Goodbye, Marine Parade Library

As you may know, Marine Parade Library is closing from May 9 for a major revamp.

Having grown up with this library, I found this piece of news rather bittersweet. I know we have to accept changes to usher in new things - but aw, let a sentimental girl weep for a little...

My current book count on Goodreads is 1336, and I daresay 90% of the books I read are from the library or their e-book service, Libby! Furthermore, I only joined Goodreads in 2009, so whatever I read before is mostly not logged.

Yeah, that's a lot of books and time spent hanging round in MP NLB. 😂

So when I went to return my books there for the last time, I knew I had to take some photos to document how my library looked like before it went through the big renovation!

The familiar entrance to the library. Every user enjoys the initial rush of air-con when the glass doors slide open. Welcome to the library!

You are greeted with some booths and stands, but I usually make a beeline for the Book Drop because I usually lug about 10 books in my tote bag. After dropping my books, I'd browse the recommended titles on the adjacent shelves.

The staff usually have a theme and recommend books accordingly. It's Ramadan month now so we have books related to that! Previously, there were themes like Mystery/Detective, Environment etc. 

You can spot the borrowing station in the background. When I was a little kid, I remember using my whole family's library cards to borrow books because we only had a limit of 4 books per person. That's too little for a bookworm like me. I remember feeling blessed when the loans went up to 8, and then 16.

At some point over the years the borrowing station also became very sophisticated and you could just put a stack of books and the machine would scan all of them at once! Nifty. They probably need to do that at the supermarkets now! 

Nowadays I sit on one of the chairs in the 3rd floor (Adult Lending) and scan my books using the NLB app. 

Here's the Adult Fiction area!

I can smell this picture! Lol. MP Library isn't very musty - but it still has a distinct book smell! Some libraries, especially the newer ones, tend to smell more like plastic.

I frequent the library so much that it got to a point where I could point out a book or two that I have read before from every shelf. Also - I also had the pleasure of borrowing brand new books - spines unbroken and mostly pristine! 

Then I drop off or pick up some books in the donation shelf! 

The second floor is actually the M floor.

When I was a child I completely ignored every floor other than the Children's floor. Plus, I didn't know what M stood for back then - modern? Mature?  (It's Mezzanine)

I borrowed quite a few comics from here, especially in my teen years where I really liked Wolverine and the X-Men.

This is probably where I got my first taste of Dystopian fiction and Sci-Fi! I probably borrowed Tamora Pierce from here.

The view of the concourse/ex-cafe space from the M floor. 

Sometimes there are exhibitions here! I've enjoyed a stamp collection exhibition, and an art exhibition by students from the neighbouring primary school (Tao Nan). 

I don't really go to the cafe but I know many students hung out here! It was still sad when it closed.

Off to the next floor!

Level '2' is the Children's section. This is the part of the library where some noise is tolerated.

What you see when you push past the door! 

You'll often see a couple of kids or even their parents in these study spaces. It's actually very nice to see parents reading to kids especially with the proliferation of iPads.

Kids section that I ironically spent more time in as an adult because I was trying to borrow suitable titles for my younger students. I once spotted a book called 'Quantum Physics for Babies' here. I also found a cute picture book called 'No Kimchi For Me!' which I totally related to - it was about a cat who hated kimchi in anything but kimchi pancake that her cat grandmother makes. 

Something I love about my library - the full length ceiling to floor glass windows! Enjoy the beautiful view of the outside world! (Mostly traffic XD) The view from the 3rd floor is also excellent - super poetic and romantic on a rainy day (provided you do not freeze your butt off).

From outside, the glass exterior also makes this library super sleek and modern. It looks warm and cosy at night, especially after it rains - the street lights makes the whole scene glowy. For a long time however, this was partially obscured by the construction/sound barriers erected for the upcoming Thomson East Coast Line (TEL). 

Let's head to the top and final floor!

This level is definitely much more quiet.

The stairs we climb! Most people just take the lift up. These stairs are actually quite noisy to walk in due to the metal edges, but I'm glad my library isn't so oppressively quiet - that would be uncomfortable and stressful!

The Adult Lending section is where I hang out nowadays. 

It's where I borrow my Singapore collection books and where I started to read non-fiction and self help. It's also where I borrow my occasional Chinese novel or comic. The computer station here is also much less grimy than the one on the first floor if you want to search for a specific title.

I also borrow titles from the Singapore collection, borrow language books, art books and huge tomes like the HDB Homes of Singapore. This is usually my last stop when I go for my library run, and I usually sit on one of these black cubes to scan all my books before heading out. 

Some other things I love about the library too are the clean toilets and water coolers (back before Covid). 

It's time for me to leave... one last look! When the MPCC was first unveiled, people loved or hated this swirl design. Today, you can see that the facade is pretty much worn out and not as spiffy as before. Also, the roof is full of visible brown gunk. 

Was I teary-eyed? You bet I was!

I believe the whole of MPCC is going under renovation, so it's goodbye to the basketball court too. I have so many memories here ðŸ˜¢ðŸ˜¢ 

I didn't take photos of the 24hr book drop area because that area is mostly used by the vaccination centre now. However, did you know that NLB has an office at B1? I only know this because I once had an interview there. I was surprised because I never knew about the space. 

Ending notes

Marine Parade Library is slated to re-open in 2025, so we'll be back then to check out the new changes!

Meanwhile, there will be a 24hr book dispenser at the Marine Parade NTUC and a Reading Corner at Marine Terrace. There will also be mobile library buses called Molly buses.

While these can never replace the library, I'll still check them out all the same because they sound interesting. I foresee myself using Libby more often though. 

Thanks for the memories. (Or should I say,Thnks fr the Mmrs)
MP NLB, you are loved and will be so fondly missed!

With lots and lots of love,

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Update 2023:


  1. WOW.
    1) I did not know MP library was closing for revamp 9 May -- I have memories of cramming for A'level exams in the cafe T_T
    2) Your book count of 1,336 is amazing!! i wish i had half your count hahaha
    Thank you for capturing MP library in its last days, I'm glad it now has a permanent space on the internet. Will miss it, though probably not as much as you! ◡̈

    1. Hello! 1) It's nice how we all have different memories of the same place! What is a place without the people? x)
      2) I'm an unabashed bookworm.. 🤓 An author on Goodreads has read 4000+ books 👀
      3) Thank you for your kind words! I love to document things for posterity hehe and it's really nice to know someone appreciates it!