New library and family services facility opens at Queen Vic Market precinct

New Munro Library
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Brendan Rees

A new $15.7 million three-storey library and family services centre has officially opened its doors at the Queen Victoria Market precinct.

Called the narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services, the state-of-the-art facility boasts an outdoor terrace, a dedicated children’s library, sound studios, a collection of 30,000 new books and more.

The facility, which is the council’s first library to open in nearly a decade, is complete with a series of culturally significant immersive works by Aboriginal artist Maree Clarke.

The name narrm ngarrgu means “Melbourne knowledge” in Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung language, which will build on the vibrant hospitality, retail and recreational offerings of the market.

Located within the $500 Munro development at the corner of Queen and Therry streets, the new building will also host maternal and child health support services, parenting services, including a parent room (for feeding babies), playgroup area and outdoor play space, immunisations for children and adults, and family support and counselling.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the opening was an important milestone and would “add to the vibe of the Queen Victoria Market precinct – attracting more visitors and boosting business for traders.”

“narrm ngarrgu is a remarkable new facility which will make it easier than ever for Melburnians to access essential family and health services, books and information,” she said following the launch of the library on November 24.

Among the library’s new features is a 960-square-metre outdoor terrace with native plantings, an outdoor play area and an interactive six-metre-long eel trap tunnel.

 

 

There’s also reading rooms, study areas and computer spaces; a makerspace area, featuring paint and photograph stations and the latest creative technology such as sewing and embroidery machines, 3D printers and laser cutters; as well as sound studios for podcasting and recording; and bookable meeting rooms and events space.

The council said it was proud to collaborate with Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung elders, artists and community members – which included artist Hillary Jackman and designers and artisans from Artery Cooperative – to create a strong connection between the site and its traditional owners while “providing opportunities for reflection, ceremony, celebration and play”.

Ms Clarke said she was incredibly proud of her commissioned artworks at narrm ngarrgu, which included a series of coloured lenticular prints representing the Kulin seasons, and a carpet design themed around “Walking on Country” and featuring contour maps of the five Kulin nations. 

“I wanted to create and integrate pieces that reflect the Kulin Nation culture and knowledge that have always been here – giving anyone who walks into the building a chance to connect in a playful and thoughtful way,” she said.

Minister for Local Government Melissa Horne said the state government was proud to support the new library through the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program, helping to build libraries for communities across Victoria.

“Libraries are about so much more than books. They are at the centre of our community life, which is why it is so important the newly developed Queen Victoria Market site in Melbourne has a library at its heart,” she said. •

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