My “new thing” this week was attending the opening of the new Adelaide City Library on Thursday 6 February. I classify it as new because it is new to me (previously heard a lot about what it would be), and it is the newest public libraries in SA.
While there are couple of entries to the library, we all used the entrance off Francis Street from Rundle Mall, and up the lift. Once entering the new City Library, after being offered a glass of wine I was taken on a tour of the new space – what a perfect entrance. The opening of the Adelaide City Library, brings together the collections from Adelaide City’s previous North Terrace branch and Grote Street branch locations. While the library may be located on the third floor, don’t let the location fool you – as the centre light well and external windows ensure the space is filled with natural light. Providing an outdoor experience is an “outside garden” area (with heat strips for winter), for those who enjoy being outside in the natural environment. My guide informed me they will be conducting a number of environmental and gardening workshops within the space.
Like many modern public libraries – it is filled with fabulous new technology. At Grote Street, there were a number of computers available as part of their digital Hub providing a learning space for today’s digital literacy skills, these are again incorporated in one larger area along with a smart TV and T-hub from Telstra. While there are a large number of PC’s for the visitors to access within the library, it was great to see an inclusion of Apple Mac computers. Unfortunately they are a rare object in modern SA public libraries – but there should be more given their ease of use especially for older users and flexible applications enabling content creation. There is also newer types of technology to get people interested such as 3D printers (and the new 3D pens) as part of their Fab Lab, run largely by community volunteers.
Rows and rows of shelving is gone as the collection doesn’t dominate the space within the library, as it is largely encompassed within the space around the library, and the shelves are incorporated into the walls around the spaces. This maximises floor space for the users, without inhibiting the access. There is also flexible space where a room can open out into a larger area, and screen pictures on the open walls as well as create an intimate area for children’s story-times developing the next generation of readers.
The look and feel of the library is modern, with clean lines, hard floors (no carpet!) and verycomfortable chairs. There are different types of chairs depending on their use and location, which helps to define the usage of the area. Signage for the collections within the library is clear and simple, and can be easy changed. In addition to this, colourful artwork has been incorporated into directional feature signage from the entrance on Francis street, to the entrance foyer and up the stairs (recommend taking the lift up, but the stairs down!), highlighting significant buildings and areas within the City of Adelaide.
Community access to the new City Library space has been enhanced – not just physical, but on-line. In addition to booking into events on-line customers can use the same system to book access to the rooms within the public library – making it much more accessible for community groups to access.
The launch itself was great as the three speakers the Lord Mayor of the City of Adelaide, SueMcKerracher (Executive Director of ALIA) and Director of Adelaide Fesitval’s Writers Week, Laura Kroetsch spoke about the importance of the contribution and value of the public library to a community…. and provide well earn praise to the Adelaide City Team. Hats off the team at Adelaide City Library – they have done a fabulous job in creating the new Adelaide City Library space.
There is no doubt there were a number of colleagues attending who were a little green, and will be visiting again with their team to provide motivation and encouragement in forward planning for their own service. There is a lot more I could write about the new City Library – however I won’t as I encourage you to visit and experience it for yourself. Huge plaudits to Ann and her team. I look forward to seeing how it evolves!