Posted by: bluesyemre | February 18, 2020

The best #Libraries in #Melbourne

Interior of Bunjil Place Library

Melbourne’s best libraries boast serene reading rooms, fast internet access, recording studios and futuristic technology…

Been to a library lately? If you’re not a student, a freelancer or just someone who loves reading in quiet spaces, then it might have been a while. These state-of-the-art and historic libraries are quite a bit different to the places you remember.

State Library of Victoria

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Take a free tour of the 1850s-built State Library, from the famous dome to the permanent exhibitions, to the Chess Room…

The State Library of Victoria is a cultural landmark that houses an incredible amount of books, as well as several exhibitions and galleries with a lot of history.

The library was established in 1856 and is a grand presence on Swanston Street with interior spaces to match. The La Trobe Reading Room is a six-storey-high domed room that is magnificent to look at. Beautiful artworks depicting Victoria’s history are exhibited in the Cowen Gallery for visitors to peruse. North and south rotundas and the Keith Murdoch gallery also hold exhibitions and artworks.

The library offers everything needed for a productive work day – free wifi, printing services and plenty of seating options (our pick is the aforementioned La Trobe Reading Room). Along with books and artworks, the State Library houses thousands of heritage items, maps, manuscripts and newspapers. Digital material is also available for readers to access. And all of this is free.

You can also find people lounging on the lawns in front of the library on a pleasant day. Mr Tulk café and Guild café are close by too to fuel the visitors with delicious treats while the Readings bookshop located inside the library gives them plenty to spend their money on

Bargoonga Nganjin North Fitzroy Library

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Who could resist the opportunity to read out in the fresh air, surrounded by greenery, on a glorious sunny day? Bargoonga Nganjin, or ‘gather everyone’ in Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurunjuri people, was opened to the public in 2017. The North Fitzroy facility offers a modern design and multiple reading and study spaces including the first-of-its-kind, dedicated rooftop garden. Combine this with the library’s extensive range of youth and health services, events such as author talks, panel discussions, music performances, Indigenous language activities and children’s storytime sessions, and Bargoonga Nganjin is sure to fulfil its inherent goal.

Bunjil Place Library

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The Bunjil Place Library is located in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, nestled into the community of Narre Warren. This award-winning building is spread out over three levels and boasts a digital games area, outdoor reading garden, reading amphitheatre and an allocated youth and kids space. Come for the awe-inspiring architecture, stay for the atmosphere.

The Library at the Dock

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While libraries have always been a go-to happy place for dedicated book lovers, this library is set to become a firm favourite with everyone

As you’d expect, the new library by the waterfront at the Dock has an extensive book collection with over 200,000 tomes on shelf, subscriptions to the daily newspapers and about 400 magazines, as well as a massive DVD and CD collection and eLibrary, including resources in other languages besides English. However, there’s a lot more than reading going on at the Library at The Dock – it’s more a well-rounded community hub. For instance, this state-of-the-art facility features a gallery (which is currently running an exhibition dedicated to Melbourne’s Cultural Underground of the ’90s – a right blast from the past for ravers of a certain age and an eye opener for kids who think they have a monopoly on bangerz).

The building also boasts cutting-edge pro-editing suites and a recording studio available for public use (subject to inductions and other prerequisites being satisfied), practice rooms for musos and a range of community spaces that can be booked for meetings and local community-run events and have spectacular views of the water. There’s even a ventilated green terrace for table tennis, yoga, tai chi and movie screenings. If that weren’t sufficient, there are also extensive historical resources on hand, which, amongst other things, can get you started on tracing the family tree.

Topping it all off are the free workshops, events and activities that run regularly throughout the year. Literary fans can convene for a free monthly book club to natter with like-minded peeps, and in addition to storytime sessions for kids, grown-ups can get in on the fun with Story Lounge, where books are read aloud to adults.

Health and wellbeing is also a focus with events like Laughter Club, which runs the first Saturday of every month from 10am (expect 30 minutes of chortling, followed by meditation and guided by experienced laugh practitioners), plus table tennis on Wednesdays and Fridays from noon until 2pm.

Keep an eye out for crafternoons (including paper-folding antics with the Melbourne Origami Group), as well as more tech-related workshops, including an Intro to making iMovies or Intro to 3D printing. Break up your work day with lunchtime concerts from some of Australia’s finest musos (the Inventi Ensemble is up next, providing classical lunchtime fare and an opportunity to speak with the outfit post-show).

Melton Library

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The modern and spacious Melton Library was the first library in Australia to be awarded a five-star Green Star rating for environmental sustainability. The design features a staggering amount of over-sized timber beams and floor-to-ceiling windows. Visitors can book meeting rooms, as well as recording and editing studios. There’s also a parents room, maternal and child health services, a theatre auditorium and a dedicated lounge for teens. Plus, there’s no need to venture far when feeling peckish with the library’s own adjoining café CommuniTea close by.

Melbourne Athenaeum Library

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This stand-out library in the city boasts over 30,000 books

Founded in 1839, the Melbourne Athenaeum is an art and culture hub located above the Atheneum Theatre on Collins Street. The library is like a semi-secret reading room. Here, you’ll find quality new releases and classics and one of Victoria’s best crime fiction collections. As well as the enormous book collection, the library also hosts a program of events and book clubs throughout the year. There is a modest membership fee attached ($30-$99), but it’s worth it – you’ll feel like the member of a thoroughly civilised private club from yesteryear.

Law Library of Victoria

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Historic library in the centre of the city

In the heart of the William Street’s legal district is a library so beautiful it’s worth a squiz, even though you can’t borrow as a member of the public. Arcane law volumes line the walls and junior solicitors scale wooden ladders to retrieve them.

Dandenong Library

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Settle into Dandenong sunlit library for some serious study time. This community facility offers a huge south-facing wall of floor-to-ceiling windows along with ample reading, study and kids spaces. The latter is eqyupped with bean bags and cute kids-sized furniture, too.

Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre

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The Kathleen Syme building has been transformed into Carlton’s newest community hub, complete with library, cafe, meeting rooms and free WiFi.

Eltham Library

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The heritage-listed Eltham Library boasts an award-winning design and is surrounded by parklands and cafés. What’s not to love? The communal stace features a garden and dedicated children’s room. There’s also a reading lounge complete with a fireplace and a local art gallery showcasing work from local Eltham residents.

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