New public library officially opened

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Warrnambool's $22.8m public library is officially open.

The Warrnambool Library and Learning Centre was opened on Saturday, October 22, by Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney.

The Victorian Government contributed $16.3 million to the library, Council $3.1 million and SW TAFE $830,000 with contributions also coming from local philanthropic organisations.

The library features a modern indoor-outdoor café, public computers, exhibition and display areas, places to study, meeting rooms, and a games and digital media zone. The top floor offers a quiet reading area with views across Lake Pertobe to the ocean.

Situated at 8 Kepler Street on the campus of SW TAFE, the library comprises a three-storey building and he refurbishment of the adjoining heritage building.

The project supported around 280 jobs during construction, including 47 apprentices. More than 20 per cent of the of the project’s work hours were completed by trainees and apprentices.

“These works are providing fantastic new facilities for the community and have given vital hands-on training opportunities to TAFE students and apprentices,” Ms Tierney said.

Warrnambool Mayor Cr Vicki Jellie said the response from the community to the new library had been wonderful.

"What perhaps does not get mentioned enough is that the library has comfortably in excess of 10,000 members," Cr Jellie said.

"It would have to be close to, if not the biggest membership of any group or organisation in the city. A public library is a big deal for a large and diverse group of residents.

"The space available and the structure of the new building allows us to cater for different cohorts.

"It has the quiet, scholarly spaces for reading, research and contemplation.

"It has a vastly expanded collection of books and magazines that people can borrow.

"But it now has so much more. A Tech Zone, café, gardens and a location that integrates the library with the learning environment of the TAFE.

"Along with ensuring the design was super-functional, the architects have added considerable “wow” factor to the building’s aesthetics. The facades, ceilings, interior spaces, accessibility all contribute to a welcoming atmosphere. Once you enter you feel encouraged to explore and discover.

"This is inclusive design from the baby change room and parents’ spaces to the gender neutral amenities and lifts."