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Bedok Public Library
Photograph: National Library Board

The best libraries in Singapore for kids

With brilliant books and playful designs, these libraries will turn every kid into a reader

By Cam Khalid
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If your pint-sized bibliophiles would rather get their noses stuck in the pages of a picture book, take your little bookworms out for a day at the library. Most public libraries in Singapore come complete with a dedicated children's section filled with books, and interactive features for the curious tots, tykes, and tweens.

However, due to safety guidelines, libraries are following the 'borrow and go' model where you can borrow and return physical library books and materials, and use the reservation and book drop services, but are permitted from using the seating and study areas, as well as the multimedia stations. All physical programmes including storytelling sessions are also temporarily suspended.

During this period, all libraries are operating at shorter hours from 11am to 7pm, and are capped at a maximum of 50 visitors per floor. Timed entry is also implemented where each patron's visit is limited to 30 minutes. If you don't want to queue upon arrival, you can check the NLB mobile app or website for the real-time crowd capacity in the libraries and archives, and make an online booking for your preferred entry slot to the library. Plus, the NLB mobile app also allows you to browse 800,000 eBooks and audiobooks, cosy up for digital storytelling sessions, and more from the comfort of your home.

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Bukit Panjang Public Library
Photograph: National Library Board

Bukit Panjang Public Library

Things to do Choa Chu Kang

Inspired by the transformation of Bukit Panjang's public transport access including a direct connection to the Downtown Line, the refurbished public library guides visitors to the different sections with coloured ribbons decorated on the floor. The main star is none other than the colourful Children's Zone. It's decked with an interactive storytelling room, a conveyor-belt return system with a mountain-decorated staircase for the mini bookworms to drop their borrowed books, and brightly hued shelves arranged into cosy nooks for a snugly read.

Bedok Public Library
Photograph: National Library Board

Bedok Public Library

Things to do Bedok

Nestled nicely within its new home at Heartbeat@Bedok, the honeycombed-like library is decked with landscape elements inspired by nature, which makes it a lush escape from reality, especially with a good book. The garden-themed Early Literacy Area will delight the little ones with its giant watering pot, snail-shaped bookshelves, and TumbleBook stations where they can interact with eBooks filled with animated illustrations. The books are also categorised based on five early literacy skills so that parents can select the most suitable ones for their tots.

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Central Public Library - My Tree House
Photograph: National Library Board

Central Public Library

Things to do Literary events Rochor

Home to the world's first green library for children, My Tree House boasts a large collection of books for young readers. As it says on the tin, the space is also decked with a treehouse where kids can climb, find a spot, and cosy up with a book. With over 45,000 children's books, interactive e-reading kiosks, storytelling sessions, your little bookworm will be spoilt for choice.

Library@Harbourfront
Photograph: National Library Board

Library@Harbourfront

Things to do Harbourfront

With huge windows that overlook Sentosa, the spectacular waterfront views at the reading lounge in Library@Harbourfront would make anyone feel like they're reading by the beach. It's dedicated Children's Zone offers a multitude of colourful hardcovers and digital books. Let the junior readers turn on their lightbulbs with fun activities at the TumbleBook stations or the Stories Come Alive room. Otherwise, they can get their little hands on DIY learning materials, crafts and puzzles at the Tinker Truck.

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Tampines Regional Library
Photograph: Public Libraries Singapore/Facebook

Tampines Regional Library

Things to do Tampines

After its relocation, the library re-opened at Our Tampines Hub in 2017. Its brand new digs boast an extensive collection of reading, visual and audio materials for users of all ages including the kiddos. The children's collection spreads across two floors with all sorts of colourful hardcovers filling the low-level shelves. There are also plenty of cosy corners for the kids to get stuck in the pages. Let imaginations soar further at the indoor playground designed for tiny tots, tykes, and even tweens.

Woodlands Regional Library
Photograph: National Library Board

Woodlands Regional Library

Things to do Woodlands

The first and still the largest regional library, the Woodlands Regional Library is located within a stone’s throw away from Woodlands MRT Station. The interactive library is nature-themed and has a special focus on children with its own features-galore Reading Park. Broaden the kids' minds with the Asian Children's Literature Collection which includes children's literature and rare titles from all around Asia, with some published as early as the 1900s.

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National Library Board
Photograph: National Library Board

Marine Parade Library

Things to do Literary events Marine Parade

The first library to be built on reclaimed land, the book repository is the only one in the city with a mezzanine level. Here you can shelves of Young People titles and graphic novels, as well as cosy seating to snuggle in with a book. Children are free to read, learn and roam at its dedicated kids' section on the second level. Its Programme Zone also hosts exciting programmes including storytelling sessions for families.

Library@Orchard
Photograph: Shutterstock

NLB Mobile App

News City Life

Not a physical library per se, NLB's Mobile App doubles as a virtual library where there are plenty of brilliant picture books and educational titles. NLB also recently introduced the new Kids! Skip the Line! collection of books, featuring specially selected copies of fictional titles. More popular books have been uploaded for children as part of the book collection, including popular series such as Geronimo Stilton, Captain Underpants, and Fancy Nancy. The collection is updated regularly so that it remains fresh for the lil' ones. To keep the 'em engaged, NLB is also offering weekly storytelling sessions in English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. The sessions are around five to 15 minutes long and are hosted by librarians, volunteers, and local authors via Facebook.

For the kids' bookshelves

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