Carlton Library, Melbourne, Australia

A Library Planet post by Fiona Kells.

The Carlton Library is on Rathdowne Street in North Carlton, a popular and populous inner-city suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

This is a well loved community library. I visited on a very rainy Wednesday afternoon, just before sitting down to dinner at Chin Chin’s at Koto Moon, just a few steps away. Highly recommend both the Library and the restaurant!

The Carlton Library is housed in a modern building designed by architects Sinclair Knight Merz, making it unmissable among the traditional late Victorian architecture for which the suburb is notable.

The library is surrounded by terrace houses, awninged shops, cafes and restaurants. During our early university years, my husband and I lived nearby and regularly visited. We also haunted Alice’s Bookshop (since moved) and the various cafes and pubs nearby.

A plaque near the entrance doors bears a quote by Ray Bradbury: ‘Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.’ A pertinent and apt reminder of what we owe to these much neglected and very valuable public institutions.

The Carlton Library is a small library, but every inch is put to good use. It is cosy and comfortable and the large windows provide ample light and views. There is also a courtyard with seating.

The Library features a dedicated children’s area, (limited) study desks with power points, free wi-fi and computers for members to use. Newspapers and magazines are freely available and members can access a range of children’s and adult fiction and non-fiction book’s, DVDs, CDs and audio books along with digital material such as eBook and eMagazines.

The staff are helpful and friendly. The Library hosts a number of regular events for adults and children such as Babytime, Storytime, Art Lab, Maker Lab and Textiles Lab. It also hosts regular after-hours events including author encounters and poetry readings.

There is a meeting room on the second level which is available for hire. Printing, photocopying and scan-to-PC facilities are also available for a fee.

The Library is across the road from the lovely Curtin Square. This is a great place for kids and dogs (separate play areas for each). My girls have often cut loose on the play equipment and we have also enjoyed the odd picnic on the grass. This is a tranquil and inviting part of Melbourne.

The Carlton Library is open seven days a week. It is a member of the Yarra Libraries network.


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