A new modern library space has recently opened at the Ho Chi Minh City General Sciences Library, offering a new place for young Vietnamese readers.
“I often bring a book to a café and look for a space to read, but I no longer need to do so,” said Thao Tu, who visited the S.hub sharing space.
Modern readers enjoy modern space
One Sunday morning as music by British singer Adele hangs in the air, dozens of eager young people are at S.hub’s library to read, work, and research.
Located inside the Ho Chi Minh City General Sciences Library at 69 Ly Tu Trong Street in District 1, the S.hub space is the first library in the city being run under the model of Library 2.0.
It has breathed fresh air into people’s perception of what it means to visit libraries, sweeping away the image of an old and fastidious librarian sitting in an empty room full of books.
Library 2.0 is loosely defined as a model for modernizing a library service that reflects a transition in the way services are delivered to users, explained by Wikipedia.
The focus of this kind of model is user-centric, putting them at the center of establishing change and participation in the creation of content and community.
According to the Ho Chi Minh City General Sciences Library, Library 2.0 is a step forward from the Library 1.0 project, started in 2011 with the support from South Korean technology giant Samsung.
The 2011 project helped to construct, improve and regenerate more than 50 neglected libraries in remote areas across Vietnam.
It also supported thousands of book titles and training courses for librarians while also sponsoring infrastructure in the hope of encouraging young people to use libraries.
After the Library 1.0 project concluded, Library 2.0 was ‘born’ with the mission of becoming a convenient and friendly book sharing space.
The letter ‘S’ is even included in the project’s name, S.hub, hoping to reflect the ‘sharing’ in young people’s reading habits.
With total investment of VND6 billion (US$267,857), the S.hub space consists of four major areas including a lobby, multimedia room, research room and group discussion area with capacity for 200 participants.
Free of charge
One of the most attractive aspects of the space is that its books and equipment are free of charge.
The only thing users need to do is register for a library membership card for a fee of VND10,000 (US$0.45) for one year, then make reservations for the books and equipment they want to use on a booked date.
The multimedia room also showcases movies to members. Tuan Anh, 21, a student from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Foreign Languages and Information Technology in District 10, said that this was the first time he had ever registered for a library membership card.
“I feel I will be disadvantaged if I don’t have a card here,” he added, saying that for only VND10,000, he has the right to use the modern equipment, borrow books, and enjoy a relaxing space while sitting and studying in the green campus.
“It’s joyful that a library could be revived to be more beautiful and approachable to young readers,” Do Huu Chi, a local painter said.
“If people come to the library these days, they’ll see a remarkable transformation,” local writer Nguyen Thien Ngan has commented after visiting S.hub. “The library’s lobby has been turned into a space where knowledge and ideas are shared.”
“Modern equipment, comfortable seats, up-to-date books, and interesting chats are all completely free of charge,” she added, saying she used to wish for such a place when she was a student.
Full of activities
Besides providing books and studying equipment, S.hub also offers a chance for its members to participate in a variety of activities which have attracted many local youths since its opening.
During the first quarter of operations, Library 2.0 put its focus on the topic of “creativity.”
The space saw a wide range of activities organized, including photo exhibitions, painting displays, and small talk.
S.hub has also provided weekend events on life skills held by international student organizations like AIESEC and LIIN.
On the morning of October 25, S.hub’s campus became a playground for more than 100 young people who came to learn soft skills like teamwork, critical thinking, and communication.
The session was held by the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences (AIESEC) within the framework of its Global Citizen program.
Moreover, the library is aiming at becoming a new and helpful cultural spot for youngsters before expanding.