Embarking on a final exploration of the Singapore Sports Hub Library nestled within the vibrant grounds of the Singapore Sports Hub and Stadium offers a reflective journey into a sports-centric repository that has been a part of the nation’s athletic history since its opening in 2014. The library is situated at the entrance of the Kallang Wave Mall, adjacent to the OCBC Arena grounds, and just beside the Stadium MRT station, the library stands as a symbolic hub for sports enthusiasts, athletes, and fitness seekers.
The library surrounding echos a history intertwined with the broader narrative of the Sports Hub. Operated by the Singapore National Library Board, which also manages all the public libraries in Singapore. The library was established to serve as a comprehensive resource center for individuals seeking knowledge about sports and fitness. Back then, this was aligned with the Sports Hub’s vision, it aimed to be a one-stop destination for athletes and enthusiasts alike.
A closure of a sports hub history
However, a chapter of closure was evident during my recent visit, signaling a shift in the library’s trajectory. The ongoing restructuring by the National Library Board, evident in the closure of libraries with lower footfall, has prompted the relocation of the Sports Hub Library’s partial collection to the National library at Bugis and Tampines Hub . This move comes as part of a larger initiative following the mid-2014 opening of the Sports Hub.
Moreover, the Sports hub library is not the only one closing in recent times. The Bukit Merah central community library moved to Vivocity Mall at Harbourfront in 2019. The Arts themed and also now-defunct library@esplanade closed earlier this year on June 2023 with a similar fate to centralise NLB’s arts resources in the heart of the Civic District. Back then, the Esplanade library was touted as Singapore’s only public library dedicated to the performing arts.
Walking through the library a few days before its closure, the scene portrayed a poignant transition. Library staff diligently packed books into boxes, sealing them for relocation. Certain sections of the library were closed off to the public during this process, but essential services like book returning remained operational, though you can’t really borrow books.
A compact library
The library, spanning two floors, presented a compact yet purposeful layout. The ground floor housed a curated collection of sports books, complemented by a games area where patrons could unwind. Ascending to the upper floor, the sports and fitness theme continued, reflecting the library’s early 2010s trend of specially themed libraries.
The second-floor setup, with a loft-like lobby overlooking the ground floor, provided an inviting ambiance. A central elevator and stairwell served as the connection between the two floors. Up here on the second floor, books are placed in rather generic looking grey shelves fanned out in an aesthetically pleasing pattern, beckoning you to explore the shelves within.
Browsing through the library shelves, I discovered a diverse collection catering to all ages and fitness levels. For coaches, the sections on Training and Coaching, Physiology of Sport and Exercise, and Sports Nutrition were particularly intriguing. Those embarking on a new fitness journey could find valuable resources in the Health and Fitness and Sports Diets sections.
Not forgetting the younger audience, the library featured a dedicated Sports for Kids section, offering tailored books for young readers. Additionally, the library housed a collection of audio-visual DVDs, including coaching materials and blockbuster sports films, strategically placed on the second floor.
Off to a good home
As the library bids farewell to its current location, the fate of its contents is noteworthy. Following the move, most books, accessories, and even notable artifacts like the Zabivaka soft standing sculpture, the mascot of the 2018 Russia World Cup, will find new homes. The huge Zabivaka standee be donated to a good home in the National Sports Association (NSA). Also, most of the books will be donated to public schools across Singapore, ensuring a continued legacy of sports knowledge dissemination.
In conclusion, the final visit to the Sports Hub Library evokes a sense of closure and transition. The library, a significant part of the Sports Hub’s history, will leave its current premises on November 12th. While physical relocation is imminent, the spirit of the library will live on in the knowledge it has imparted to sports enthusiasts, athletes, and the community at large.