The Fun, Interactive Melbourne Libraries That Are So Much More Than Books!
- Mums & Bubs
Libraries are a fantastic place to not only borrow a book, but to connect with your community, learn something new or, let's admit it, take advantage of the free wi-fi!
Modern libraries usually have a great kids' area, and Melbourne is no exception – but here are the libraries kicking it up a notch when it comes to fun facilities...
State Library Victoria Children's Quarter
The epitome of 'more-than-just-a-library' libraries in Melbourne, State Library Victoria has undergone a massive redevelopment and swung open the doors to its reimagined space. Five years and $88+ million in the making, Australia’s oldest and busiest public library promises free access to world-class resources, fantastic new spaces and creative technologies including the new Children’s Quarter. The amazing multilevel creative space and reading hub for children and families is designed with a split-level storybook castle, reading nooks, a maker-space, a running track, pram parking, upgraded family rooms and a brand new browsing children’s book collection. Plus they will be hosting a program of inspiring kids activities and development opportunities. The top floor will be dedicated to eight to 12-year-olds, while the ground floor will be a tactile sensory wonderland for children newborns to seven-year-olds.
Where: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne
Hours: Monday - Thursday 10am-9pm; Friday-Sunday 10am-6pm.
The Craigieburn Library is your one-stop-shop for culture, encompassing a community art gallery, kindergarten, cafe, and gathering space as part of the Hume Global Learning Centre.
Its design has won several awards (including 'International Public Library of the Year'), and is built as a series of interlocking pavilions of varying height and scale that extend into the landscape through louvred roofs to create a series of northern verandahs – perfect for indoor/outdoor visiting!
Find it: 75-95 Central Park Avenue, Craigieburn
Hours: Monday - Thursday 10am–8pm; Friday 10am–5pm; Saturday 10am–4pm; Sunday 1–4pm.
Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre
Inside the beautiful 142-year-old facade at Kathleen Syme Library, you'll find a comprehensive library, learning and training rooms, a computer lab, recording studio, meeting rooms, community activity spaces, and free wifi. The latest upgrade to the centre was focused on opportunities for local, vulnerable and disadvantaged people to be empowered and participate in community life. Ten per cent of the books on offer are in foreign languages, to cater for the diversity of its nearby residents.
The children's space is a favourite among Melbourne mums, with toys and games, as well as books, and we recommend you don't miss a trip to the social enterprise, Wild Timor Coffee Co, cafe right next door for a hot chocolate or snack.
Where: 251 Faraday St, Carlton
Hours: Monday - Thursday 10am–7pm; Friday 10am–6pm; Saturday 10am–5pm; Sunday 12–5pm.
Fancy a fireplace in your library? Me too! You'll find one at Eltham Library - a gorgeous, award-winning, heritage-listed community space, situated next to parklands and cafes on Panther Place.
Kids can get their craft on in the beautifully-designed children's hub, as well as read the books on offer on any of the bright, child-friendly furniture, and play outside in the extensive forest area.
Where: Panther Pl, Eltham
Hours: Monday - Thursday 10am–8:30pm; Friday 10am–5pm; Saturday 10am–5pm; Sunday 1–5pm.
This architect's dream is a utopia for kids, with the children's area of the Dandenong Library featuring bean bags and cosy places to sit and read, kids' computers on small-sized furniture and gorgeous, curved shelves holding a treasure trove of age-appropriate books.
Huge windows let in tons of light, and we love the spacious seating levels and cool floating cloud light fixtures. It's a great place to play when the weather outside is frightful! If the sun is shining, there is plenty of space to run around in and climb things outside. The library also has a full catalogue of special events and programs.
Where: 225 Lonsdale St, Dandenong
Hours: Monday - Friday 9am–9pm; Saturday 10am–5pm; Sunday 12–5pm.
Far more than just a bookworm's paradise, Braybrook Library is whole community hub also includes a kitchen, sports pavilion, a multi-faith room, tons of family facilities, an early learning centre, community garden, child and community health services and, of course, fun activities for kids such as baby rhyme time and school holiday events.
Excitingly, there's an aeroplane-themed playground next door in Braybrook Park's Aeroplane Park. As well as the cool play area, the community zone also has exercise equipment, open lawn areas, a bike track, an upgraded community garden and a picnic area.
Where: 107-139 Churchill Ave, Braybrook
Hours: Monday - Tuesday 10am–8pm; Wednesday - Friday 10am-4pm; Saturday 10am–4pm; Sunday 2–5pm.
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