The renaissance of public libraries

The award winning Green Square underground library is one shining example of a new generation of libraries, built as community centres and multi-functional spaces for study, work and leisure.

In the past libraries were quiet places, ruled by nerdy librarians, full of dusty books, homes of childhood memories. Their certain death was declared when the internet took over every aspect of our lives and e-readers threatened to kill physical books. But just like books, libraries have experienced a renaissance.

Modern libraries are not just for serious studying, they often have kids’ corners and spaces where little ones can spend time with books and other content carrying media. Many of them are showcases of exciting and inviting architecture and provide WiFi, great coffee and comfortable spaces to read and work surrounded by inspiring books.

Green Square Library (9)

A June 2015 report entitled, “NYC Libraries by the Numbers,” starts with

“In today’s information economy, New York City’s public libraries have become dynamic learning environments with an uncommonly wide range of services and resources. No longer just book repositories, libraries are places where teens can geek out on computers, the unemployed can improve their resumes, and immigrants can learn and practice English. They are community spaces where people are encouraged to share stories and impart advice, where volunteers can donate their skills and teach a class on knitting or film editing. They are platforms for community organizations and neighborhood groups, and resources for budding entrepreneurs and hobbyists.”


Here are some suggestions if you want to experience Sydney’s best new libraries:

  • State Library of NSW – recently re-opened library with extensive reference collections and a learning centre for kids
  • The Exchange Darling Square Library – high tech library with thousands of books as well as an ideas lab with 3D printers and a maker space
  • Marrickville Library – newly opened inner west jewel on the site of a former hospital
  • Surry Hills Library – bring your macbook
  • Waverley Library – Double Bay without the chic
  • Customs House Library – distracting views of the Opera House