Penang Digital Library: Join me for a tour of Phase 1 and Phase II!

I was in Penang just a few days it was announced that both the Penang Digital Library and a big library-like bookstore were opened in Gurney Paragon.
While I’m not the sort who goes to a library when I’m in Penang, news spread via social media that both were impressive and well, very instagrammable.

Ok, you got me at “Instagrammable“. 😉


The plan was to visit both spaces but I ended up only at the Penang Digital Library.

The difference between both, as I’ve found out, was one has books, like majestic display of books, while the other, nary a book was seen, but was more like a well designed co-working space (to me at least).

BELOW: BookXcess @ Gurney Paragon.
Image from: VOIZ asia

Well, one IS technically a bookstore after all, but a beautiful one with seating areas (2 cafes, cushy armchairs, etc) allocated for reading plus a child friendly area. For this I’m referring to the BookXcess at Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang, the brand’s 8th outlet, but its first venture outside of the Klang Valley.
Taking up over 26,000 sq ft on the 7th floor of Gurney Paragon (and some parts on the 8th floor as well), BookXcess finally made good use of the popular Gurney location as well of the extra space in another shopping mall (Gurney Paragon) that Penangites do not need.

The Penang Digital Library (the one I visited), is a modern space with no books. After exploring both buildings (Phase 1 and Phase 2) I felt that it offers some similarities to a co-working space.

Conservatively modern but tastefully designed with cheery splashes of colours, it is located in a pretty central spot on Jalan Masjid Negeri just besides Penang Free School. There are limited parking available, usage is free, it is opens 24 hours with a cafe (Love for A Loaf) on site operating at normal hours.
First launched in October 2016, the latest hoo-haa was due to the launch of the 2nd phase, another building just opposite the current one.

BELOW: The Phase 1 building.

Let me take you inside.

Stepping in, you would have to take off your footwear. Keep them in the cubicles you see on the left.

This 2 -storey building has “workstations” on both floors, a large bathroom and an amphitheatre-like structure on the upper floor, a cafe (Love for A Loaf) plus a cosy, air conditioned cabin (Cabin In The Park) on the ground floor.
The lower ground space is smaller compared to upstairs.

The upper floor is bright, spacious, clean and compartmentalized. Though it is a shared space, it is possible to locate your own corner and make yourself comfortable. There are desks near the window, against the wall or you could share the long table in the middle of the space.
Every workspace comes with individual power socket.

See how cheery the space is?

I personally love the desks by the windows. The air conditioning is kept comfortable so it was neither too warm or freezing. Very conducive for long hours of work or study I’ll say. 🙂

Spacious and clean bathroom.

The pastries and coffee by Love for A Loaf are pretty decent (you can read about my visits to their outletsLavish on Victoria Street and Hive By Love A Loaf) to get an idea of what to expect. Food and drinks are allowed inside Cabin In The Park, within the cafe and the grounds where the tables and chairs are.

It is a bit warm outside but the tranquility and greenery around does wonders for the soul.

Inside Cabin In The Park:

There is a small playground for kids and 2 large “empty” gardens which I hope will be wisely utilised as a garden or fruits/vegetable plot.

BELOW: Phase 2 building:

Now let’s go over to the latest Phase 2 building.

This is just across a private road to the earlier Phase 1 building. Phase 2 consist of 2 buildings side by side.

The interior here reminds me more of an office or a co-working space. There are two separate buildings here.
On the ground floor there is a child-friendly room. The upper floor offers “meeting rooms”, cubicles and “work corners”.

BELOW: This is in the building on the left.

And this is the building on the left. This was the most impressive and modern one. It has a “lounge” right in the middle, a child-friendly room and a reception on the ground floor.

This is on the 1st floor where the Reading Zone, Brainstorm Rooms and Virtual Rooms are. Does it not remind you of an office?

View from top down:

So what do you think? 🙂
It is an awesome library no? Personally I am really proud of it and would happily recommend friends and foreign visitors to pay a visit. I’ve always lamented about the libraries in Malaysia compared to Singapore’s, but this Penang Digital Library has certainly changed the landscape of how libraries are like in Malaysia.
Now if only we can have the same in KL/PJ too!

I’m not sure which bus goes to the Penang Digital Library but I think you can look for buses that goes on Jalan Masjid Negeri. We  took a Grab from central of Georgetown (Kimberly St, near Prangin Mall) and it only cost us RM10.
If you drive limited parking is available at the Phase 1 building.


Penang Digital Library
Location: Besides Penang Free School
HOURS: 24 hours
Website: https://www.penangdigitallibrary.com/about

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