Escape into a good book or learn something new at the reimagined East Melbourne Library, described as a warm and bright ‘community living room’.
The striking building recently celebrated its 10th birthday with the installation of new self-service borrowing pods, a reconfigured computer station, cosy armchairs and a communal table.
The upgrades reflect the changing role of libraries across Melbourne, and the world, from transactional spaces to vibrant community hubs.
Jill Fenwick, President of the East Melbourne Historical Society, said that the recent changes have proved popular among library users.
‘The reconfiguration and upgrading of the library has resulted in a more efficient loan system, greater floor space and a smarter look to the ground floor,’ Jill said.
‘Seating spaces are relaxed, with easy access to reading materials and it’s apparent from the numbers sitting in the library reading papers, magazines and books, that locals are enjoying the changes.’
Beyond the written word, the City of Melbourne’s libraries now promote digital literacy and offer lectures, 3D printers, coding workshops, recording studios, and much more.
‘Seating spaces are relaxed, with easy access to reading materials.’
However the community connections forged between the walls are what makes the libraries special.
‘The helpful and welcoming staff make the East Melbourne Library a pleasant place to spend an hour or more looking through the array of DVDs and reading materials,’ said Jill.
‘My granddaughter Zoe is a great fan. She began going to the library for the Wednesday morning children’s program when she was three and is, at six, an enthusiastic borrower.’
Despite rapid advances in digital technologies, the library team reports growing popularity with people of all ages and backgrounds, from parents with children enjoying rhyme time, to students and retirees.
As Melbourne evolves, libraries will continue to play an important role in providing intimate spaces amid a growing population, as well as being knowledge hubs for new technology and start-ups.
Designed following extensive community consultation, East Melbourne Library features recycled materials and eco-friendly solutions for light, ventilation, heating and cooling in keeping with the City of Melbourne’s target of zero net emissions by 2020. Native plants, bike racks and a water bowl for neighbourhood dogs complete the picture for this vibrant community hub.
Do you speak another language? Our libraries offer a wide range of multilingual texts. East Melbourne has an extensive Chinese language collection, while the North Melbourne Library offers Spanish story time for children, and French-speaking workshops.
For more information, visit Libraries.