Thinking about going outside after being cooped up in your home for a long time, even though you have nowhere to go since all of your work is done online, and you need to at least see a glint of sunlight? Consider working in a library—or even just read a book in peace outside—with libraries all around in KL.
While some KL urbanites may regard libraries as irrelevant and out of date, unlike bookstores now filled to the brim with aesthetics, they actually benefit a community in ways that cannot be easily seen. Being a social institution that provides free access to education, news, and even historical resources is still very much important to this day and plus, there are numerous other benefits that each library may provide, so do visit your local library to see what they have to offer.
Situated along the bustling Jalan Tun Razak, the National Library is a beautiful landmark to behold from the outside, with its remarkable roof tiles resembling the patterns of kain songket, a traditional handwoven fabric. The library has nearly 5 million items, including books, magazines, newspapers, and online materials. They also acquired private collections of well-known Malaysian figures, which include books, journals, articles, manuscripts, documents, photos, and letters, among other things.
Over 500,000 books in Malay, Chinese, Tamil, English, and many other languages are available for borrowing. Once you have registered with the library, Malaysian users will be able to borrow books for free.
The library has not only book-specific spaces, but also offers an auditorium, cafeteria, prayer rooms, children’s theatre, carrel rooms, locker facilities, exhibition hall, and multi-purpose hall. Moreover, there is free parking available for visitors.
The KL Library, which reopened in November 2019 with a completely new look and stunning interior, is another light – filled book lover’s haven within walking distance of some of the city’s most popular attractions, including Masjid Jamek and Dataran Merdeka. The facilities include a mini auditorium, a multipurpose hall, a conference hall, two exhibition galleries, a children’s floor with its own spacious reading area, a cafe, and a variety of reading pods to curl up comfortably with a good book.
Malaysians may not only enter for free, but they can also sign up for a library membership here. Members will have unrestricted access to the private rooms and computers. The library also has high-speed WiFi, making it an ideal spot for co-working space.
If you wish to learn more about other people’s cultures, explore the Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur Library, where you will not only have the experience of being in a Japanese setting with a tatami area, but you will also have the opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture as they provide you with fiction, literature, magazines, and a large selection of mangas.
The library is open to the public, and joining their membership fees will cost you RM10 annually. Also, this library hosts cultural activities and workshops on a monthly basis, so keep an eye out if you’d like to participate.
Refurbished and re-opened back in 2019, the TTDI library welcomes the public with a new theme of bright colours and illustrated walls. The libraries are designed for adults, however, they took great effort in revamping the area for younger people.
Apart from books, the newly renovated library now has a PS4 lounge (open only on weekends), a movie room, interactive tables, and egg-shaped audio chairs. The library’s goal is to provide information and entertainment through both the “traditional” physical (books) and modern digital worlds.
Rumah Attap Library and Collective, founded in 2017, is housed in a row of restored 1950s shophouses. Aside from being a library, it is also a community space where people can exchange books, discuss, and hold regular events such as book readings, workshops, and forums.
Despite its small size, Rumah Attap Library & Collective houses over 35,000 books, and you will be impressed by the time and effort that went into creating a space that includes 8 rooms (for students to rent) with attached bathroom baths and a large community library.
Opened in March 2013, Bukit Damansara Community Library is a two-story library in Damansara Heights, surrounded by a calm neighbourhood and offers books for both children and adults, a children’s corner, reading rooms, a meeting room, an IT corner, and a special collection of works by the late Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, the former Chief Secretary to the Government.
If you’re interested in this article on libraries in KL, check out Library In A Park: Award-Winning Kedah Digital Library In Alor Setar to learn more about one of Malaysia’s digital libraries.