Taipei Public Library (Beitou branch)
By Dipal Khatri Translated by Ann Lee
251, GuangMing Rd, Beitou District; (02) 2897-7682
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 8:30 am-9 pm, Sun/Mon 9 am-5 pm
The library is closed on national holidays and the first Thursday of each month.
How to get there:
MRT: Take the Danshui Line to Beitou Station.
Transfer to the XinBeiTou Line and get off at XinBeiTou Station.
The library is a 5-minute walk away.
Bus: Take the 216, 218, 218 (subline) or 266 and get off at the XinBeiTou stop.
Mention Beitou and the first thing that usually comes to mind is the area's surplus of hot springs. However, the northern Taipei district has an alternative, often overlooked form of relaxation to offer visitors.
Located in the middle of Beitou Park is the Beitou branch of the Taipei Public Library. Taiwan's first "green" library, it's designed with environment-friendly architecture. At first glance, the library looks like an oversized version of Tarzan's tree house. A two-story building with a lower level, the large wooden structure's design is based on the theme of ecology and preservation.
The Beitou branch plays an active role in bettering the environment by being energy and water efficient. Its downward-sloping roof is equipped with a rainwater collection system that helps conserve water by gathering rainfall, which is then used to flush the library's toilets. The lightweight material of the roof and solar panels are designed to produce solar energy, which in turn generates electricity.
The facility houses over 20,000 English and Chinese-language books that visitors can peruse at their leisure. If not for the sake of reading its vast collection of material on ecological conservation, the library is worth visiting for its sheer architectural uniqueness.
The library is a sanctuary from Taiwan's urban jungle of concrete buildings and the glaring flourescent lights of omnipresent 7-11 stores. The entire building, including the walls, steps and furniture, are all made of wood. Large French windows on all four sides flood the interior with an abundance of natural light and ventilation, cutting electricity usage and enhancing the existing spaciousness of the library.
The conventional library space extends into three balconies, with one on each level. Venture to the comfortable outdoor reading area to witness the building's harmony with its surrounding natural elements of sunlight, air and water. The wooded walkways have benches, as well as chairs and tables, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the environment, with a babbling stream and twittering birds for company. Save the occasional sounds of passing traffic, the Beitou Branch provides a tranquil refuge from the hustle and bustle of Taipei life.