[Media Invite] library@orchard Prototype Exhibition

20 December 2012

The library@orchard was the first library I was super excited to go to. Compared to the huge four-storey-tall regional library at Woodlands, this one had a lesser selection of books and was tiny; however, going there was an adventure, purely because it had the best YA book selection among all the libraries.

Plus, it was located in Orchard in Ngee Ann City, which means that
1) everything felt so posh,
2) the largest Kinokuniya store was just a floor away, and
3) a shopping trip is practically guaranteed since we're at Orchard Road.

Apparently, it's been five years since library@orchard closed down. Man, time sure flies, because it's been announced that they're reopening library @orchard! A few of us lucky bloggers were invited to view a prototype of the various library highlights.

NLB would love to know what you think about it. Love it? Not particularly enthused about some of the features? Just leave a comment on their blog! In fact, anyone can head on down to Central Public Library and experience it for themselves.

"What about us people who are currently holidaying overseas/rereading the Harry Potter series for the umpteenth time/unable to make it down to the exhibit," you say?

Well, that's where I come in!

Here's your first look at what library@orchard is going to have. Because oh my, the facilities are pretty freaking fantastic. And I'm going to show you some photos and explain what's what in a sec, but I gotta say this first:

One of the cocoons is mine.

Now that I've staked a claim (what do you mean, it's not even built yet?), let's have a walkthrough.

The new library@orchard will occupy the third and fourth floors at the new Orchard Gateway shopping mall. The demographic isn't an age, but instead a lifestyle: library@orchard is for young adults who have just begun their working life. These technology inclined youths who have roamed Orchard Road since their teenage years will have a refuge from shopping, from work. Basically, it's a free space for them to sit down, relax and enjoy the facilities which includes free use of the iPads, the cocoons (which I'm super excited about, can you tell?) and various other features.

Coming into the library, we're greeted by the Trend Gallery.

The Trend Gallery provides for multi-media sensorial experiences and hands-on explorations of topical themes.

It has a design skew, and on one wall there are taglines to for the library patrons to be inspired by the themes being showcased, and create and share their designs. One of the ways this will be done is through 3D printers.

3D printers. That crazy expensive technology that's not even available to the public right now. It's brave of NLB to allow the public to use this. You know I'm so going to create Pokémon figurines.

Then comes the Memory Bank:

A showcase of stories and achievements from the past, and a repository for present and future narratives.  Patrons will see a curated collection of home grown stories and achievements ranging from Singaporean Olympians to successful local business start-ups.
As with the Trend Gallery, the showcases will be rotated periodically. This is starting to feel more like a museum; it's similar to the library displays, just with a dedicated space assigned to it. For the showcase, it'll be skewed more towards local stories of success, such as Charles and Keith, Ashley Isham etc.

So cute.

An example of the Charles and Keith showcase.

Onto my favourite parts!

The Book Tree and Cocoon.

The Cocoon!

The Cocoon is the reader's hideaway. It shuts out the rest of the world, allowing the reader to escape into the world offered by his book or other media of choice. It is a portal that catapults the reader from the dimension of reality into his imagination.

You know the pods in the libraries? Those small soundproof rooms, sometimes with a computer, where patrons can chillax? They're mostly used by students trying to study. In the case of the cocoon, there's no studying allowed. It's a place for you to chill, watch movies, listen to music, dim the lighting.

Just don't do any hanky-panky, and I think we're fine. One concern of mine is that users will definitely not want to leave the cocoon soon. I hope the library has ways to manage this, especially if there's a power point there: extra incentive for me to sit and charge my iPad!

The Book Tree...

...is a series of shelves accommodating physical and digital content. It acts as a repository for user-recommended books and other interactions. Other aspects of the Tree: The Book Spinner (a fun jackpot of random recommendations, based on patrons' reading preferences); The QR Bookshelf (a selection of e-books that patrons may access through QR and download into their own devices); the 10-Minute Station (a digital portal of the library's e-resources).

Cute, huh? I don't trust my clumsy self around those protruding branches. *glares*

Book Tree.
The 10-minute station is one that I'm intrigued by. Basically it recommends music, movies, books--and lets you experience your choice of media within the allocated time you've stated you have. I'm not sure how this will work for movies and music; will there be a jack for users to plug their earpieces in, or will it be provided?

10-Minute Station.

A graphical representation of the two floors of library.

Photos explaining the various highlights, plus graphical representations! I've upped the contrast, so hopefully the text within is legible! Click on the photos to embiggen 'em.

The Sanctuary! Sarah thinks it'd be perfect for a reenactment of Beauty and the Beast. The furniture is also specifically designed such that the reader is blocked from distractions around him, thus providing a 'private' nook of sorts.

So much potential with the chairs; I'm going to take a spin and pretend I'm Captain Kirk. :D

The Arena... talk about a space made for Hunger Games events!

Blurry shots of models of the two library levels.

So what'd you think? Please keep in mind that these are all prototypes subject to a lot of changes, and that those changes will be decided upon by you. (Hence the feedback!) I'm excited to see the new library@orchard in its entirety, and I can't wait to experience some of the highlights. 2014, come fast!

*Quotes come from the NLB library@orchard handouts.

2 comment(s):

  1. Hi Liyana! Thanks for the fast blog post and the kind comments and the awesome photos and all the observations/feedback you've raised. AND the shout-out for feedback.

    It was great seeing you last night! Thanks muchies for the support *big grin*

  2. Omg too cool. Best part for me would be the cocoon too. Can't wait till it officially opens!


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