Walk into a condominium and the last thing you expect to find is a library. But, at the Bangsar Puteri Condominium , Bukit Bandaraya, there resides the Residents' Bookshop, welcoming you with open arms.
How did it find its nest there? This must be the first of its kind in Malaysia !
It so happens the owner, Linda Tan Lingard is a resident of the condominium. When the mini market had to close, this intrepid lady saw an opportunity to embark on something she loves - set up a library . She asked the management of Bangsar Puteri for a small space to operate a small library.To her delight, she got a bigger space, all of 500 square feet. That was two years ago when the Residents' Bookshop was born.
It's cosy inside the library and there are places to snuggle up with a book or two for the young ones. On the low shelves, there are good selections of children's picture books and works by well-known authors.
Linda Tan, an avid reader and collector of children's books says children's tastes for books are perhaps changing though Enid Blyton is still among the favourites. I'm glad her favourite is Eric Carle. He's mine too! Nobody would deny the hugely popular children picture book, ' The Hungry Caterpillar' will not find a place in the young readers' hearts. Me? I want to devour every picture and the words , so lovingly!!
'Good children's literature appeals not only to the child in the adult but to the adult in the child' - Anonymous
When she is not busy, Linda Tan gathers a few children and enthralls them in some read -aloud -sessions. There's no fuss about it all and both the storyteller and the children enjoy some great moments in a different world as the pages turn.
Books are the 'stuff' of which dreams are made. Dreams are critically important. As someone said, it's a discount ticket to everywhere! How true ! The more we read, the more we know and the more places we go! As a children's storyteller myself, I know the magic images I paint before their eyes , they want to be part of the adventure too.
The library is a place to relax for the adults too. The books on the shelves come from her own selection, books which friends have donated and some she has bought. The adults tend to borrow the light fiction by authors like John Grisham.
I must say this is a real gem of a place in a condominium - a safe place where children can pop in and out to avail themselves of the books. More so when parents are busy and do not have the time to take their kids to a local library. And there's no fee attached for this service. The adults pay only a minimal fee of RM5.00 for borrowing . This is truly service for the residents by a resident in a condominium that is very hard to find in the city. This is sharing - a love for books, of knowledge and of learning.
Linda Tan wears many hats besides running this cosy library. Many ideas and aspirations are hatched in this second home of hers. To address the dearth of good children's literature, she has ventured into publishing. To date, her company, Oyez! Books has published over a dozen titles by Malaysian and expat writers and illustrators.
Recently on 29 Nov, Linda as president of SCBWI ( Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators), invited me to the first conference of the Malaysian chapter at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. It was of immense special significance as Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing himself is the Honorary Chairman of of the SCWBI Malaysian chapter. Linda Tan is grateful for his support of this fledgling society which needs nurturing and tremendous support for our Malaysian writers and illustrators to help promote Malaysian children's literature . There were 15 writers' works and and 100 illustrated works on display and the event was a success.
Yusof Gajah 'Gajah Sejati'. Publisher: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO, Noma Concours Grand Prize Winner 1996
Perhaps some developers/management of condominiums can take a cue from this humble library that serves a community of residents and others. What a wholesome addition it can be together with the other facilities like the gymnasium, convenience shop etc. I would also add that school libraries be well- maintained to foster the reading habit.
Kudos to Linda Tan and her library! What an ideal space and one that brings such lasting pleasure.
'To read is to empower/ To empower is to write/ To write is to influence/To influence is to change/ To change is to live' - Jane Evershed ( More than a tea party)
Lobby, Bangsar Puteri
Jalan Medang Serai
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel/Fax: +6 03 2095 6268