Quiet, peaceful, and productive are three words that come to mind when one hears the word “library”.
However, that’s not the case for void deck libraries.
If you’ve never come across void deck libraries before, it’s a facility located at void decks, as the name implies, set up by residents within various communities around Singapore to encourage people to pick up the habit of reading and forge stronger ties with neighbours.
While the effort is commendable for the most part, a particular void deck library in the heart of Jurong West is closing down due to lack of maintenance.
Boon Lay Void Deck Library to Close, Recently Opened in April
A community library at the void deck of a Boon Lay Housing Board block will shut down at the end of October, just months after its opening in April.
The library is located at Blk 216A Boon Lay Avenue, though the founder said it is hidden, and folks must walk around the block to find it.
The founder, Hengster Kor, announced the closure of the library, which he initiated, on the Little Libraries Singapore Facebook group on Tuesday (17 October).
He cited complaints, the messiness of the area and a lack of community effort to maintain the library as reasons for its closure.
In his Facebook post, he wrote: “I am closing my community library for good. I have a lot of books to be shared with anyone who wants more books or wants to start a community library.”
He invited those interested in his library collection to send him a private message on Facebook as the rest of his book collection, along with the bookshelves, will be thrown away by the end of October.
Child Climbed on a Bookshelf
The founder also shared a video of a child climbing the library’s bookshelves and leaving the area disorganised.
The clip shows a pile of books lying on the ground when the child is left unattended.
He wrote, “When you have parents who allow their kids to do this, I think the effort to maintain the place is too much to handle.
“It’s supposed to be a community effort, but everyone is waiting for me to do the work,” he added.
It’s worth noting that managing such mischievous behavior is challenging without adult supervision, as one would find in a regular public library with several librarians.
Bookshelves Were Stolen in April
When the void deck library opened, the founder said it had taken him a few months to coordinate the library setup at 216A Boon Lay Avenue.
However, to his dismay, two bookshelves were stolen the day after its opening.
All the books there were also stolen a day after the shelves were taken, although they were eventually returned.
Members of the group were upset about the decision to close the library. One user suggested that the founder rent a space at a Community Centre instead of a void deck.
When a user commented on why the founder intends to close the place, he replied: “The complaints and the mess that the children make every day just don’t make sense to maintain the place.”
The Library Was Well-Maintained in June
Despite the lacklustre efforts that contributed to the closure of the void deck library in Boon Lay, the library was thriving in June, as mentioned by the founder in a Facebook post.
In the post, he shared that the library has grown from a tiny corner into a cosy library with shelves and various books of different genres.
An LED light was installed that is switched on 24 hours so that the area is always bright for reading.
A Facebook group member also expressed, “It started so well in April…all the way till June. Cest la vie.”