A culinary studio and a 705m-long running track may not be facilities you would associate with a library.
But that is exactly what the new-look Tampines Regional Library boasts. When it opens its doors at Our Tampines Hub on Saturday, visitors will also find an indoor playground and makers labs equipped with a green screen and 3D printers. The library is spread over five floors of the community hub, which also houses a mall.
The library, previously located in Tampines Avenue 7, was closed on June 4 to facilitate the move to the hub, about an eight-minute walk from the MRT station.
Floor space has been increased by more than 70 per cent and there are enough seats for 886 people.
The library, which will be run by staff and volunteers, will also showcase the heritage and community of Tampines in a gallery. Developed by the National Heritage Board (NHB), the gallery will feature a permanent and a temporary exhibition, along with an activity space.
Mr Alvin Tan, NHB's assistant chief executive (policy and community), said: "This co-location allows us to attract a different audience. People who may not usually be museum goers will be attracted... and this heavier footfall will allow us to reach a more diverse crowd."
Mr William Oh, 68, is one of those featured in the gallery.
The retiree, who has been living in Tampines for 30 years, said he is looking forward to being a regular user. "This new location will make it more convenient for me. It is near the mall and the MRT station."
Tampines Regional Library is the first of several public libraries to be relocated from a standalone location to a commercial space, said the National Library Board (NLB).
Bukit Merah Public Library will be moving to VivoCity next year, and Yishun Public Library will reopen at Northpoint City by the first quarter of 2018.
Thirteen of 26 NLB libraries are now located in malls and commercial spaces.
Ms Lynn Koh, senior manager of Tampines Regional Library, said she is expecting more visitors because of its location.
"Being in a mall, a popular place among Singaporeans, (the library) can attract more Singaporeans on their way home or back from work to visit," she said.
Mr Winfred Tan, 22, a university student who uses the library regularly, said: "The new library is actually a little more inconvenient for me because it is located further than the old one, but I will end up using it more because it is close to many other amenities."
The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.