Written by Jes Layton
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A favourite of Melbourne’s inner suburbs, Library at the Dock is one of the City of Melbourne’s six public libraries and four community hubs. The Library at the Dock—built mostly of engineered timber and reclaimed hardwood—faces north along the waterfront and takes advantage of a spectacular view of the sun across the harbour with its full length windows and eco-friendly design.
The library is designed to optimise natural lighting. With both solar power and water collection from the roof, coupled together with a passive ventilation design and constructed using cross laminated timber (CLT) technology, the building achieves a six-star Green Star rating awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia. The Library at the Dock has won several other sustainable architecture and design awards since opening in May 2014.
Offering both traditional and digital catalogues, quiet study areas, free Wi-Fi and a café, the Library at the Dock is a community space that feels open and warm not only in the hue of the sun. Its community spaces can be booked for meetings, local community run events while the library itself offers free workshops, events and activities that run regularly throughout the year.
The Library at the Dock sits as the centrepiece of Victoria Harbour’s civic heart. With an outdoor playground and evergreen garden (both a delight for the younger visitors) the library also houses an enormous children’s section with spiralling curved bookshelves and seats integrated into the shelving. There are a few large screens mounted on the wall and set into a large table for educational and interactive games.
Operating as a hub for locals with meeting, multipurpose, performance, exhibition and gallery spaces (and even a recording studio) the library is a mixed space for the community to come together, create, meet, learn and play.