The City Library, the first free lending library the Melbourne CBD has seen in decades, is an exciting development in the life of Melbourne, operated by Melbourne Library Service and provides a range of services to CAE staff and learners as well as the workers and visitors to Melbourne. The rules of the traditional Library have been challenged, the design responds in the following ways. The philosophy of the project was to rework the typology of library in order to create a new model, and to create a warm and welcoming environment that nevertheless sat comfortably with the ‘gritty’ Flinders Lane context.
The City Library represents the fusion of many different uses in the creation of a new integrated model. The City Library offers vibrant community spaces for everyone to enjoy including a cafe, gallery, information technology labs, and a conference venue, meeting rooms for community groups to hire; Gallery and projections; free Internet and word processing. These are all spatially woven together with more traditional elements such as book stacks, reading rooms and quiet study areas, organized around a central public space, housed together with the CAE learning spaces, fusing the public and institutional into a socially sustainable community.