Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Scène at Jurong Regional Library

There are certain colourful characters of Jurong Regional Library.

First are the security guards. There is a Malay security guard, who is very kind. There are two Dravidian ones as well. One has white hair and the other, a black turban.

All these guards do is walk around looking sinister. The Malay security guard, on the other hand, was kind enough to offer us a table.

They are all very useful guards.

There is one old female Chinese mopless broomless dust-panless trolley-less cleaner, who only carries herself around. She brandishes a piece of cloth, with which she passes lightly over certain places as she deems fit to be cleaned. Most of the time she just perambulates leisurely around, like some Empress from an Imperial Palace.

She is also useless. Soon to be jobless.

Of course, there are the librarians. They appear with astonishing regularity, floating up and down the escalators, carrying bags as if they had just gone shopping, and conversing merrily amongst themselves. That is about all they do.

I must remember not to bring my wallet during my next class BBQ.

I suspect that there is a generator in the JRL basement which generates 3D images of librarians at specific intervals. Those librarians seem artificial to me. Once my associate and I were wondering why no librarians had been sighted lately. As if on cue, the lift close to us chimed. As the door opened, we could see that it was chock full with librarians. They all somehow decided to take the lift!

The escalators of JRL are of an interesting design. They are open-air escalators, meaning you can see whoever is on them at a glance. They are a central feature of the library, and have one property most escalators don't have: efficiency.

Usually escalators are placed in the same position on every floor of a bulding. So once you have ascended one floor, you have to walk one whole round to the other escalator (in the same location on that floor), where you can climb further up to the next floor. Examples of this placement can be found in West Mall, Esplanade Mall, and Woodlands Regional Library, to state a few examples. The escalators in these buildings are placed on top of the other, so from a side view, each escalator is parallel to the ones above and below it. This inefficient design makes us waste a lot of time walking.

However, in shopping malls, this can be justified. Because shoppers would have to walk a certain path to get to another escalator, the owner of the shopping mall can charge more rent for shops that lie along this path. However, for libraries, this reason does not hold water.

The escalators in JRL, on the other hand, are placed rather in a criss-cross pattern. Meaning, once you have ascended one floor, you only have to turn around, and there the next escalator would be! This is extremely efficient, and is much faster than taking the lift (for the lift in JRL is extremely slow). This design is analogous to a flight of stairs; in this case, one flight enables you to climb one floor. Thus, to climb to the 3rd storey one would only have to climb two escalators, one from the first floor to the second; then turning round, another escalator from the second floor to the third. The same procedure applies when going down. Escalators with a similar placement are also found in the OUB Centre.

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