Along with several hundred locals and other interested parties I attended the opening of the St Peters Library on Saturday. The Norwood, Paynham & St Peters Council has re-purposed the original St Peters Town Hall to become a library and cultural heritage centre. This is fitting, as the role of town halls as meeting spaces and places for public lectures etc has in part been replaced by the role of the public library in the 21st Century. (Also the amalgamated council has a very large town hall in Norwood which still operates to fulfil other "town hall" like functions.)
While there was some local disquiet about the changes, from my perspective the council has made good use of their limited space, and a disused building to create a modern library which will meet the needs of the community for years to come. The addition of a mezzanine floor to house their non-fiction collection, and access upstairs meeting rooms has increased the available total floor space quite well. And the use of the front rooms of the building to concentrate on the history of area looks great. It will be interesting to see how this area develops over time.
Being able to attract $5M in Federal Grant money certainly helped in ensuring that the conversion has been done well and with high quality fixtures and fittings.
The new library is part of a broader plan to also re-develop St Peters Street which runs alongside the new library. It will be an ANZAC memorial strip finished in time to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign. When this work is completed it will provide an area that can be converted into a pedestrian plaza for community events.
Congratulations to the council and its staff on this outcome. The library staff have achieved both joining the LMS and moving to a new building over the last 12 months - quite an achievement.
I should have used my phone to take a few pics on Saturday, but didn't. However I have popped back to the library - not jam packed with people & taken a few pics.
And while photos are great they can never really do justice to things, so I would recommend a visit if you're in the neighbourhood.
|This is one of the new entrances that also connects the "town hall" (now library) to the rest of the council office. The shot is taken from the carpark.|
|The new entrance facing into St Peters st, with new landscaping|
|This is the circ desk close to the entrances from each side. It is sitting under the mezzanine floor which can be seen above.|
|Blending the old with the new. The decorative plasterwork is retained and the shelves fit under it nicely. The stairs to the mezzanine can also be seen.|
|Some of the seating on the mezzanine - amongst the ANF collection|
|Coffee machine upstairs|
|Upstairs large meeting room with locked book cases with local history items|
|Childrens library with a variety of seating|
|more childrens library|
|DVDs and CD along the wall|