Culture and heritage

Books are just the beginning: there’s something for everyone at our libraries

1 August 2023

Our libraries provide a sanctuary of learning, creativity and relaxation across the city.  

Anyone can enjoy our libraries, with six permanent branches, pop-ups, a mobile outreach service and a 24/7 online library catalogue. 

Books are just the beginning of our library services – connect with the community at workshops, unleash your creativity in a makerspace or book one of our many meeting spaces. 

Share your love of reading at one of our 10 book clubs that explore genres from women’s empowerment to Classics to Chinese literature. Kids can join in on the fun, with a range of children’s programs for all ages and our new Toy Library. 

Community spirit runs deep in the hearts of our libraries, thanks to our incredible staff. Find out more about each of our libraries and what makes them special. 

City Library

Nestled in Flinders Lane near bustling Degraves Street, City Library provides a cosy and quiet haven in the heart of the CBD. 

It’s a popular meeting place for busy workers and commuters, thanks to its quick borrowing services and comfortable spots to unwind.  

A librarian standing in front of shelves of magazine. They are smiling.

“What I love most about City Library is that it’s a hotspot for arts, music and literature. It’s a really special, unique library.” – Kira Caine, Acting Community Hubs Officer.

City Library is open from 9am to 6pm on weekdays, 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and 12pm to 4pm on Sundays.  

East Melbourne Library

Our East Melbourne Library is the epitome of community and sustainability, just a short walk from the MCG and Fitzroy Gardens. 

The building is ecologically sustainable, designed to minimise environmental impact and improve indoor air quality. 

The spacious rooms and greenery provide a breath of fresh air for community members, along with opportunities to connect with each other. 

Locals come together to grow herbs and seasonal produce in the community garden, which is also home to beehives provided by Melbourne City Rooftop Honey.   

A librarian standing in front of a garden full of shrubs and bushes. They are smiling.

“We love it because the community comes and tells us how much it means to them, and it really makes us feel like we’re doing something very meaningful for the community because it makes a difference in their lives.” – Linda Longley, Library Branch and Community Heritage Team Leader.

East Melbourne Library is open from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Thursday, 1pm to 6pm on Friday and 10am to 1pm on Saturday.  

Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre

Kathleen Syme is housed in a restored 19th century building on the corner of Farraday and Cardigan streets in Carlton.  

The centre is valued dearly by locals, who can visit the adjoining café and enjoy the sunshine in the community garden.  

Be sure to check out the Local Lunch Club, a series of free nutritious lunches by Open Table paired with live music and a variety of workshops. 

The Makerspace is a creator’s dream, filled with a variety of tools and technologies including sewing machines, laser cutters, computer numerical control (CnC) machines and 3D printers. It doubles as a bookable space perfect for community groups, schools and small businesses.  

A librarian standing in front of shelves of books. They are smiling and holding two brochures.

“Locals come in and connect with us in so many ways … It is so rewarding to be able to serve such a diverse and interesting neighbourhood and support people with information, learning or just a good read.” – Emily Johns, Community Learning Team Leader. 

The library is open from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Thursday, 10am to 1pm on Saturday and 12pm to 4pm on Sunday. 

Southbank Library

Located within the Boyd Community Hub on City Road, Southbank Library provides a welcoming space for everyone.  

The library has a reader-friendly layout similar to a bookshop, making it easier to find your next great read.  

Comfortable lounge chairs, window-facing desks and plants galore makes it the perfect place to work, study or curl up with a book. 

A librarian standing in front of shelves of books. They are smiling.

“We get lots and lots of families from all across the Southbank area, which is lots of new migrants and lots of retired people and just a really diverse array of people all in high density living that absolutely thrive and love this green oasis and this community hub right in the middle of Southbank.” – Cassandra Smith, Reader Development and Local History Librarian. 

Southbank Library is open from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Thursday, 1pm to 6pm on Friday and 10am to 1pm on Saturday.  

Library at the Dock

This three-storey modern library and community hub sits on the waterfront of Docklands, offering a stunning view of Victoria Harbour Promenade.  

Library at The Dock is Australia’s first 6-star Green Star-rated public building, awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia.  

There are countless facilities and spaces in the library, including a ventilated green terrace for yoga and tai chi, a children’s playground, a performance venue and a library cinema. 

Upstairs you’ll find the gallery, a versatile space that can display two- and three-dimensional works along with multimedia pieces.  

The makerspace includes a suite of creative gear along with safety tutorials, workshops and studio rooms. There’s also a decked-out recording studio perfect for music and podcasts. 

A librarian standing in front of a makerspace in one of our libraries. They are smiling.

“One of the best things about Library at The Dock and the City of Melbourne libraries in general are the fabulous and diverse offering that we have, the care that we put into our job and also our awesome patrons.” – Alex Minenna, Creative Technologies Activator. 

Library at The Dock is open from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Thursday, 1pm to 6pm on Friday, 10am to 1pm on Saturday and 12pm to 4pm on Sunday.  

North Melbourne Library

Our North Melbourne Library provides a quiet, cosy haven on busting Errol Street.  

One of the longest established libraries in Victoria, North Melbourne Library was built in 1882 and has provided a free lending service since 1905.  

Expect to be welcomed with beaming smiles from the library staff, along with great conversation and excellent book recommendations.  

There’s no shortage of regular events, including book clubs and an array of children’s programs throughout the year.  

A librarian standing in at the checkout counter in front of a computer. They are smiling.

“What I like about North Melbourne Library the most is definitely the patrons and the local people in the area and our regular customers. I used to be a resident of North Melbourne, so getting to be a permanent team member here was really rewarding for me, I got to build a rapport with our regular customers, and I enjoy seeing them every day.” – Kiel Gardiner, Customer Service Library Technician. 

North Melbourne Library is open from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Thursday, 1pm to 6pm on Friday, 10am to 1pm on Saturday and 12pm to 4pm on Sunday.  

Elizabeth Street pop-up library

Our Elizabeth Street pop-up library is just across the road from Queen Victoria Market, providing an array of best-selling books. 

The sun-soaked entrance looks out into the city, where you can sit amongst plants to enjoy a quiet read. 

There have been a series of successful events hosted at Elizabeth Street pop-up, most recently Deadly Book Giveaways during NAIDOC Week.  

It is home to a bespoke Make*It Space with an array of creative tools and equipment for anyone to enjoy.  

A librarian standing in front of shelves of children's books. They are smiling.

“The thing I love most is that we’re such a small space, that we get to talk to everybody who walks in the door, get to know our patrons and be able to offer really good book suggestions and assistance with what might be going on in their lives as well.” – Heather Evans, Reader Development Team Leader. 

Elizabeth Street pop-up library is open from 10am to 6pm on Tuesday-Friday and 10am to 2pm on weekends. 

Toy Library

We have introduced a Toy Library to our services, where toys can be borrowed and enjoyed for free with a library membership. 

There’s a wide range to choose from that encourage play and skill development for young children, allowing you to try a variety of toys without the cost. 

Toys can be borrowed and returned to The Chapel in Carlton and Hotham Hub in North Melbourne. Click and collect only services are available at Library at The Dock, until it is able to offer full services from September.  

There’s so much to enjoy at our libraries and so much more to look forward to, with our new Munro Library and Community Hub set to transform Queen Victoria Market precinct later this year.  Learn more about our Libraries.

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