I headed out to Docklands on my last day in Melbourne to check out the new library there. I had heard great things and they were all true.
It was a decent walk on a windy day, so was pleased to finally get there.
The Docklands Library is a large three storey building, environmentally friendly too and it looks like they got that right!
I entered to a large space, cafe, and magazines on one side and small desk with staff on the other. Upon leaving I noticed the returns area behind this space with state of the art electronic returns.
State of the Art - pretty much everything in the library was this!!!
The ground floor had fiction, teen, and children's areas with activity rooms. All chock full of great titles, plenty of reading spaces, lots of colour (though a little bit too liberal with yellow for my taste) and lovely views of the water. Also plenty of computers, catalogues, and spaces to plug in or charge up.
Each floor had toilets, bubblers, and either stairs or lifts to take you between floors.
The first floor had non fiction and oh my so much amazing non fiction. I could have stayed there and read for years and years. Again plenty of reading areas, spaces to plug in and study.
There was also a quiet study room and a reading lounge along with a community languages area.
The Gallery was great too, multi media, with screens of digital images on the floors, actual images on the walls, and a videoscreen playing too.
But it was the second floor that dropped my jaw. Firstly amazing views all round. A huge Makerspace - makerspace are the new things (well, actually not that new at all) in libraries, spaces full of technology to help people make things. Examples here were 3D printers. Loads of fancy computers with specific software on them. Recording studio and so forth.
Why would libraries provide such a service you might ask? Well, why not!?! Libraries have always been about providing - for free - opportunities to their community. These opportunities have always been literature and learning based and this encompasses so much more than books these days. So why not have a range of educational technology available in a library to try before you buy or simply to use. That way everyone in the community remains equal, there is no cultural divide, and those that may not be able to afford such luxuries need not feel left out.
Their AV collection of music and film was also on this level and again, it looked impressive.
There was also performance space and a games arcade - with pinballs, computer games, and a guitar hero. Also behind this area was The Terrace, an indoor/outdoor area with ping pong tables!
Throughout the Library were many large screen TVs, touch tables with information, history, catalogues etc on them, and quirky touches like the Dial-A-Story booth. You can pick up a phone and tell your story to be added to their historical files digitally.
I was very impressed with Docklands Library, it's pretty much above the benchmark for what a modern library should be.
Also well used, there were people in most sections of the building as I explored, but what really struck me was how incredibly quiet it was. I guess when there is that much space noise is hidden!
This is the view of their front lawn, and outdoor play area.