Long-time patrons of Jurong Regional Library lament ‘heartbreaking’ relocation plans

Long-time patrons of Jurong Regional Library lament 'heartbreaking' relocation plans

SINGAPORE: As a child, Anita Krishnamoorthy used to frequent Jurong Regional Library once a month, making the trip with her parents from their home in Bukit Timah.

The 46-year-old, who works in finance, continued the tradition with her five-year-old son to this day. “It’s become a part of my life,” she said after a visit to the library on Friday evening (Nov 4).

It was therefore “heartbreaking” for her to hear the news that the library could make way for redevelopment. 

Jurong Regional Library is set to be replaced by a residential development with shops at the first storey, based on a proposed amendment to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) master plan published last month.

If there is no public objection and proposed amendments are approved, they will be incorporated into the master plan, according to URA’s website.

“Singapore’s changing and I understand the need to develop, but certain things are important,” said Ms Krishnamoorthy. “Some history, some connections to life before in Singapore. I think it’s okay to have some space for that, and have some space for development as well.”

Although she and her family have never lived in the area, her parents would take her to Jurong Regional Library because it was bigger than the one near their home.

The library, which first opened in 1988 and was refurbished as a regional library in 2004, was at one time the largest in Singapore with a floor area of 12,020 sq m.

As a parent, Ms Krishnamoorthy continued to take her children to the library out of “habit” even though they do not live nearby, she said.

Another parent who has fond memories of the library from his childhood is engineer Choo Wei Qiang, 38.

“I still remember there were a lot of people, it was very crowded, because there were long queues of people borrowing books,” he said of his visits with his parents and brother in the 1990s.

That was when the borrowing process was still “quite manual” and involved a librarian opening and chopping the due date in each book, he recalled.

Now, Mr Choo takes his own children aged nine and six to the library every week after enrichment classes. Apart from reading books, they also enjoy events at the library such as a recent one on recycling, he said.