Friday 4 December 2020

East Melbourne Library - where elegance and books met

Hidden gem. Cliche as it may sound, I can’t think of two better words to describe the East Melbourne Library more perfectly. Dare I say, this is the prettiest contemporary-designed library in Melbourne (or perhaps, almost on par with the Library at the Dock), with the most secretive location (you won’t see it unless you purposely look for it). The facade of the building reminds me of an elegant, sophisticated and modern lady that pushes boundary, not afraid to be seen, but not in a frantic mood to demand any limelight.
You will be captured by the fluidity and transparency of its glass material. The diamond-quilted panels matches well with the slightly angular structure and that not quite symmetrical exterior view. A spacious verandah sets itself apart from the quiet residential terraced houses. Benches, bike racks, and the surrounding greenery of plants, shrubs and trees. It’s welcoming, and no doubt, irresistibly attractive. Step in, and you would be greeted by the echoing acoustic and an inviting amount of natural light. It’s quiet, with very few people. It feels “under used” (just like the Library at the Dock). There is a lovely space for children with books that look too new for a public library standard. You would also find a basket filled to the brink with interesting costumes of princesses, wizards, bumble bee and many more. Also available, a computer with educative games, and kid-sized tables for colouring fun. But other that, not many toys around (unlike the Kathleen Syme Library).
What I love most are the outdoor seats at the rear of the building. That’s the place where we get to have a little peaceful “alfresco dining” with our pre-packed snacks. It’s an awesome ground for my four-year-old boy and his mates to run-around (many times, in their dressed-up costumes) when we have our occasional weekend playdates. East Melbourne Library is probably not as exciting, vibrant, and loud as many of its Melbourne counterparts. It’s for those who want to enjoy an undisturbed afternoon of reading pleasure. It’s also for the architectural lovers who want to learn more about sustainability, ESD strategies, clever urban planning, renewable energy adoption, recyclable fit-outs and design (the building won the 2007 IDEA awards for sustainability).
And if you prefer the magic of sweet-smelling new books that feel almost untouched, look no further, this is the library for you.
Useful tips: Address: 122 George Street East Melbourne VIC 3002 Opening time: Due to the Covid-19 situation, the library opening times may vary. Latest updates can be found HERE. Nearest train station: Jolimont Station (300 metres, around 5 minutes walk) Nearest tram stop: Stop 12 by routes 48 or 75 Located further east of Fitzroy Garden, 1 minute walk away.

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