“Libraries really are the gates to the future.” – Neil Gaiman
I have many fond memories of trips to the various libraries around Geelong, the city where I grew up, and particularly of the central library which stood on the site of the new building I visited recently, and review below. It was the place where I hunted for Saddle Club or Babysitters Club books to read and cross off on my hand-written list of titles, where I discovered the joys of leaving with as many books as I could carry and my library card would allow. It was also a place my sister and I spent hours lounging in beanbags in the kids reading area while my dad browsed for cds, magazines in different languages, comic books or whatever he happened to be interested in. Of all the physical spaces that loom large in my childhood memories that library sits beside my childhood home, and local parks as a place I’ll never forget.
After reading an article by Neil Gaiman, my favourite living author, on the importance of libraries I have a greater appreciation of the social and cultural importance of libraries, beyond my personal love of them as spaces that house books I love. You can read the full article here, but the part that stood out to me was this:
“We have an obligation to support libraries. To use libraries, to encourage others to use libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.” – Neil Gaiman
So it might the the oddest looking building I have seen, appearing to be a giant brain rising out of the park, but I am proud of my hometown for investing in the future, and for valuing information, culture and the voices of the past. If you happen to be visiting Geelong, or regional Victoria I highly recommend you check out The Dome!
Geelong Library (The Dome)
51 Little Malop St, Geelong VIC Australia 3220
The recently rebuilt Geelong Library is unusual looking but an impressive achievement in making knowledge accessible to everyone. With 6000 square meters of space across 5 public levels the library has a HUGE range of books, as well as a variety of multi-use spaces that were all being enjoyed by visitors of all ages when I dropped in. Some of my favourite features were the chess sets on tables, the semi-enclosed study chairs looking out over the park, the incredible viewing deck and conference space on the top floor, the multi-media center for kids (complete with video games and bean bags), and the ground floor will soon have a cafe (still under construction when I visited).
X Factor: Focus on kids! A whole level dedicated to books for children and teens, including a huge selection of picture books, costumes, computers, manga, video game consoles, middle grade and YA novels. It’s a paradise to encourage kids of all ages to develop a love of reading.
Click on any of the images below to enlarge, and let me know in the comments your favourite library memory!