Libraries are a great place to unwind, discover a new author and dive into a seemingly endless sea of stories.
Books are often intended to transport you to another world, but in these beautiful libraries, you’ll be happy staying right where you are. We found some of Australia’s best libraries to enjoy a good read.
Marrickville Library, Marrickville NSW
If modernism is your thing, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the new Marrickville library. Built on the site of the old Marrickville hospital, the library combines sleek new design with the architectural integrity of the original structure. Both antique and innovative at the same time, the Marrickville Library is bound to catch your attention. You may not even want to read any books when you get there because you’ll be so wrapped up by the surroundings. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of books available – the library hosts 85,000 of them. You’ll probably never run out of things to read here.
Green Square, Zetland NSW
Another brand new library to satisfy your luxurious literary desires is the Green Square Library. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this new development is the fact that it’s pretty much entirely underground. Nothing can prepare you for how large it actually is on the inside, with numerous study spaces, computers and meeting rooms. There are also plenty of other rooms to rent, including a music room with its own piano. All this, and somehow they still managed to fit in a subterranean garden, open air amphitheatre and 6-storey glass tower. There’s so much more to see than just books at Green Square.
Murray Bridge Library, Murray Bridge SA
Some consider the Murray Bridge Library to be the most beautiful in Australia. It certainly catches the eye, with a vibrant, contemporary style that welcomes anyone who gives it a visit. In addition to the usual library amenities, Murray Bridge also has a café where people can meet or chat. There also plenty of events and exhibitions that take place at Murray Bridge throughout the year. But don’t forget about the books. Murray Bridge has plenty of those, too.
Cobram Library and Learning Centre, Cobram VIC
Cobram library is older than the other libraries on this list, so you could say it has the experience factor. The library has been extremely successful in offering community members, mostly students, a proper space to curate productivity and learning. The library also takes design elements from the nearby river, resulting in flowing, wavy architecture you likely won’t find anywhere else. It may not be as colourful as some other libraries, but’s certainly one of the most stylish and full of useful resources.
State Library Victoria, Melbourne VIC
One of Australia’s most classical libraries, originally known as the Melbourne Public Library, just received a massive renovation. There’s still plenty of history and classism for you to explore, but it’s been completely re-envisioned for the modern era. Mixing classic white pillars with sleek hardwood, the design of the new State Library is sure to please architecture buffs. And all your favourite books are still available, as well as many more new ones. You can even access most of the content digitally now, so if you can’t go to the library, it can come to you.
State Library of New South Wales, Sydney NSW
What began as a small library for colonials in the 1820s eventually expanded to one of Australia’s grandest. The State Library of NSW boasts a rich collection of literature, galleries and cultural and learning programs. The library is dedicated to preserving materials and evidence so that can be easily accessed by anyone around the world. It encourages research, debate and learning with its vast collection and opportunities. This isn’t a library you go to just read, this is the library with so many different experiences to offer.
Barr Smith Library, Adelaide SA
The University of Adelaide is one of Australia’s top universities, so it makes sense that it would have one of the country’s best libraries too. Its a well-established haven for book worms with an extensive history servicing university students. As a university library, it also has access to many special collections, archives and recordkeeping. Barr Smith gives you access to historical archives and literature not available elsewhere.
Surry Hills Library, Surry Hills NSW
Sustainability is one of the biggest things in building design right now, and Surry Hills Library nails it. In fact, it received multiple awards for incorporating sustainability principles into its design. The library is one of Sydney’s flagship buildings, with four floors, a community centre and even a childcare centre. It’s in one of the city’s most packed areas and open all week, making it accessible for all readers. It’s full of great spaces for reading and studying. There’s even a dedicated children’s corner on the first floor.
City of Perth Library, Perth WA
The City of Perth Library goes far beyond being a library. The building covers 3,500 square metres across seven floors, making it one of the largest libraries in the country. The library has numerous meeting rooms, an auditorium and even a terrace for nature lovers. Having been housed in many locations in the past, the newest iteration of the City of Perth Library is its grandest. The library features a 13-metre tall garden and a ceiling mural based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. There are also multiple glass facades and stone columns that line the building, giving it a classical feel with a distinctly modern design.
State Library of Queensland, Brisbane QLD
Queensland’s premier library is the place to be for political or history buffs; it hosts a large amount of Queensland’s documentary heritage and research collections. If you’re more interested in new stuff, the library also has a digital culture centre called The Edge and a free coworking space called the Business Studio which supports start-ups and small businesses. The library also provides special services to Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders to support them in Australia’s constantly changing landscape. Not to mention the massive number of books available in the library’s collection. The State Library of Queensland is a cultural centre in addition to a library.