By Chris Keenan |
A project completed in conjunction with City Developments Limited and The National Library Board, “My Tree House” is a “green” children’s library in Singapore. It is the first of its kind, educating children on a number of environmental topics, including recycling and energy conservation. While there are thousands of books for children to look through, there are also interactive exhibits that kids can touch and learn from as they explore environmental themes.
The Construction Phase
Throughout the entire building process, “My Tree House” remained committed to its green ideals. Refurbished bookshelves were used in the space and energy-efficient LED bulbs were installed to provide lighting. Even the tree house theme was meant to keep young minds focused on the outdoors. The large tree built in the center of the library was constructed using thousands of recycled bottles and other environmentally friendly materials.
Naturally, “My Tree House” contains children’s books about the environment. With more than 40,000 written works contained within its walls, there is no shortage of reading material. More than 25 percent of the books center on a green theme, like recycling, water resources or nature. The rest are fiction and all tie into the enchanted forest theme. However, the library is more than just a collection of books.
A shadow play wall, called “The Knowledge Tree,” helps children find out more about the world around them through a hands-on learning experience. There is also a weather station, made to look like a tree stump, which encourages children to learn more about current temperatures, wind speed and rainfall in Singapore. Finally, eReading kiosks give little ones the opportunity to look through green e-books and even play games with environmental themes.
Library visitors will also have the opportunity to take part in programs about the environment. Crafts, games and storytelling are all planned, and some of My Tree House’s partners include the National Parks Board and the National Environment Agency. Plans are in the works to set up tours for school groups as well.
Awards and Honors
My Tree House is already receiving recognition, even though it just officially opened its doors. The BCA Green Mark Platinum Award, which is only bestowed upon the most eco-friendly buildings in Singapore, was given to the library. In addition, the children’s collection is housed within the National Library Building, which received both the Green Mark Platinum Award and first place in the ASEAN Energy Efficiency Awards.
People around the world are making an effort to live a greener life. From carpooling to using public transportation, there is a renewed focus on the environment. Singapore’s library is just one step toward making sure the younger generation appreciates nature and remains committed to taking care of the Earth.