'Books for tots' at Jurong library

Parents with toddlers will receive more help at the Jurong Regional Library on the books they want to read to their children.

A new section has been set up, with books for children aged three and younger.

In this early literacy section, unveiled yesterday, the books are also organised differently. Instead of being arranged according to authors' names and subject topics, they now go according to themes, such as sense and sensation, concepts, languages, and poetry and rhyme.

Under the sense and sensation category for instance, parents will find books with interactive features such as pop-ups and textures.

The new approach was adopted after the National Library Board studied user habits, said senior librarian Lynn Chua, who helped pick the books for the section.

"We found that parents with toddlers don't choose books by topics, but by browsing the general collection," she said. "But as the kids get older, they start to pick out books on specific topics, such as plants."

It led the board to revamp the basement section of the library to create the early literacy section. The area was previously a children's library, with 60,000 books for children aged six and younger.

Yesterday, about 100 pre-schoolers were the first to tour the place. In a jiffy, they made themselves comfortable, sitting on couches and the floor, engrossed in the books they had picked.

Ms Rebecca Ng, a mother of three who frequents the library, welcomed the revamp, saying it makes browsing and choosing books for her older two girls, aged four and two, much easier.

"The books here are all suitable for my kids. In the past, these books were mixed with books for older children," said the Jurong resident.

Ms Ling Jia Yi, who teaches at a Jurong West kindergarten and often borrows books from the library for her pupils to read, agrees.

"Previously, I had to go online to search the catalogue for suitable books, and then look for them in the library," she said. "Now I can browse for them in one place."

Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information, toured the section with her two-year-old son: "As a mum, I love the new space. I brought my youngest kid and he feels very at ease in the environment."

The mother of three who officiated the opening added: "The Early Literacy Library is also designed with conducive spaces that promote parent-child bonding."


This article was published on April 11 in The Straits Times.

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