A one-stop resource library for the performing arts, [email protected] also offers information and services in the areas of music, dance, theatre and film.
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Great place for performing arts fans
If you’re into the performing arts, the library @ esplanade is the place for you.
The shelves are lined with books on all kinds of performing arts, from dance to drama. I’m really into musicals, and I was delighted when I found a massive tome filled with information about the musical Wicked, as well as plenty of other books on other musicals and how they went from script to stage.
The library is also a great place to go if you need to study- it’s relatively quiet, there are very few screaming kids around, and if you need to go for a stroll to clear your mind in-between mugging, take a walk along the bay. It’s a beautiful sight, and provides some peace to a cluttered mind.
A Library With A Difference!
Whenever I'm too early for a play or a performance at the Esplanade, I make sure to stop by this library to kill some time by browsing their wide collection of DVDs.
The [email protected] has the largest collection of books and media relating to performing arts. On occasion, I've spent hours looking through scores of Broadway Musicals as well as picking out DVDs of movies that are not so well-known. I especially love that they have quite a comprehensive collection of local films that I would not have discovered if I had not done a class on Singapore Films.
If you're lucky, there might be little performances such as readings and skits in the library. This makes this library different from regular libraries in the sense that they encourage creative expression as opposed to keeping the library quiet at all times.
Even though it is not the largest library around and the seating capacity is limited, especially when tons of students come very early to chope seats for their “mugging” sessions, it is a nice space to enrich your knowledge of the performing arts, especially if you're obsessed with plays and films like me.
A different world
[email protected] is so different from the usual regional and public libraries that it is easy to get lost in there for hours. I certainly did! With the rows and rows of screenplays, video recordings, music scores etc and not to mention the café and performance area what’s not to like?
My first visit to the library that I recall was with my music class. We had gone there before going to watch a concert at esplanade. We were actually there on an agenda – to find music scores for our performing exams. I was truly captivated by the array of music scores. I for one did not even know where to begin!
The performance put up by musicians is entertaining as well. It does take a lot of courage to perform in front of people even if it is a small crowd. Hence I really respect them.
The entire concept of the library makes it look so inviting that I would love to spend my weekend reading up on the various art forms like dance, film etc. I really appreciate the fact that a library has been dedicated just for the performing arts.
Classy and cosy
I love how the esplanade library is very classy and cosy-very different from all the other public libraries and it just makes me want to stay there and never leave!
I last went to the esplanade library a few months ago to get piano scores for my diploma exam. If your re looking for scores but don't want to purchase the original copy of the book, this place is for you because the large collection of works from hundreds of composers will surely have what you are looking for. Music CDs are also available for loan.
The library also has a very cool glass practice room-ideal for a practice before you take your music exam. Overall, the library is a great place to just relax and have some good food at the cafe.
Crowded and Cramped despite the Classy Exterior
The crisp air conditioned smell is weaved together with the musky smell of books. The esplanade library is one of the nicest libraries that I've encountered so far. Decorated with class and adorned with the glass panels that enables me to look through into the inside, the place beckons.
Upon entering, however, I was unhappy to find that the place was small and cramped: the books on loan were limited to a small selection and the seats - being on first come first serve basis - were all occupied. The other alternatives for seating would be in the cafe that is in the library. However, while the library was crowded on a Sunday, with some even sitting along the aisle, the cafe seemed empty except for a lone customer. Venturing in to view the menu and the prices, I could easily tell why this was so.
Definitely not a good place to study on a weekend. I might just recommend that you borrow the books that you need and leave.
Visual Arts library
Esplanade contains items relating to the visual arts. Most of the items here are either information books about drama, movie or albums from music artists. In fact, you can actually watch movie here, just book the room with the staff and start watching!
There is a cafe next to the library, which sells really nice food. The reason why I come here is to borrow movies. In fact, this is the only library which lends out movies, although there are some shifting collections of movies in other libraries which were also originally from there. The collection of movies here is quite big, and they come at around the blu ray release of the movie, so check it out!
I absolutely love this library. They have enhanced this library with a more artistic touch. There are biographies of all kinds of musicians, literature texts and all kinds of art-related guide books available for browsing.
