Making libraries hip again

Article image - Making libraries hip again The Double Bay Library’ ‘green wall’ and returns chute.

Woollahra Council’s new public library in Sydney’s Double Bay recently celebrated its first birthday and has smashed all benchmarks – proving libraries are still relevant in the digital age.

Since opening in May last year, the library has signed up more than 10,000 new members and seen a 360 per cent increase in visitation.
Extra seating has been installed to keep up with demand from local students and nomadic workers and opening hours have been extended during exam periods.  

With four times more space than the previous library, a beautiful design and a convenient and accessible location in the heart of Double Bay – it’s no surprise the library has been such a hit.

Woollahra Libraries Manager Vicki Munro said the team has been amazed by the response from the community.

“Our goal was to create a community hub where people could meet, connect and have fun, while also providing quiet areas for study and work,” Ms Munro said.

The library’s design, which recently won a Highly Commended Award at the ALIA Library Design Awards, was inspired by library members who were keen to see a ‘garden within a library’.

 “There’s a green wall covering our returns area and hanging gardens cascade down through the internal staircase, which connects the three levels.

“We know if we get kids interested in libraries and literacy from a young age, then we have them for life.”

The library has also moved away from a traditional model: noise is allowed (in most areas) as is food and drink and a range of exciting new events are on offer – including video game tournaments and comedy nights.

“We’ve really challenged some people’s perceptions of what a library should be,” Ms Munro said.

“We are so thrilled our new library has helped our community rediscover a love of libraries, lifelong learning and connecting with each other.”