Earlier this year I visited the Mitchelton Library. It was a warm and friendly library, but it was a little bit boring. What I didn’t know was that they were about to undergo a massive refurbishment, the first of a series planned for Brisbane City Libraries.
So I was delighted to be invited to the official opening of the refurbished library. It was a stunning day for it, though cold, and Mr Pilot, Squirm and I were looking forward to seeing the changes. I have to say, however, I didn’t expect the changes to be as big as they were!
The first big change is a gorgeous, wheel chair accessible (accessibility was built in throughout the library) organic garden at the front of the library. This garden, which will be maintained by a local gardening group, is big on the citrus, and this created the theme which was repeated throughout the library.
The inside was as impressive as the outside, with new seating areas, an updated meeting area and new flourishes throughout. The citrus tree theme was repeated throughout – in wall decorations, in the signs at the ends of shelves, even in the addition of green stripes to the glass doors.
A large deck is also a new addition, opening the library out to the park. There are work areas, chairs and tables and deck chairs – perfect for snuggling up with a book. I really love that this is becoming a feature of the ‘park libraries’ integrating them better with their environments. The aim is to get a coffee van style cafe set up there, which will be brilliant.
Then there was the kids and young adult areas . . .
The kids area is quite simply amazing. It has adopted a cafe theme while continuing the citrus theme through the colours used and the wooden tree shapes around the edges. The area draws you in with plenty of comfy couches, and the books set up in low and wall shelves. I loved how a window shaped shelf was used to hold some of the series! There was a small pretend play area for cafe, an awesome Duplo board (which Squirm and Mr Pilot both adored) and one of those downward projectors which we’ve loved at some of the bigger libraries. There’s a chalk board for drawing, and a curtain which can be pulled across to separate the kids area from the young adults.
The young adults area continues the cafe theme, with cafe booth style tables (perfect for studying). But the biggest draw there is sure to be the interactive table – it was great to see people of all ages checking it out while we were there.
While the actual library is amazing, so was the event which was put on to open it. The local radio station was broadcasting, there were activities for the kids, music being played and displays from a few community groups. We were fortunate enough to enjoy one of the story times, though Squirm did go unusually shy throughout! The theme was even replicated here, with the whole story time based around trees! (I also noted that the tea provided fit the theme – peppermint, orange pekoe and lemon scented – those are the kind of details which really please me!)
The Lord Mayor of Brisbane came to officially open the library and I was very impressed by his speech. Along with talking about other refurbishments, he spoke about how libraries should be accessible to the community, and that they need to be places where the community comes together. This was evident in the refurbishment of the Mitchelton Library, which I think will be embraced by the local community and those who travel to it. I know I’m looking forward to taking Squirm again.
If you get a chance, go and check this library out. I’m sure you’ll be as impressed as we were!
Important Information about Mitchelton Library
37 Heliopolis Parade, Mitchelton
Open Tuesday to Saturday
Parking is available at the side of the library and on the street.