Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

Study visit: Melbourne City Library July 31, 2014

Tucked away in a little laneway, the City Library personifies city living.

Tucked away in a little laneway, the City Library personifies city living.

I love the aesthetics of this returns section.

I love the aesthetics of this returns section.

OK, so not really pretty but functional and the concept  of zones is great. This photo shows the "Melbourne", "Travel" and part of the "Food and Cooking" sections.

OK, so not really pretty but functional and the concept of zones is great. This photo shows the “Melbourne”, “Travel” and part of the “Food and Cooking” sections.

One of the children's librarians from another MLS branch was responsible for setting this up as there is no dedicated Children's Librarian at the City branch.

One of the children’s librarians from another MLS branch was responsible for setting this up as there is no dedicated Children’s Librarian at the City branch.

Next to the lift that enables equal access for all is a beautiful display of new and/or popular resources.

Next to the lift that enables equal access for all is a beautiful display of new and/or popular resources.

This is such a wonderful gift to the community - a large range of leveled readers for those members of the community (special learning needs, adult literacy learners, ESOL/EAL learners etc) for whom the rest of the collection is too challenging.

This is such a wonderful gift to the community – a large range of leveled readers for those members of the community (special learning needs, adult literacy learners, ESOL/EAL learners etc) for whom the rest of the collection is too challenging.

Browsing shelves

Books just fly off these shelves! Titles that have just been returned (or that need a bit of circulation and are lost on the shelves) get put here so that they are more visible to the general public. Love this promotion of great (or just popular) literature!

Books just fly off these shelves! Titles that have just been returned (or that need a bit of circulation and are lost on the shelves) get put here so that they are more visible to the general public. Love this promotion of great (or just popular) literature!

Cool.

You only need one word to describe this place.

It’s so many things to so many people! Yes, it’s tiny, poky even. But somehow that doesn’t make the charm rub off. The City Library is crammed to the roof with all sorts of library delights, a place where people of all shapes and sizes, interests and desires congregate to share, learn, relax and study. I stood in the entrance for about 10 minutes waiting for my guide to arrive and in that brief time, I had made eye contact with so many people as they came in the doors that I lost count.

For the first time, I saw what a (partially) zoned library looks like as City Library has a “Travel”, “Melbourne” and a “Food and Cooking” zone where resources, fiction and non-fiction are housed together, shelved by Dewey. I have to say that I’m a convert, especially in a public library context. As a tight-fisted browser-only of “all things foodie” , I love that there was a very clearly defined area apart from the general non-fiction section where I could rest my bones and surround myself with deliciousness.

I’m really interested to see how an entire library is set out in zones, as the newly opened MLS branch, Library at the Dock. According to my host, each zone is completely interactive with art installations, fiction, non-fiction and even performance spaces related to the zone. Wow, what a concept!

Specialist librarians are responsible for their respective collection development and management across all branches, using preselected suppliers.

The City Library’s online collection, shared with the other MLS branches is so large that the staff dub it their “sixth library branch”.

Their social media presence is growing in response to research showing community preference for online interaction.

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