THE RM15mil Kedah Digital Library (KDL), which will be equipped with various technologies and modern facilities besides a wide range of digital collections and databases, will be fully operational by September this year.

Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) human capital division head Datin Shahdee Datuk Ahmad said the library’s phase 1 project was already completed.

It involved the upgrading of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial that includes the main building, study area and meeting rooms.

“Phase 2 involves the construction of a new building and it is expected to be ready in September this year.

“It will have more attractions such as playrooms and other facilities for digital learning besides access to digital media and others, ” she said during a media familiarisation tour to the library in Jalan Menteri, Alor Setar, recently.

Shahdee said KDL was modelled after Penang Digital Library.

“The establishment of the KDL is aligned with the Federal Government’s MyDigital blueprint and it is also one of NCIA’s strategic projects for the rakyat under the Strategic Development Plan 2021-2025.

“KDL will become a digital information centre to reduce the digital and knowledge gap among the people of Kedah.

“The idea to develop KDLbegan in March 2019, and this was followed by work to identify the construction site and obtaining allocations from the government.

“The construction work began in September 2019 and phase 1 was completed in March 2020, ” she said.

Shahdee said the library was handed over to the state Public Library Corporation in January this year.

“The library will be a catalyst in the use of e-resources and e-learning among members of the community.

“Our next plan will be to set up a digital library in Perak. The site for Perak Digital Library is still not finalised yet.

“There are no plans for similar libraries in other states for the time being, ” she said.

Also present were state Public Library Corporation director Shahizan Affandi Zakaria, NCIA delivery division project head Muhammad Fazlullah Abdul Aziz and NCIA Public Relations & Media Management head Ariff Ahmad.

Shahizan said the digital library offers a new reading experience in a modern contemporary space with high-speed Internet connectivity for Kedah folk.

“It also offers one million reading materials in e-book collections for an annual member fee of RM30 per adult.

“For students, senior citizens, retirees and the disabled, the annual fee is only RM15.

“For children below six years old, it is RM10, while the member fee for foreigners is RM50 a year, ” he said.

Shahizan said 133 people had registered as members of the digital library from January to March.

“We are targeting the membership to increase to 500 by this year and to hit 1,500 membership next year.

“From January to March this year, 1,718 visitors turned up at the library, ” he said.

Shahizan said the library is open every day except Thursdays, Fridays and public holidays from 9am to 6pm.

University students Lee Khe Jun, Lim Xin Rou and Ong Shin Huey, all 21, were among those spotted at the library.

“The WiFi connection here is strong and stable.

“Each reading table has power plugs, which makes it easier for us to charge our gadgets like laptops and handphones.

“The environment in the library is nice and conducive to study in.

“The cool design tables and chairs are eco-friendly and the surrounding is clean, ” said Lee.

Form Five student Siti Rafizah Abdul Rahman, 17, who was seen studying at the library with her schoolmates Tunku Alyssa Adlynna Tunku Iskandar Shah and Syarifah Nur Umaira Syed Aznuardi, both also 17, said the library has a clean, comfortable and quiet environment.

“I strongly recommend others to come here to study, ” she added.