and archives with partners and the community.
NLB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ng Cher Pong, said: “Punggol Regional Library will bring to life NLB’s LAB25, when it opens fully in a few months’ time. We have developed the first two floors especially for our young patrons to immerse themselves in a Learning Marketplace that is interactive and fun. As part of LAB25, we also play an Equaliser role, and have designed the library so that learning opportunities are easily accessible to everyone, including persons with disabilities. Punggol Regional Library will add to Singapore’s lifelong learning ecosystem by transcending societal gaps to make learning and discovery available to all.”
Levels 3 to 5 will offer spaces, collections, programmes, and activities for teenagers and adults that cover areas such as business, technology, and local literature.
21st century skills for children
The library’s first two floors, which will open daily from 12pm to 9pm, 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. For instance, the World and Us Zone features reading materials from around the world – including books donated by foreign embassies – on themes such as geography, culture, and migration.
Other features that children can enjoy are:
- Spark!Lab™, a DIY tinkering space set up in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution for children (aged 7 to 12 years) to participate in hands-on activities and create innovative solutions to different challenges
- TinkerTots where children (aged 6 years and below) can play with educational toys and learn about the world through simple tinkering activities
- Toy Library that offers regular toys, educational aids, puppets and costumes for children (aged 6 years and below) to play with
- Storyteller Cove, a space with animations, illustrations, and activity stations including for prop-making, to inspire children (aged 7 to 12 years) to create their own stories
- Stories Come Alive Room which uses moving images and text, and light and sound effects to make storytelling an immersive and interactive experience
Co-creating with the disability community
On top of the Accessible Collection and Calm Pods, other accessible features available in Punggol Regional Library include:
- Assistive technology devices such as coloured keyboards with larger keys to aid persons with visual impairment
- Wheelchair-accessible book borrowing stations, and the new Borrow-n-Go, where wheelchair users can borrow books more easily by simply going through the dedicated passageway
- The Accessible icon will be marked on selected facilities and spaces to indicate that persons with disabilities will have priority to use them
NLB has also launched the Accessible Membership which provides an expanded scope of library services across all its libraries for persons with disabilities, on top of basic library membership privileges. These services include a longer borrowing period (from 21 days to 42 days) and free reservation of items (which costs $1.57 per item).
The accessible features are a result of feedback received from NLB’s engagement with over 500 persons with disabilities and their caregivers since 2018 to explore how libraries can better serve their needs. NLB has also continuously consulted its Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, which was set up in 2019, to support efforts to increase the accessibility of public libraries for the disability community.
Please refer to the Annex for more details on the library’s key features on Levels 1 and 2, further information on the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, and directions to the library.
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 29 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, and NLB’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube channels.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Quah Jia LingHoe I Yune
Weber ShandwickWeber Shandwick
Tel: +65 9699 0830Tel: +65 9324 2061
Email: JQuah@webershandwick.comEmail: IHoe@webershandwick.com
INFORMATION ON FEATURES OF PUNGGOL REGIONAL LIBRARY’S LEVELS 1 AND 2
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 – 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.
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:
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 Áron Mirtse, A Thousand Wonders: A Journey to Discover Italy by Geronimo Stilton, The Inca Empire by Sarah Newman, and Florence: A Painted Dream by Michèle 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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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, please visit: https://go.gov.sg/nlbaccinfo.
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.
ABOUT NLB’S PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ADVISORY COMMITTEE
NLB’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee was set up in 2019 to:
- Provide insights on the latest trends and development among the disability community, both in Singapore and internationally
- Connect NLB to experts in the respective disability fields who can provide feedback on initiatives and spaces for Punggol Regional Library
- Support NLB in building internal capabilities and in establishing external partnerships to deliver inclusive programmes for Punggol Regional Library
The Committee comprises eight members from various organisations who have experience working with the disability community.
Mr Michael Koh (Chairperson)
Centre for Liveable Cities
Mr Koh has more than 30 years of experience in the public service at the Urban Redevelopment Authority and as CEO of the National Heritage Board and the National Art Gallery. He has also served as a board member of the National Library Board, Land Transport Authority and Singapore Tourism Board.
Assoc Prof Dr Lourdes Mary Daniel
Head of Department and Senior Consultant
Department of Child Development
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
A/Prof Dr Mary Daniel is a Paediatrician and Head of Department of Child Development at KKH. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and Adjunct Associate Professor at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine and Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS.
Assoc Prof Dr Wong Meng Ee
Psychology and Child & Human Development
Nanyang Technological University-National Institute of Education (NTU-NIE)
A/Prof Dr Wong teaches courses in NTU-NIE’s Master of Education programme and Diploma in Special Education programme. He has conducted research in areas such the use of assistive technology for special needs students, and transition and support for students with visual impairment.
Mr J R Karthikeyan
Chief Executive Officer
Mr Karthik is a trained Occupational Therapist. He was a member of the Enabling Masterplan 2030 steering committee and was involved in various workings committees in the National Council of Social Service, Ministry of Social and Family Development, and the Agency for Integrated Care. AWWA piloted Kindle Garden, the first inclusive preschool.
Ms Judy Wee
Ms Wee, has a Master’s degree in Accessibility and Inclusive Design, and has been involved in the development of the Building and Construction Authority’s Code on Accessibility in the Built Environment. She is also Executive Director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore).
Mr Phua Hong Wei
WOHA Architects Pte Ltd
Mr Phua was part of the Architectural team behind the Enabling Village, an accessible community space combining retail, lifestyle and training catering to persons with disabilities.
Ms Chia Ai Ling
Communications and Community Engagement
Ms Chia oversees Communications and Community Engagement in SG Enable, the focal agency for disability and inclusion in Singapore. Together with her team, they advocate for disability inclusion in the community through public education, development of disability-friendly products and services, and strategic partnerships.
Mr Bernard Chew
Chief Executive Officer
St Andrew’s Autism Centre
Mr Chew is a father of a young adult with autism. He was formerly director of the Special Education Branch, Special Educational Needs Division, at the Ministry of Education.
DIRECTIONS TO PUNGGOL REGIONAL LIBRARY
Punggol Regional Library is located within One Punggol, with entrances on Levels 1 and 2. It opens daily from 12pm to 9pm. The Level 1 entrance is next to Lift Lobby B of One Punggol and the Level 2 entrance is across from the hawker centre.
1 Punggol Drive
One Punggol, #01-12
By public transport
Nearest MRT and Bus Interchange: Punggol
Nearest LRT: Sam Kee
Buses: 84, 382, 382W, 382G
One Punggol is a 5-minute walk away from Exit A of Punggol MRT station via the sheltered walkway along Punggol Green.
By private transport
Parking is available at One Punggol
For persons with disabilities
Persons with disabilities may visit the Accessibility Information webpage to get an overview of the services and offerings at Punggol Regional Library, including wheelchair-friendly routes and social stories.
Floor plan of Levels 1 and 2