Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A library in a Condo

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.

'You cannot open a book without learning something' - Confucius

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.

Launch of the SCBWI Malaysian Chapter at Limkokwing University. SCBWI President, Linda Tan presenting a token of appreciation to Vice- President of International Development, Dr Jayles Yeoh on behalf of Prof. Emeritus, Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing. Yusof Gajah, mentor to SCBWI (on the left)

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)

Residents' Bookshop
Lobby, Bangsar Puteri
Jalan Medang Serai
Bukit Bandaraya
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel/Fax: +6 03 2095 6268


  1. Excellent! If we have a Linda Tan in every housing area, our children's lives will be richer.

    I myself was brought up on Enid Blyton's books and I think her books did more for my language development when young than all other singular factors, including school!

  2. great post, keats! i voted 10!!!

    tansrimat, i have to agree with you, every housing area should have their own linda tan,

  3. Thanks Keats! You write beautifully! I am going around chanting: To read is to empower! May have to copy that and put it in the bookshop.

  4. Beautiful written :)
    Reading books is very relaxing for me :-)
    I read now english books maybe I can
    better write on my blog .... ;-)

  5. HI
    tansrimat, thanks! Aren't you glad the Enid Blyton books are still in the shops? Children have different tastes in reading these days.

    Emila Yusof, Thanks! all 10 wonderful stars!!glad you like it.

    CahatteringMing, i'm so glad you enjoyed the post. thanks for your kind words. Do visit again.

    Anya, thanks, my friend! You're doing very well . You engage the bloggers with all your wonderful ideas. And we love visiting your blog . keep it up:))

  6. What this great lady has done will benefit many generations. Thank you so much for highlighting her meaningful efforts to us. Enid Blyton is my favourite childhood author. I'm glad her books are still appreciated. I'm voting a 10 for you.

  7. I am glad to learn that Enid Blyton is still an all-time children's favorite after all these years. Thus, it is my profound love for Enid Blyton and her literary works since childhood that I decided to write a book on her titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (

    Stephen Isabirye

  8. What a cosy and welcoming little library, Keats! Great place to Bookcross, too. Ah-ha! "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"! Isn't that the book with the holes built in that we can stick our fingers through? :oD

  9. I love library. Even I stay in Kajang, almost twice of the month my husband will drive us to KL's library. Hope able to get one cosy library in my area too :)

  10. Hi
    Autumn Belle, thanks so much! Another Enid Blyton fan - not surprising.

    Eni, thanks for popping in. Will visit your web soon. have a good day!

    ~Covert_operations'78~, that's an idea . Book crossers, take note. A truly wonderful story book. Hope the SCBWI will showcase more writers and illustrators for a wonderful literary world among us. And to join the greats in the world!!

    Lay Hoon aka mescrap, Yes, do find a way to get a library for yourselves. brainstorm and I'm sure something will work out. Small steps will get you there. happy reading!

  11. What a great idea to have a library in a condo. Maybe I should propose the idea to our management!

    You've outdone yourself again, Keats!!

  12. I must say that you always come up with very interesting topics, Keats. Enid Blyton is one of my favorite authors, too.

  13. Hi
    Veronica Lee, great to hear from you. Do just that . Please speak to the management. Let us know of the results.

    ROSIDAH, Thanks! Whoa! another Enid Blyton fan! Great !!

  14. Yes! that's a great idea to have library near you. And kids learn to read, imagine, touch a book - not only a remote control or computer! + library is ecofriendly!
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. ya..library is a good thing to have..

  16. What a great idea! That looks like a delightful place to hang out.

  17. Hi
    BLOGtise, I agree, 'touch a book', turn he pages, immerse and discover:)

    wenn, thank you for your comment. we need moe libraries, definitely!

    adrienne, Indeed! and I know you're brimming with ideas to share as a children's writer and illustrator:)).

  18. Good work Linda! Thks for posting this Keats!

  19. Oh "condorary" or "libracondo" haha. Reading is very important and Linda is setting a good example for the rest to follow. Thanks

  20. Hi
    Pete, top marks for Linda! Thanks for dropping by:)

    CheaHs@n, yeah, I'm glad this post has generated such positive response from everyone. Way to go!

  21. Hi flipnomad, thanks! Do visit again. Have a good day!

  22. I feel very relaxable while reading books.i hope we can earn knowledge by reading the books. frequently i go to the library to read books.thanks for giving chance to allow me to this blog


Great to have you popping in!