So I have been to my local library (Tampines library) since I was a child, and recently they closed down to move to the Tampines hub. Me and my mother decided to check it out today which happened to be the official opening day for the Tampines hub.
When I stepped into the hub and throughout the entire journey, I was utterly disappointed with the entire trip.
I already saw preview photos of the library and was eager to check out what they had done with the place. Once we stepped into the Tampines hub, it was flooded with people (Okay, it was the opening day, we have to let that slide) but there were queues everywhere for things like free water? When we entered the library, it was bustling with noise (Mind you, its a library) and kids were running around in hectic circles. And to my horror, I heard that there was a playground (YES, IN THE LIBRARY, luckily it was enclosed) And for even more horror, they placed the teens section near the children section.
Apart from the failure of expectations and large amount of people. 90% of the people were extremely rude. Adults pushing their prams let theirs eyes wonder (WAY TOO MUCH) and I swear I almost got rammed into various times and yet these adults will blame you if the pram is hurt (Yes, I said pram, because if your eyes are wondering so much, you probably don’t care about your child’s safety in the pram). Adults letting their children run wild let animals in a jungle and if they hit us, they cry and it becomes our fault when we are just walking around minding out own business.
A shoutout to the people who bother avoiding others so that there is no clash!
Inside the library, it was way more spacious than the previous one, but the amount of people in there was no joke. And to be honest, I rather they have left the old library as it is. As the adult fiction and teens section were on two different levels, I followed my mum up to the adult fiction first. It was good that they brought in new books (I found Roar by Cora Carmack, The One by Jason Marrs and Gotham:Dawn of darkness by Jason Starr (My absolute favourite TV show)) But at the same time, the people browsing were really thoughtless. I was sandwiched by two women (Lets name them A (left) and B (right)) but I spotted an opening as they moved slightly so I went through the hole. Woman B suddenly fell and hit the bookshelf (I swear I didn’t touch her! If I had caused her to fall I would have apologised and helped her up) and then glared at me. I didn’t touch her and then I realised she was wearing one inch heels, but still, I didn’t cause her to fall, there was definitely still space when I went through that hole.
Even the elderly who are pushing their trolleys also just walked without a care in the world.
We all need to learn to be aware and be more thoughtful of others.
3) Giant shelves
Okay, so finally we headed over to the teens section, there were plenty of new books (I think, I couldn’t go through the entire section because of the quota problem- will be mentioned later) But who’s clever idea was it to put the books on such high shelves even though there are stepping stools?
Photo of the Teens fiction section by ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG (Do let me know if I can’t use this photo, I’ll take it down immediately)
Look at how high those shelves reach, okay maybe I’m just short at 5″1, and there are foot stools around this area, but isn’t this library a public library? Shouldn’t the designer have planned it more for accessibility rather than for the aesthetics? I have to crane my neck just to see if there’s a book I want up there.
4) Limited quota
Okay, so I had 10 books sitting at home with me due to the previous increase in the quota from 8 books to 16 books (x2) but now I have a passion card which enables 10 books to be borrowed (just recently got it) but as a book lover, I want to borrow as many books as I can. So imagine my horror when I realised that I had 10 books at home and that the quota for 16 books was removed already. The staff did little help but they also had to abide by the library rules. Then my mum mentioned that they should let us borrow it with a small fee and I totally agreed with her.
Singapore, even though a small country, our population is huge and out of that population I bet that less than 10% still read physical books since the age of technology has taken over. And if the national library is trying to encourage more people to read, then shouldn’t the quota be increased more regularly? I’m not asking for the abolishment of the quota, I’m requesting that we can borrow more than 10 books (maybe an extra 10 more) with an additional fee. Its pointless to sign up for a membership of $42 to ensure that 16 books can be borrowed EVERY TIME when there is a low probability that I would hit the 16 book mark every single time I visit the library.
So unfortunately I had to give up the Gotham: Dawn of the Darkness book and opt for the other 2 books and had to even use my mum’s library card to borrow them because I maxed out mine. Its like punishing a kid for doing a good deed, dumb and pointless. My mum couldn’t borrow many books herself because she also forgot my family member’s cards 😦 So imagine my pain when I had to leave a book behind, and it was a book on my absolute favourite TV series, Gotham, at that. T.T
5) Excessive food outlets
So when we reached the Tampines hub, we just dropped our old library books in the book drop before heading to grab lunch (the time was already 2 something) and we couldn’t find any seats at any affordable stores. We found a salad store (Yes, they only sell salad which doesn’t make you full unless there are carbs and the cheapest was $7, Don’t get me wrong, I literally LIVE to eat veggies but that was daylight robbery) so we decided on another pricey store and quickly ate our lunch. The amount of food outlets in this place is uncountable and they shouldn’t really be proud of it. It was advertised as a hub where people could gather to do things together, like visit the library, a swimming complex, activities, but then they decided to throw a whole bunch of food outlets here to let the hub make money which is more of an inconvenience than a help. I understand that the people here need to eat, and so does the patrons, but it was 2.30pm, WAY past lunchtime and we almost couldn’t find a seat.
Did you check out the new Tampines Hub? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments down below!