Why I love our local libraries

Why I love our local libraries

There’s one public space that is truly inclusive, accessible and available to all members of our community – our public libraries.

As the City of Melbourne's portfolio lead for Creative Melbourne, which includes our cherished local libraries, I have had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformative power these spaces hold.

Our libraries are not just buildings filled with books; they are dynamic knowledge centres and inclusive civic spaces that welcome everyone. It's here that the heart of our community beats the strongest, providing access to an endless reservoir of knowledge and opportunities for connection.

Among our cherished libraries, the latest addition, narrm ngarrgu at Queen Victoria Market stands out as a beacon of innovation and inclusivity. narrm ngarrgu, meaning “Melbourne knowledge” in the local woi-wurrung language, is more than just a library; it's a testament to our dedication to honouring and embedding Indigenous culture and knowledge within the fabric of our city's public spaces.

This library, along with the soon to be rejuvenated City Library, is designed to be a place where every member of our community can find something that speaks to them, regardless of their interests or background. In fact, the librarians have curated a collection that has proven popular with readers young and old.

Our libraries serve as the ultimate democratic space, where information is freely available to all, fostering an environment of learning and personal growth. The importance of libraries as knowledge centres cannot be overstated. They are the gatekeepers of information, offering not just books, but also access to digital resources, historical archives, and learning programs that enrich our community's intellectual and cultural life.

Moreover, as civic spaces, libraries play a crucial role in bringing people together. They host events, workshops, and exhibitions that celebrate our city's diversity and creativity. It's in these gatherings that we see the true strength of our community – united by a shared love of learning and discovery.

One of the aspects I love most about our libraries is the welcoming and inclusive environment curated by our dedicated librarians. These professionals go above and beyond to ensure that every visitor feels at home, whether they're seeking knowledge, inspiration, or simply a quiet place to reflect. Our librarians are not just custodians of books; they are facilitators of learning, creativity, and community engagement.

The maker's spaces at narrm ngarrgu, Library at the Dock, and Kathleen Syme are a testament to our commitment to supporting creativity and innovation within our community. These spaces offer residents and city goers the opportunity to engage with technology, arts, and crafts in a hands-on way, bridging the gap between traditional knowledge and modern making techniques and technology. Whether you're a budding inventor, an aspiring artist, or a curious learner, our maker's spaces are designed to ignite your imagination and bring your ideas to life.

There are boundless stories shared here, from entrepreneurs building prototypes for new health products, to people experiencing homelessness learning new digital skills and ultimately finding a job and a home – one thing they hold in common is the joy in creating something new and the great impact it has on people’s lives.

One of my first motions as a councillor was to remove all library fines. This was supported unanimously by my fellow councillors, because after all, library fines were a punitive cost on the most disadvantaged, restricting access to knowledge for many members of our community. This simple act reflects our commitment to making sure that nothing stands in the way of anyone seeking to learn, explore, or create in our city.

 

As we continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, our libraries remain steadfast as pillars of our community. I invite everyone, whether you're a long-time resident or new to our city, to become a member of your local library.

 

Discover the wealth of resources available at your fingertips, meet your neighbours at our community events, and maybe, find a second home within the welcoming walls of our libraries.

So, whether it’s to read a book, attend an event, use a meeting space, or create something in our maker spaces or podcast rooms, I look forward to welcoming you to your local library. Let's write the next chapter of our community's story – one filled with learning, connection, and endless possibilities. See you at the library!

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