Penang’s digital library goes 24 hours as refuge for students

By Opalyn Mok

GEORGE TOWN, April 20 ― The RM2.5 million Penang Digital Library will be keeping its doors open round the clock from May 1, offering a safe and cool place for students… even if they’re just looking for a place to lepak or hang out.

“We want to provide a safe and healthy place for the younger generation and this facility is provided free for them to use,” Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng announced at the library today.

He noted that the nearby 24-hour McDonald's outlet is always crowded, even at night, and said the having a 24-hour library would provide an additional ― and perhaps more conducive ― space for youths to study.

“We will increase security especially in the middle of the night to ensure the safety of users as this is a quiet area,” he added.

He also said the library’s 24-hour operations will be reviewed every three months to see if there are any improvements to be made.

A total 10 iPads are provided at the Penang digital library for public use.

The digital library officially opened last October and draws between 1,800 and 2,000 users each month; 2,000 people have registered for the library's mobile app, “Readcasa”.

There are no physical books at the facility, but Lim said there are 3,000 e-reading materials available for free.

Only those who uses the mobile app outside the library has to pay subscription fees of RM60 per year for adults and RM30 for students.

There are also 10 tablets provided for public use in the library free of charge.

In line with the library staying open for 24-hours, its inhouse cafe, Love a Loaf, will also be open 24 hours daily.

“The library will be open every day, even on public holidays and Hari Raya and the cafe will also be open so that users can get some drinks and food when using the facilities here,” Lim said.

The digital library is located next to Penang Free School and is accessible through the school and through an entrance from Jalan Masjid Negeri.