“Libraries really are the gates to the future.”

– Neil Gaiman
Geelong Library interior, long white shelves are stacked neatly with books on two levels, the upper level with a balcony. Two people sit at white tables in the foreground.
Geelong Library main public reading area

I have many fond memories of trips to the various libraries around Geelong, the city where I grew up. My most vivid memories are of the central library which stood on the site of the new building I visited recently. 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. It was also where I discovered the joys of leaving with as many books as I could carry and my library card would allow. And it was a place my sister and I spent hours lounging in beanbags in the kids reading area. 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.

Why do libraries matter?

I recently read an article by Neil Gaiman, my favourite living author, on the importance of libraries. It gave me 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
Geelong Library exterior, a domed pale pink building with geometric windows is just visible behind large green trees in a park.
Geelong Library exterior, visible through Johnson’s Park

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

Geelong Library interior, round white tables are seen from above. A person sits at one table reading a newspaper, another table has an array of graphic novels spread on it.
Geelong library reading area seen from above

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:

  • Chess sets on tables,
  • Semi-enclosed study chairs looking out over the park,
  • Incredible viewing deck and conference space on the top floor,
  • Multi-media center for kids (complete with video games and bean bags)
  • Ground floor will soon have a cafe (still under construction when I visited).
Geelong Library interior, long white shelves are stacked neatly with books. A red chair is visible in the foreground.
Geelong Library children’s and YA collection

X Factor: Focus on kids! A whole level dedicated to books for children and teens. It features 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.

Let me know in the comments your favourite library memory!

Geelong Library interior, long white shelves are stacked neatly with books. A sign read 'classic literature'.
Geelong Library classic literature collection

Keen to explore more literary locations in Victoria? Check out my guides to:
Daylesford & Castlemaine
The Melbourne Book Market
Melbourne Bookstores

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Tamsien - Babbling Books
Photographer, stylist, blogger, and digital influencer from Melbourne Australia. Avid reader and lover of creative journaling.


  1. This is amazing! I have been wanting to take my daughter down to the library since we have moved and keep getting side tracked. I think tomorrow might be our day!
    I loved going to library as a kid. We had no money for books – so the library was my place (I think within a little over a year I had read most of the YA section before I was 10 haha I was always hunting for R.L Stine and Point Break Horrors haha)
    My eldest daughter has such a love of books (all my wishes come true) and my 2nd daughter loves carrying them around (although she isn’t reading yet).
    Loved the link to Neil Gaiman too – I didn’t know they had banned science fiction in China!!
    Thanks for the link

    1. I hope you made it to the library Faye! How wonderful to hear that your childhood was filled with library visits just like mine, and that you are encouraging your girls to read as well! The link is a great one, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Neil writes so eloquently! And there is now some great sci-fi coming out of China. I particularly enjoyed The Three Body Problem, which I read last year!

  2. To this day, I get more work done at the library than I ever can at home. It’s probably just habit at this point but I prefer smaller libraries that aren’t as crowded and I like going there in the afternoons. I’m far less likely to procrastinate at the library too!

    1. Oh I definitely agree with you, there is something about the atmosphere of a library that really helps me get stuck into my work, and to focus for much longer. I guess there are less distractions, but also I feel like I should really be working and not watching silly cat videos!

  3. I’ve always under estimated our local library but since our first child was born we’ve really grown to appreciate all the services they provide to our community. My son loves going to ‘rhyme time’ at the library and it’s a great chance for my wife to meet up with other Mothers in the area too.

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