After months of closure due to renovation, Sembawang Public Library finally opened its doors again last month. I like that it’s further up north away from the hustle and bustle of town, so not that many people have discovered it yet. It has such a hipster vibe too, I can’t help but love it.
Officially, they say it’s nautically-themed though, so not strictly hipster. As such, I shall forgive the absence of fixed gear bicycles and pinhole cameras. Other than that, a lot speaks for it being a hipster library.
9 Signs of a Hipster Library
I could’ve tried to list ten signs but lists of ten are too mainstream to celebrate the hipsterdom that is this library. Thus nine signs it is.
Where I could, I added photos but the low light made it difficult to capture all the glory. Maybe I should ask a librarian in future if I may take photos with my DSLR. Anyway, for now, let me break down what makes a hipster library.
1. Off the Beaten Track
Currently the entire mall is under renovation but the fifth floor houses the fully operational library. To get there, patrons must take the service lift. When I ventured to said lift lobby a few days ago, the lights started flickering. Needless to say, I didn’t dare to go up anymore. I wasn’t the only one either who abandoned library plans.
2. Exposed Brick Wall
No self respecting hipster (who denies being a hipster) can forgo a lovely wall featuring red bricks. This comes with grey floors and exposed ceilings, obviously.
Intellect is a highly prized possession among hipsters. There’s no better way to prove intellect than to sit down with a book in public. Also, books are such vintage mechanisms that ebooks are pretty much passé with hipsters.
4. Cage Shelves
Always chasing the next exclusive thing, standard shelves just don’t cut it. To cement that exclusivity, this is the only library I have come across with cage shelf. Granted, they’re only at the entrance to display newly returned items but still, those shelves are unique.
5. Juxtaposing Metal and Wood
Hipsters have a penchant for mixing and matching as they please. Who cares that wood and metal form an odd juxtaposition? Even better when this achieves a 50s look.
6. Bar counter and stools
No, there are no drinks. But a long wooden bar table serves as a desk, complete with bar stools. If only they did serve coffee. Then this would be hipster library heaven and I would set up permanent base there.
7. New Old
Notice how vintage items in the hands of hipsters aren’t technically old? They’re almost always new items made to look dated. Well, this hipster library has backlist books that are in pristinely new condition.
8. Space to Hang Out
It’s not just about the books. There’s free wifi, air-conditioning (always a draw in the tropics), a programmes room, a reading lounge, magazines and a space that resembles a deck where people can sit down together to chill and hang out. There’s the off chance that a librarian might chase you out but as long as you’re quiet, that’s not really going to happen.
Hipsters deny that they are hipsters. They have no unity. This is where these seats with integrated tables come in. Patrons can sit by their lonesome self and pretend they’re regular people. Because really, how can a bibliophile ever be regular?