If you're looking for a typical national library, you're looking at the wrong place because the library at the esplanade has a limited selection of actual story books. Instead, the library is filled with resources that will enlighten you with more knowledge about the art culture.
This very special library also includes an area for people to study at, a jamming room and a joint cafe.
If music be the food of love, play on
I was always a stay at home kind of person, and studying at libraries was never my cup of tea. Further more, the Esplanade Library's plethora of books seemed more focused on books about fine arts and culture, which I was too young to fully appreciate. There was an isolated incident when I had popped into the library to borrow a movie back home to watch. However, when I brought the disc back home, I realised it was scratched beyond repair and could not be played at all! Thus, I encourage for those intending on borrowing music discs home, to open up the casing at the library to prevent the future disappointment that I faced.
Aside from that one unfortunate experience, when I was still preparing for my violin exams a few years back, I had a few chances to practice in one of the soundproof rooms tucked away in the reading section of the library. It was a experience that I probably will never forget.
As with all violin examinations, I had to practice three songs pieces and have a piano accompaniment with it. Due to the fact that neither my home nor my music teacher's house had a piano, we had to book a room at the Esplanade library which had a piano in it for us to use. The room itself was totally transparent from the inside and outside, so I essentially had to practice in front of an "audience" of library patrons milling around, some reading the Sunday paper or browsing books. The atmosphere in the practice room was very serene and calming, where there was hardly any distractions from the library patrons outside, and there was even a beautiful view of the city skyline to match! I always enjoyed playing in the room, where the transparent walls gave me the feeling of being cocooned in a safe world of my own music, and at the same time the feeling that I was also performing for the unknowing library patrons on the other side thrilled me.
Those practices in that glass room are still one of my fondest memories of playing the violin. There was even a day when my father told me, that while the room was largely soundproof, music can still be heard very faintly on the outside, and that some people were actually enjoying the music the nine-year old me was playing! Whether it was true or not, the thought of people liking my playing still excited me to no end.
So I encourage all music lovers to maybe book an hour or two in the glass practice room at the Esplanade library. It has a wide-angle scenery city scape to die for and a wonderful atmosphere to play to your hearts content. There may be no roaring audience at the end of it, but you never know if your music has made a man smile behind his saturday newspaper.
Library by the Bay
Your first step into Esplanade Library is most certainly cause a few blinks. After all, libraries are intrinsically associated with books and as far as you can tell from the first glance, this library is sparsely populated with them. Most are electronic or reference books with plenty of music records.
Esplanade library is to me a culturally vibrant place with loads of amazing performances and talks. I remember enjoying a symphony a few years back with a really good friend while we were there to study. It is a touching place with many memories of our friendship.
Loads of scenic spots dot the landscape near the library. For example, the Marina Bay Floating Platform where the National Day Parade is held annually and the DNA Helix bridge near it which is a small biological wonder. Theres loads of places to shop too with CityLink Mall and Raffles Place just nearby, due to its strategic location in town. Hence, it is possible to drop by the library to loan some items while in town on errands.
Overall, a rather beautiful place while not teeming with the bookish aura but with rich culture and reasons to remember and enjoy life!
I decided to try this library out during my Promos period, after meeting friends or schoolmates in ALL other libraries I visited to study in - I thought this was sufficiently out of the way such that I wouldn't be meeting anyone I knew or semi-recognized there.
The atmosphere was pleasant enough. Situated at what is arguably the most beautiful place in Singapore, near Marina Bay, the library had huge glass windows overlooking the lovely scenery. Of course, that made for a very unproductive study session - I probably spent more time staring out of the windows than actually reading my Geography notes.
I did spend a little time browsing through the materials the library held - art, art and more art. I did find it pretty interesting and intriguing, considering that I'm pretty inclined towards the arts myself.
I can never study without something to munch on, so I chose to sit at the library cafe. (If you're not as much of a glutton, there are ample seats elsewhere too.) The service at the library cafe was impeccable, and it made up for the sub-par food. The limited seats available ensure that there will only be a few people in the cafe at any one time, such that it never gets distractingly loud and noisy. I did notice there were very few children there, so if you fear the rowdiness of kids getting in the way of your private study, this place is for you.