Pingtung Public Library Tour: Of Books, Nature, and Architecture
A lot of people think of libraries as a place where you can read or borrow books from school. Usually dull and outdated, not a lot of people go to libraries anymore since people would rather go to malls or cafes to spend time and chill. But that’s not how it is in Pingtung County, Taiwan. This time, a library gets a makeover. And more than being a space to read or study, this public library takes centerstage as one of the city’s most popular destinations to visit in Taiwan!
Here’s the story of how Pingtung Public Library got transformed into a cultural space that adapts to modern times. From being an old, inaccessible library, see how it has become a hotspot to reintroduce the love for books and nature!
The History of Pingtung Public Library
Pingtung Public Library, built in 1983, is situated in the middle of Millennial Park. Previously, it was just another building that was somehow isolated from the rest of the city, creating a disconnect between the people and nature around it. It looked so lonely, old, and outdated, and locals almost seemingly forgot that there existed a library there. Before, to be able to access the library, you’ll need to walk through a boulevard of palm trees, cross a courtyard, and enter the building. To add to that, there was no main pathway from the library’s main entrance to the main street, which made it all the more inaccessible. Sad to say, even with Pingtung County having the second-largest population in Taiwan, not a lot of people saw the need to go to the library.
Thankfully, a project was born to renovate and rehabilitate the 30-year-old library, turning it into the stunning forest library that it is called now. It underwent a two-year government renovation project aimed at “nurturing the culture of reading” in Pingtung County.
The Library’s Makeover Process
Mayu Architects was the one commissioned to take on the project. They recommended renovating this existing library instead of creating a new one, which will preserve the history and legacy of the building itself. Instead of starting from scratch and demolishing, they thought of ideas to recreate and make this space beautiful. Not to mention, it’s also more sustainable that way.
What was once an enclosed space now uses nature as its backdrop in the library’s new entryway. Taking advantage of its place being surrounded by 50-year-old lush camphor trees, the entryway is now constructed with glass walls accentuated by black steel bars. This allows natural light to flow into the entrance, which also doubles as an exhibition and performance venue.
Aside from the usual desk and chair setup, the newly renovated Pingtung Public Library now has several functional spaces, wherever you feel like sitting. They have a sunken seating area and even a floating mezzanine. The glass walls provide a beautiful natural backdrop for a breathtaking greenery view.
Gone are the old concrete stairs which were used to lead to the higher floors. Now, it’s built with a modern spiral staircase and stair seating for everyone’s use. Before, the bookshelves used to accommodate about 130,000 books. At present, they now hold 400,000, which also increases the number of seats to 500.
Inside the building, Mayu Architects used modern and functional elements to bring fluidity and intimacy to the library. Using modern concepts such as open seating and double-height spaces, it creates a more welcoming atmosphere to what was once a book storage of some sort.
What’s New in Pingtung Public Library?
Aside from its makeover, the library now has various functional spaces made for every kind of reader. For the more focused and studious ones, there are reading rooms for you. For those who would like a cup of coffee while casually reading a book, head to the cafe.
Kids also have their own special place at the children’s library. For the performers, there’s a marvelous exhibition space. A branch of the Ubuntu bookstore is located on the third floor too. They also have a senior’s atrium, a maker space, a multimedia collection, and Taiwanese literature sections. And, they also have an auditorium on the fifth floor along with classrooms and offices for the perfect library experience.
With a vision of transparency and fluidity, the architects who helped recreate this historic library made the library face the city through various architectural approaches. It now has a new entrance, with the former one turned into a reading room. The new entrance is made to connect it to the landscape outdoors, thus being surrounded by plants and trees that earned it the nickname “forest library.”
The best part about Pingtung Public Library is how it shifted from being a study-only type of library to one that can cater to modern people. More than the books and tables, the traditional library now has more space to read, write, have a cup of coffee, watch performances, and do other things that you normally can’t do in a library. If you’re a book lover or simply just want to explore and learn and immerse yourself in literature, or wander outdoors, make sure to visit the Pingtung Public Library for a dreamy day in a cozy forest library!
How to Get to Pingtung Public Library
From Taipei, take the bus going to Pingtung bus station, which takes about a five-hour ride. From Pingtung, ride the 506 bus route with a stop at Pingtung Public Library.
- Address: No. 69, Dalian Road, Pingtung City, Taiwan
- Operating Hours: 9 am to 9 pm Tuesday to Sunday; Closed on Mondays
There’s more to discover in Taiwan beyond Taipei! Head on over to Pingtung County, and see breathtaking views, admire stunning architecture, shop for cool souvenirs, and eat delicious food!
Adding Pingtung Public Library to your itinerary? Share your experience with us during your visit by commenting below!
Source: New Southbound Policy Portal, Mayu Architects
Follow the Out of Town Travel Blog on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest if you want more travel and food-related updates.
- 7 Best Things to do in Pingtung, Taiwan
- Top 10 Things to Do in Metro Manila that are Free (Nearly Free)
- Top 20 Best Tourist Attractions in New York City
- The Top 10 FREE Things to Do Near Central Park, New York City