PENANG is set to have its first digital library located at the former Puspanita building in the grounds of the Penang Free School by August this year.
The RM2.5mil Penang Digital Library will provide users structured access to information and knowledge via over 3,000 specially curated e-books, e-magazines and reference journals.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the library was an initiative supported by the Penang government in collaboration with Keysight Technologies, the Eastern & Oriental Group (E&O) and TIME dotCom.
He said it would act as a catalyst for the next phase of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) development.
Lim said the state was giving the public a choice between using the traditional means of reading and a modern one.
“We want to stress that we are not abandoning old libraries but exploring new ones by using the latest technologies and inventions. The Penang Digital Library is expected to be launched in August. It will be accessible to the public free of charge.
“We hope that it will help Penangites use technology to learn new information and knowledge that can help communities to create, connect and communicate.
“This exciting development will also allow parents and their kids a peek into the future – a brave new world of acquiring knowledge and learning through the magic of technology,” he told a press conference in Komtar yesterday.
Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI) deputy general manager S. Bharathi said the library would have, among others, a reading area, study area, meeting room, amphitheatre and cafe.
She said the reading material would include general fiction, non-fiction, business topics, science, nature, self-improvement, law and accounting.
Bharathi said the library would consider allowing the public online access via a membership structure with a minimum fee but only for up to 2,000 members.
She also said the current suggested opening times of the library from 10am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, would be reviewed as requested by Lim to 10am to 10pm daily.
CMI is the state investment arm that manages assets and property belonging to the state government.
The former Puspanita (Penang Wives of Civil Servants and Women Civil Servants Association) building where the library will be sited used to be the Penang Free School headmaster’s bungalow. It was built in the 1930s.