â€śMy Tree House,â€ť the worldâ€™s very first green library for kids, recently opened its doors to library visitors young and old alike! This utterly unique library located at the Central Public Library in Bras Basah is a joint effort of the National Library Board (NLB) and City Developments Limited (CDL) and an amazing new space that encourages little ones to explore and discover environmental issues while feeding their curiosity with books and outstanding visual displays. While we've seen eco-friendly libraries here in the United States, they're nothing compared to this library which is kid-specific, and the very first to incorporate multiple green principles including eco-design, sustainable book collections and green programming. Keep reading to learn more about this magnificent library experience.
â€śMy Tree Houseâ€ť is the first library in the world to use principles of green design in almost every area. Â To create this eco-experience, green building materials were used extensively, including energy-efficient LED lighting, refurbished bookshelves and carpets with green properties. More information about these green design features are posted below:
- Energy-efficient LED lighting from Phillips was zoned by different usage according to function and needs to achieve better efficiency and deliversÂ less overhead glare. The lighting scheme is estimated to improve power consumption by 47%.
- Ceiling and partition wall boards were made from recycled materials.
- Eco-friendly low VOC paints and adhesives were used all over the library for color and for improved indoor air quality.
- The carpets contain high amount of recycled content and hold a healthy indoor air quality promise verified by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Green Label.
- The library re-purposed all their older bookshelves, painting them to make them resemble trees in shades of green and yellow. Any new bookshelves needed were made with sustainable plywood and fiberboard certified by the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme.
Library Activities & Focus
My Tree House offers a vast collection of 45,000 books and a full 30% of these books are focused on green living topics such as animals, plants, nature, water resources, weather, environment, recycling and climate change. Fiction books including fairy tales, fantasy and folklore which are related to the theme of the enchanted forest will make up the other 70% of the collection. Other green activities at this library include an interesting line-up of green themed programs, which a partnership between the library and the National Climate Change Secretariat,Â National Environment Agency and National Parks Board. These programs will focus on storytelling sessions, plus eco-friendly workshops for creating games and crafts. The library will also be holding tailored library tours for schools to increase environmental education and outreach.
My Tree House features a number of awesome multi-sensory sustainable exhibits that are eco-friendly, hands-on and super fun. There’s the beautiful Knowledge Tree (shown above), which is a shadow play wall scene set in an enchanted forest where a magical tree grows. The interactive tree prompts kids with questions about environmental awareness and energy conservation, and kids answer these questions using his or her shadow. Answer the questions correctly, and the forest will flourish; answer them incorrectly, the forest will wither. Another great feature isÂ The Weather Stump – a realistic looking tree stump that charts real-time weather information provided by the Meteorological Service Singapore. All of the multi-sensoryÂ installations aim to raise awareness about our actions and how they impact the environment.
The Tree Centerpiece
My Tree House is aptly named after the amazing library centerpiece which features a beautiful tree house structure constructed with recyclable materials. A group of volunteers with Recycled Cardboard Architects, who notes this is the largest cardboard structure they’ve ever built, madeÂ this 3m tallÂ tree using only 100% recycled cardboard. See a really cool video of the tree building process here.
The Recycled Tree Canopy
The canopy of the cardboard tree house discussed above, Â was built and installed using over 3,000 recycled plastic bottles collected from the public, schools and visitors to City Square Mall.