With plush toys lining the walls, costumes for kids to dress up in and puzzles mounted on the wall, you can tell straightaway that this is not an ordinary library space.
Instead, the Early Literacy Library, occupying a portion of the Jurong Regional Library’s basement, is dedicated to helping parents and pre-school educators nurture the love of reading in young children aged six and below.
Unveiled by the National Library Board on 10 April 2014, it is the first of its kind in Singapore. Its casual and inviting environment is filled with easily accessible bookcases, many of which put on display beautifully illustrated children’s book covers, inviting children and parents to experience the joy of reading together.
The Early Literacy Library has 60,000 books specially selected for younger children. The books are targeted at two age groups –under-three year olds and four to six year olds.
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Instead of being categorised by the Dewey Decimal Classification or author’s name, as is the typical fashion in the other libraries, books at the Early Literacy Library are grouped according to themes. The five themes are Sense & Sensation, Concepts, Languages, Poetry & Rhymes and Emergent Readers. This enables parents to quickly zoom in on an area of interest to find a book which they can enjoy with their child.
At the Early Literacy Library, the learning experience goes beyond books alone. Instead, it provides children, with the help of their parents, a rounded introduction to the world of literary delights.
At the Poetry & Rhymes section, other than books on nursery and alphabet rhymes, there are hand puppets available for parents to use to tell their kids stories. Children can even don costumes to bring their favourite tales to life.
Over at the Sense & Sensation section, together with touch & feel books and pop-up books, kids can also practise their motor skills by navigating a foot-maze or sort “letters” into a mailbox. At the Concepts section, little learning aids and puzzles on numbers, shapes and sizes complement the books and help parents bring across ideas to their children.
A Digital Storytelling Kiosk can also be found at the Early Literacy Library. At the kiosk, children can access over 100 picture books and games from the Tumblebook Library.
Of course, no children’s library is complete without cosy areas for parents and children to settle down in with a book.
Not sure what books to borrow? Children can pick up age-appropriate books that have been pre-selected and bagged by librarians. There is also a free reading guide with information for parents how to inculcate reading habits in their children.
Knowing that parents with toddlers and preschoolers often come with babies in tow, there is even a nursing room tucked away at the rear and pram-parking lots in front.
Alongside the new facilities, the National Library Board will also be conducting programmes designed to help children develop their love for reading. Parents can even attend workshops to pick up strategies on developing their children’s reading skills.
Speaking at the opening of the Early Literacy Library, Ms. Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Education, said, “Today is the very first day of the Early Literacy Library’s operations and I think, from the reaction of the children, this is going to be a very well-used and very well-loved part of the Jurong Regional Library.”
She went on to say, “It is my hope, and it is also the National Library Board’s hope, that spaces like this will encourage more children to start reading from a younger age…reading early helps our children prepare for learning and prepare for life.”
The Early Literacy Library is part of the National Library Board’s Early READ programme aimed at encouraging parents and educators to nurture a love for reading among children aged six and below.
Early Literacy Library
Basement of Jurong Regional Library
21 Jurong East Central 1
Mon to Sun: 10 am to 9 pm
How to get there:
Nearest MRT Station : Jurong East
Nearest Bus Interchange : Jurong East
Buses : SBS Transit 51, 52, 66, 78, 79, 97, 98, 105, 143, 160, 183, 197, 333, 334, 335, 506 (via Jurong East Bus Interchange)
SMRT 176, 178 (via Jurong Town Hall Road)
and SBS 198 (via Jurong Town Hall Road)