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Recently, I was invited to a baby and toddler group where caregivers and young children get together for fun play and social interactions. They are run by voluntary members of the community and meet several times a week at different venues. And one of them is held at Cfbt’s new library center.
When I stepped into the library, I was quickly impressed with the wide selection of children’s books. The books were meticulously narrowed down into age appropriate levels and color coded for easier reference. One of their staff came over to explain the importance of choosing the right books to develop the child’s literacy skills and reading interest. I thought that was an invaluable advice because although I have stacks of children books at home, I didn’t realize some of them were not as enriching and relevant at this stage. Additionally, you can find a bunch of story sacks in one of their shelves, containing good quality children picture books with supporting materials to stimulate reading activities.
The place was spacious and clean and contained creative spots, enough to ignite the imagination of a child. I really like the availability of the big nursery rhyme books, filled with colorful large printed illustrations to keep the younger ones engaged. These books usually hit the spot in the ‘Storytime’ sessions every Monday morning, where caregivers take turns to read a loud to the kids. It’s found that early literacy begins in the first years of life and develops real life settings through positive interactions with literacy materials and other people. The session is held in an enclosed room where kids can instantly feel cozy with accessible child sized furniture and decorations. You can also find a long horizontal chalkboard that covers one side of the room for kids to doodle on.
Aside from being closer to books, the center is remodeling the library’s facilities to build a community space whereby people are encouraged to come together and build relationships. There are several meetings rooms furnished with technology aided equipment, a computer lab with Internet access and printing services. All open to the public for free! For book loans, green IC holders are required to pay a $30 membership fee ($20 refundable and $10 for donation). For locals (yellow and red IC) it is free of charge, except you need to leave a refundable deposit of $20. Books are automatically loaned for 2 weeks each time and you can easily renew your book loan by emailing their staff. And there is no limit on how many books you can borrow!
The downside of the library is that it can be extremely difficult to find a parking space. Located near to one of the most bustling banks in the country and sandwiched between other shop units, sometimes you just have to depend on sheer luck to get a space. We were told it’s easier to find one if you come in the weekends or to come earlier at 8am to avoid the peak hours.
The library is still fairly new to the public (opened in December 2017), and they are encouraging the public to use their facilities for organizing activities and to serve as a community center. For now, there will be a Family Fun Day program held in the center on the 1st April from 11.30am to 5.00pm. The event will be filled with lots of activities for children such as games, costume play, arts & crafts, face painting, bouncy castle and many more. They have even scheduled two Storytime sessions conducted by one of their teaching members from Scotland.
Address: Block D, Units 5 & 6, Kiarong Complex, Lebuhraya Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Bandar Seri Begawan BE1318 , Negara Brunei Darussalam
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, Saturday 1pm-4pm
Closed on Sundays and Friday prayers 12PM-2PM
You can find out more on the CfBT Facebook page