Residents of the City of Whittlesea’s rapidly growing northern suburbs will have greater access to knowledge and resources when two new library services are rolled out in 2023.
At Monday night’s Council Meeting, Administrators resolved to establish a community library in the Mernda Town Centre and a library hub at the Kirrip Community Centre in Wollert East.
The decision reinforces the City of Whittlesea’s commitment to providing free, safe and accessible library services, and helps meet the growing demand for library services.
City of Whittlesea Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said the decision is in response to identified community need and growth, and follows considerable community interest in a library service for both Mernda and Wollert in past community budget submissions.
“Libraries play an incredibly important role in the lives of many people, with more than 1.15 million people – or one in every six Victorians – visiting libraries in person each year,” she said.
The Mernda Town Centre community library, located in a 200sqm retail space within the shopping centre, will feature seating, reading and workspace areas and public computers and printing access. It will also be run in conjunction with Council’s community services with programs also delivered by our Youth Development team.
Established in partnership with Yarra Plenty Regional Library, the facility will also provide residents with easy access to programs and resources until a permanent library is built in the town centre precinct in the future.
Chair Administrator Wilson said locating the community library as part of the shopping centre would make it easier for locals to access information, technology and connect with their community.
“Being located near public transport in the Mernda Town Centre means there will be fewer barriers to access for the community.”
Ms Wilson said the experience of the interim library and community programs will be used to help shape the features of the permanent library in Mernda in the years ahead.
“The community library will provide Council with the opportunity to trial a range of services that will inform the design and functionality of the permanent facility,” she said.
The Mernda community library is expected to open in the shopping centre in August 2023.
The Kirrip Community Centre library hub, located in the foyer of the De Rossi Boulevard facility in Wollert East, will provide the fast-growing population with new educational and social development opportunities.
The hub will feature bookshelves, adult and children’s seating, self-checkout kiosk and returns area, with collection items available in a variety of languages.
The Kirrip Community Centre library hub is expected to open by the end of 2023.
The City of Whittlesea’s Yarra Plenty Regional Library branches are in Lalor, Mill Park, Thomastown and Whittlesea, mobile bus library stops in Doreen, Epping North and Mernda, and community hubs in Donnybrook and Galada.