The City library is our little “local secret”, that non-touristy space where a moment of serenity can be sought, a quietness amidst the all-too-familiar urban noise, and that essential place for any book lovers who can’t get enough excitement in holding a physical reading material.
When I first visited this little secretive gem many years ago quietly tucked away at Flinders Lane, the place felt dated, “hidden”, a facade so ordinary and unassuming that no other unsuspected person would look twice. The washrooms were old, the children area was uninteresting. It felt like that "forgotten" place where people visited due to habituality. It was a great contrast to its other inner Melbourne counterpart like the East Melbourne Library
sister, who distinguished itself from the rest of its "common" siblings with its iconic architectural design and tons of brand new books.
But this was long gone. The City Library has since then undergone a few facelifts. The children books area is now a pop of mystical fairy tales and magical colours: we have Pinocchio floating in a big bubble, a mural sprinkled with images of the famous Hungry Caterpillar and grinning Cheshire Cat, Mermaid and a Frog Prince, fiery dragon and a silvery unicorn, Humpty-Dumpty and a cat with its fiddle. It is now a whimsical land where fables and tales overflow, picture books filled the shelves and Kids DVDs spun around on the revolving rack.
The washrooms look brighter, more spacious, and trendier. Sometimes, piano melodies flows through the two-storeys library space when any “accomplished” pianist (defined as grade 5 or above as examined by the Australian Music Examiners Board) performs their spontaneous renditions at the upright acoustic piano displayed at the exhibition area at the upper floor.
This is also the place where multi-language materials can be found: mandarin fictions, Japanese children books, Korean DVDs, Vietnamese newspapers, or Hindi magazines. This is the place where thirst of knowledge, reading pleasure, or research needs can be quenched and satisifed with its varied of subject matters, categories and types of materials. There are also plenty of computers, printing and photocopying facilities available, and judging by the number of people browsing and typing away before each monitor, the free wifi and PC use seem to be quite a popular service loved by the members.
Recently, there are also these brown-paper packages of “mysterious books” nicely packed up in the library for anyone who game for a reading adventure. Each bag contains a selection of chosen genre: latest releases, pirate-related, Christmas-theme, baby and toddler books. I am loving the idea and always find joy picking up one of those bags!
I am glad that the library is now re-opened after a relatively long pandemic shut down. CLICK HERE
to check out the latest restrictions imposed by the library as a response of Covid-19.
Location: 253 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
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