Punggol Regional Library celebrated its opening with specially illustrated collectible pins designed by artists with disabilities

The National Library Board (NLB) partnered i’mable Collective by SG Enable and four artists with disabilities from various Social Service Agencies (SSA) to create specially-designed collectible pins in commemoration of the library’s official opening on 5 April 2023. Each of the four designs showcases what libraries mean to the artists.

Ms Verena Lee, Assistant Director (Punggol Regional Library and Accessibility), National Library Board said: “As part of NLB’s Equaliser role under its LAB25 (Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025), NLB seeks to ensure that everyone, including persons with disabilities (PwDs), has better access to learning and knowledge. Through this collaboration, we are glad to collaborate with the community to support persons with disabilities and encourage interactions and integration of persons with disabilities in our libraries and archives and within the larger community.”

A place of inclusion

Since 2018, NLB has engaged over 500 PwDs and their caregivers to explore how libraries can better serve their needs.

Punggol Regional Library reflects these efforts. Apart from an Accessible Collection with books for the disability community and Calm Pods that offer a quiet and safe space, the library also has Assistive Technology devices such as coloured keyboard with larger keys to aid the visually impaired. There are also wheelchair-accessible book borrowing stations, the new Borrow-n-Go, where wheelchair users can borrow books more easily by simply going through the dedicated passageway, and Accessibility icons on selected facilities and spaces with priority use for PwDs.

This design done in shades of blue depicts inclusivity by showing how the library is technologically equipped with new accessibility features to cater to PwDs. The artist behind this design is 33-year-old, Ang Wei Lun who has spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy and severe hearing loss.

Mr Ang who is part of Goodwill, Rehabilitation & Occupational Workshop (GROW), a programme under Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS) said: “Working around the assigned colour and designing the art within a circle of a certain dimension to fit the pin was challenging. It’s the first time I have designed for a pin. I am happy and grateful to have the opportunity to be part of this project.”

William Eng from Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore) portrayed the theme of inclusivity in his design by using varied shapes and contrasting colours. The curves, lines and dots in warm tones that are “similar yet different” represent the embracing of differences and supporting of inclusion that allow PwDs to shine.

“There is a strong sense of pride knowing that my creation is valued enough to be given as a gift to others. I appreciate the gesture that my design can spread joy and happiness,” said the 35-year-old.

19-year-old Yap Jia Hui is the youngest of the four artists. She has autism and drew inspiration from her childhood by using markers and crayons, typical mediums for children’s art, for her purple-hued design.

“I love the Little Miss series of books, especially Little Miss Sunshine, so I drew inspiration from that. My design is called Happy Child because I thought of my own happy childhood when I spent a lot of time reading comics, travelling and visiting amusement parks,” said Jia Hui whose artistic skills were honed when she joined Rainbow Centre’s Artability Programme in 2021.

Jia Hui found it challenging to work within the circular frame required of the pin, but she persevered for more than a week.

“I’ve always happy to share what I have with others. When I was young, I would give the toys I received to younger children. It is good that I can now share my art with so many people.”

For artist Lim Chunru, having her red design be part of the library’s gift to visitors made her “very pleased and excited”. It is even more meaningful to her because her love for art, honed since her childhood, will be shared with other children.

The 39-year-old has been doing art since her kindergarten days and her passion deepened when she joined Down Syndrome Association’s Art Elective Programme. Besides brushes she loves exploring other techniques, like using her fingertips for her artwork.