Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Scenes - Sarikei Public Library

Sarikei 2007: Location of 1st library
Now it's the Agricultural Department.

hhh!! "Silence please. This is a public library." Sarikei's first public library in the mid 1960-1971 was at Jalan Getah (Rubber Road in Malay - this was a rubber plantation area in the 1950's-60's). The wooden library on stilts (demolished) was situated between the Sarikei District Office and Kwang Chien primary school. Now the location is occupied by the Agricultural department. As a kid, I felt that the old library was some awesome place where people could go in empty handed and came out with books with stories and pictures.

Sarikei 2006: Location of the 2nd and 3rd library
Find the broken windows.

In 1972, the second library (one storey) was built behind Rex cinema. To get to the main entrance, you would enter via a small road between the Sarikei District Council and the playground. The playground (now replaced by a building) had a slide, 2 see-saw's, a merry-go-around and 4 swings. It was a small library with sections for children, English non fiction and fiction, Chinese, Malay and Reference. The main draw were the imported newspapers (a luxury then) like New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Nanyang Business News as those cost more than twice versus the local papers like See Hua Daily News or Borneo Bulletin. Do you remember the library card made of cardboard ("vanilla paper"), folded and stapled to form a slot so that the card from the book could be inserted in the slot and was kept by the library till you returned the book?

Sarikei 2007: Location of the 2nd and 3rd library

In the 1990's, the second library was demolished and replaced by a third double storeyed library at Jalan Layang Layang. The entrance was moved to the back of Rex cinema. There were more books added and viola, better magazines!

Sarikei 4th library: 2003

Sarikei 4th library: 2003

Sarikei 4th library: 2004

Sarikei's 4th library at Jalan Kapur is situated at the road behind Nyelong Park leading to the Kuching bus terminal. It officially opened on 1st Aug 2003. It has a floor area of 2,000 square meters and cost RM3.5 million. It's double storied with auto theft detection gates (like a department store) and there's a security guard too. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable when I asked for the Sarawak section. I was pleasantly surprised by the new books added on Sarawak. It won the Best State Public Library Award in 2005.

Sarikei 4th library: 2007

Nice sculpture added in 2006.

The U-shaped building wraps itself around a central courtyard lined with luxurious hard and soft landscape. The library comprises of a single-storey entrance wing with the lobby and exhibition hall inside leading to the double-storey main library proper which houses the reading areas, lending section, reference section and offices.

Sarikei 4th library: 2007

Vibrant colours to attract kids.

A Children Section together with a Children Activity Room were introduced at the single-storey wing next to Jalan Kapur. Other facilities include Hyper Media Computer Room, Multi-Purpose Room, Exhibition Room, Sarikiena Collections Room, Discussion Rooms and Senior Citizens' Corner. The ramping entrance corridor is designed for the disabled. Behind the entrance wings are the Sorting Room and the Mobile Library Office (that manages the rural mobile library program). When is Starbucks setting up a cafe here to make it a cool place to hang out?

Sarikei 4th library: 2007

Ground floor reading section.

The Library is computerised using the Angkasa Library Management System which is implemented by the Sarawak Information System Sdn. Bhd (SAINS). The Online Public Access Catalogue System (OPAC) enables the public to access the library collection via the internet. The public can reserve their books on-line and view the library services and circulation transactions. (source: Librarynet)

Sarikei 4th library: 2007
First floor reading section.

Sarikei 4th library: 2007
Ground floor "Hyper Media" room.
Find the kid!

There's a computer room with internet connection (fee based) but I don't know whether the folks use it more for education or entertainment. One thing is for sure, the new generation is luckier. In the old days, I would be glad if I could get hold of my favourite newspapers and finish reading before the library closed. Sometimes it's like game over before you had even started.


Daniel Yiek said...

The slide show is slowing down the opening of the page and will be removed next week after most people have viewed it.

I'm posting a "double" (long) post on the library and earlier by 1 day as I may not have internet access when in Jaipur, India this week.

Does anyone have good stories of the 1st library? I have vague memories of it as I was too young then. I remember the Chinese lady librarian and the Malay guy librarian (both with the horn rimmed glasses) who served in the 2nd library for many years.

BurungHelang said...

The last time I was at the 2nd library, there was one and only tiny book on computer programming.

Lidasar said...

I have been to the 1st wooden library on stilts, it was very simple and just a one room size. You remember the librarian from the 2nd library but I remember it was run by a Chinese called Ah Du and he got fair complexion and the Chinese lady you mention with the horn rimmed glasses, the short Malay guy join only later. Library in Sarikei opens from 4pm and on Saturday it open in the morning, I am not sure if this is still the practice.

Since you are going Jaipur you should proceed to Agra and visit the Taj Mahal, should not miss this piece of monument and I say it is simply magnificent.

Kanga said...

I remembered the 1st library as this: you parked your bicycle carefully so that it did not fall into the drain or clipped by passing cars. You then went up a set of stairs. you walked carefully on the wooden floor in order not to make too much noise. The NanYang & SingChiew newspapers arrived in the late afternoon from S'pore by air via Kuching/Sibu, then to Sarikei by speedboat. The 1st was a very humble setup. The 2nd library was a good improvement.
I have never been to the 3rd or current library. Judging by the photos, the currently library does provide go access to info in the world(via computers). Both the building and facilities look pleasant. Thanks to Daniel for the photos.

Anonymous said...

I remember 2nd library when I was very young, I used to stay there hours reading...when my parents signed me up as a member, I remember borrowed a favorite nursery rhytm book and never return it back bcos I loved the book so much. Later, I lied to the librarian that I've lost the book.

Lee Agas Guang said...

2nd and 3rd library brings alot of memories to me, definately, I think to boost the blog site, there should be a picture of the 4D toto shop beside the REX cinema, Lorong 2 pathway, Ah Chai's coffeeshop beside the police station (Lorong 2 behind only wat!!) Dewan Suarah and others. I like the idea that you snapped the old shop houses. Really nice. The Laser Disc shop opposite the library and go and interview Dr. Yap at his clinic..hahaha..miss that old chap..The Shell Gas station beside the building where everyone still borrows videotape from "tong ma" hahaha..what happen to her daughter..got married already ar? The kai fan shop..that couple is from Ipoh! and in the evening I dunno whether the old dude still sells the hot pao to eat or not.. Daniel, i'd really like to contribute in writing to my lovely hometown. buzz me at leeagas@gmail.com...cheerios and thumbs up to this blog..

jessie said...


how u gets my mum photo?(the lady standing in front of the library)


Daniel Yiek said...

Your bro (nicknamed halamanku) submitted the pic.

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