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When I was in Melbourne recently, I took the opportunity to catch up with Gil Poznanski and take a look around the  ‘Library at the Dock’ – my SA public library colleagues will recall that Gil spoke recently at the PLSA quarterly meeting at the State Library.

In my short time in ‘library land’, I’ve heard people speak glowingly about the ‘Library at the Dock’ and some have suggested that it is the epitome of the ‘library of the future’.  So, whilst I was in Melbourne, I thought I’d take a walk down to the dock and check it out.

The three-storey library occupies a picturesque vantage point, overlooking the Bolte Bridge and the Melbourne dockyards. The library building came into being through a unique tri-partnership model between Places Victoria, Lend Lease and the City of Melbourne.  The library is constructed from engineered timber and reclaimed hardwood and it is Australia’s first 6 star Green Star rated public building. The library has also won a number of awards for sustainable design and architecture since opening in 2014.

Being in the heart of a new mixed urban/commercial precinct, the library offers a collection that is weighted towards white-collar workers and visitors to the Docklands – it has only a limited children’s collection.  But where it differs mostly from your standard library is the availability of non-traditional library offerings and technology – it has its own recording studio, creative editing suites, coffee shop, community spaces, a gallery and exhibition space, makerspace, and a fully-equipped performance venue that holds up to 120 people. There’s even a table tennis room – although you’ll be hard pressed to dislodge the ‘regulars’ from their game.

Here are some photos – sorry about the grainy shots from my mobile phone 🙁

Picture 1: The Library at the Dock is spread over three floors

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Picture 2: The library overlooks the very picturesque Victoria Harbour on Melbourne’s Docklands.

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Picture 3: The library is Australia’s first 6 star Green Star rated public building and it is powered by solar.

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Picture 4: Although it only has a small Children’s section, there are some great interactive games for kids.



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Picture 5: Tabletop electronic touch screen applications for kids

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Picture 6: Here’s Gil tripping the light fantastic. This is an interactive game floor with images projected from the ceiling.

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Picture 7: Despite the lure of the whizz-bang electronic stuff, the huge Connect 4 set remains the most popular kid’s pursuit of all!

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Picture 8: Heading upstairs, this is The Terrace. These guys only leave the room to honour nature’s call and to get a couple of hours sleep a night.

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Picture 9: The fully-fledged performance space, with the big speakers and music hall acoustics to match.

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Picture 10: The creative suite. Not a PC in sight, just Macs.

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Picture 11: A gamer’s delight

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Picture 12: The Makerspace – 3D printers, electronics kits and other cool stuff to tinker with

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Picture 13: The sound recording studio.

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Picture 14: I wish my brother George was here

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Picture 15: The sophisticated RFID scanning setup at the front desk. Books are checked in via the RFID chute scanner and automatically deposited in the appropriate bin for reshelving.

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It is an impressive facility indeed and I recommend that you take a look if you are ever in Melbourne.

More info:

Docklands Library to be Melbourne’s most sustainable civic landmark

2 thoughts on “Is this what the library of the future looks like?”

  1. I, too, have visited this great library however I would like to comment that the external and directional signage was lacking – so I hope that this has been fixed! And due to the location of the library (at the end of the pier) it is more a ‘destination library’ and wondered if the library was positioned at the street end would they receive more foot traffic?

  2. Thanks for the comment Liz. Yes, I can attest to the library being in a far flung location – it took quite a long time to walk there! On the day I was there, the library was well populated with people, but I think you’re right, it might be even more popular if it were located more centrally.

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