Tuesday, April 23, 2024

New library for Queen Vic Market precinct

The Queen Victoria Market precinct will soon be home to the City of Melbourne’s newest library.

​At Tuesday’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting, councillors endorsed a proposal to use three floors of the Council-owned community hub at the $450 million Munro development for a new library. 

Lord Mayor, Sally Capp said libraries had become the new must-have neighbourhood accessory, and that a library in the city’s north would improve access for residents and activate the growing precinct. 

“We’re expecting 24,000 new residents in the area by 2040, so we want to provide additional community facilities to meet the needs of a growing population,” the Lord Mayor said. 

“The Munro community hub location will make it easier for local residents to access library services, while also driving visitation to the precinct and encouraging creativity and innovation.” 

The 3,100m² community library will feature a rooftop terrace for outdoor reading and activities, and new community spaces, meeting rooms, a commercial kitchen and an auditorium. The library’s spaces, services and programs will be designed with input from First Nations peoples. 

The Lord Mayor said a recent review of Council’s plans for the site found childcare was not the most suitable use of the space. 

“When Council first drew up its plans for Munro in 2014, there was high demand for childcare in the city’s north to support local residents and workers. New data suggests that gap has largely been filled by not-for-profit and private operators,” she said. 

The Munro library will add to the municipality’s existing network of six library branches, and could open by early 2023. 

Creative Melbourne portfolio lead, Councillor Jamal Hakim said enhancing Council’s library facilities would benefit the wider community.  

“Prior to the pandemic, the City of Melbourne’s libraries were visited by almost 1.5 million people a year and they provided free access to more than 230,000 physical items,” Cr Hakim said. 

“Libraries are an important part of our social and economic infrastructure, providing valuable places for people to connect and access services.” 

The Munro site was purchased by the City of Melbourne in 2014. The Munro project is part of Council’s Queen Victoria Market precinct renewal, and will feature retail outlets, a boutique hotel, build-to-rent residential apartments and a community hub. 

The library will form part of a $70 million community hub which will be home to family services, shared work spaces, and affordable housing units.  

Construction of the five-storey community hub was completed in September, and will now be fit-out for use. A 500-space underground car park for market customers opened in July.

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