Building a New Library in North Fitzroy

23 Sep

I met with Anne Horrigan-Dixon today, from Friends of the Library in North Fitzroy, to have a chat about future directions for Libraries. She is on the Design Reference Group of the North Fitzroy Community Hub and has been behind the campaign for a Library in North Fitzroy for the past 25 years. She showed me the plans for the Community Hub. I accessed the plans from the North Fitzroy Community Hub site and linked them here. The lower level is the library of the building, the first floor  is the relocation of the Maternal Child Health Centre with Playgroup spaces and the second level is an area of community rooms providing access to multicultural senior citizens groups for meetings and activities. There is also a green rooftop outdoor space.

Upon close examination of the physical spaces, we discussed the adequacy of the spaces and what is missing. It becomes clear that the building may be inadequate and the current plans indicate there is room for an expansion of spaces. One area identified is the oversite of a teen space in the library. Gaming consoles would be a great addition here. City Library is a great example of such provision.The demographics of North Fitzroy are quite diverse and with the reopening of the High School a few years ago, it is clear that the teen demographic is growing. The local primary school is full capacity and has experienced growth for the past 5-10 years with no signs of growth abating. Another area identified is the lack of multiple zones in the library to accomodate and take account of different usage including the recognition of quiet and louder areas.

Anne has been visiting libraries that exist in community hubs in preparation for reporting to the Design Reference Group. Some areas identified include the following

  • Ensuring adequate computers for use by community. Investigating the type of computers purchased to ensure capability of multimedia production. Apple Mac discussed.
  • Ensuring adequate tables for private work and group work.
  • Comfortable and inviting seating for informal enjoyment of services.
  • multiple zones that take account of quiet and noisy areas of library spaces.
  • Larger Audio Visual enabled seminar rooms for the purpose of community access to workshops such as writing groups or other arts activities, author talks, provision of education, bookclubs etc.
  • Smaller Audio Visual enabled seminar rooms for the facilitation of small group collaborations.
  • Current technology enablement including application for connection to the NBN under the guidelines of a new building site, wireless enablement, website development with a consideration of mobile technologies, and the installation of RFID self checkout facilities.
  • Provision for information service provision of Gov 2.0 developments. Currently the plans include an information hub for Council Services being located within the library.
  • Development of Local History and Family History service.
  • Utilisation of adjacent outdoor spaces with paving and seating as an extension of the library.
  • Extending the library to include an upper level incorporating space currently not utilised but existing as a void to the library on the ground floor.
Here is a link to Standards and Guidelines for Australian Public Libraries published this year by ALIA.
We discussed a few other ideas and it became clear that the space as allocated may be insufficient. Anne is currently campaigning for a better design and the Surry Hills Library and Community Centre is suggested as an exemplar in design. The following clip is further elaboration.


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