Campaspe Regional Library, Echuca, Victoria, Australia

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Entrance to the Library

Name of the Library: Campaspe Regional Library
Parent Organisation: Shire of Campaspe

Street Address: 310 Hare Street, Echuca, 3564, Victoria, Australia
Postal Address: PO Box 35, Echuca, 3564, Victoria, Australia
Telephone :61354812400
Web Address: http://www.campaspe.vic.gov.au/library
Library Email: libraries@ campaspe.vic.gov.au/library

Type of Library :Central/ Main Library , Regional Library
Population served:46,000
Project Type:  New Building
Size (square metres):1300
Date of Completion: 24/08/2014
Architect:Brian Mathieson, Perrott Lyon Mathieson

 

View of the river from the Library
View of the river from the Library

Description
Although a very long time in the planning, it has certainly been worth the wait.  The new Campaspe Regional Library in Echuca was officially opened on August 24, 2012 and since that first moment it has been embraced by the community and it has certainly become the community hub it was destined to be.

The previous library which served the Echuca/Moama district for over 50 years was in a very small and inadequate building with only 280sqm of public floor space.  A collection of close to 40,000 was literally bursting at the seams, let alone the difficulty to provide comfortable and welcoming spaces for people and the provision of technology related items.

For many years the Campaspe Shire sought to find the most appropriate location for this well used and popular community facility.  In 2010 Council decided to proceed with the construction of a new building on the corner of Hare and Heygarth Street, Echuca.  An absolutely perfect position with the mighty Murray River and the riverine environment as a backdrop while still remaining close to the CBD and other Council services.

The architects worked very diligently with the community and a range of stakeholders to ensure that the design was sensitive to the environment, as well as being respectful of the War Memorial which was situated on the south west corner of the available footprint.  It was important to retain a sense of transparency through to the rivergums and the river and also desirable from within the building to be have a sense of connectedness and harmony with the environment.   This was achieved and the view over the river, the Port of Echuca and the paddlesteamers passing by is the envy of many.   A very quiet and respectful part of the library is situated behind the War Memorial which allows for a sense of reverence and contemplation.  Special collections including two privately donated military collections add to this atmosphere in beautifully designed cabinets along the western wall.

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External building features include pre-loved timbers from the recently decommissioned historic wharf, specially designed ironbark canopies draw you in to the library.  There is a marvellous book feature to the left of the front entry doors which highlights all the other service points the library serves.  Local indigenous emblems have been incorporated into the signage throughout the building.  The design is pragmatic, yet iconic and is very identifiable as a library.

Internal features include flexible shelving, with about 60% being mobile.  There are two meeting rooms which can be accessed after hours without impacting on the security of the rest of the library.  Everything is situated on one level and is very accessible to all ages and abilities.  The amenities include a beautiful parent’s room, thus providing a very important facility for residents and visitors to the region.   The building has been designed in a way so that whatever the weather may be outside it will draw in the natural light with skylights right through the middle, as well as alcoves protecting the patrons from the harsh summer sun and gorgeous full length glass windows that allow the winter sun in.   The youth area features gaming units and custom designed banquette booths that encourage young people to sit, study and socialise together.  Locally donated wooden tables and chairs add to the ambience of the building and are very conducive for studying, either in groups or individually.  The library was opened in the National Year of Reading and there are two large signs within the library that will serve as an ongoing legacy and reminder of this special year.

A number of partnerships have assisted with providing special collections and resources including the Friends of the Library who raised enough money to furnish the library throughout.  The Echuca
Lions Club provided additional funding to purchase resources and assistive technology for people with impaired vision.  The library has a close relationship with the Community Living and Respite Services (CLRS) and it houses a collection for families and individuals with ASD.

There have been two noticeable changes in usage, firstly the visitation numbers through the door have gone from about 5000 per month to 15000 per month, even after nearly two years of operation this has remained steady.  And secondly it is all the activity that the library now creates with a wide variety of clubs and organisations using the building each week to meet, to learn and to socialise.   The previous library could not provide the space that now allows people to come together for clubs such as chess, cards, crochet, photography, lego, computers, knitting and more recently the inter-cultural club which welcomes CALD people to the area.   A wide range of early literacy programs are held including toddler rhymetime, storytimes, baby/parents rhymetime, holiday activities, homework help and reading clubs.  Activities for adults include book chats, book clubs, special events, music events (we even have a piano), health and wellbeing talks.  The list goes on… and on many occasions these activities are happening concurrently.   It is due to the space, the acoustic treatment and flexibility that they don’t impact on each other; they actually complement each other instead.    There is natural sense of vibrancy and warmth that is generated by the various activities that occur.

Even on a quiet day it is still lovely to walk around and watch people enjoy the space, they feel welcome and comfortable to have a coffee or byo lunch.  Accessing the electronic world we live in is encouraged with study benches, free wifi and lap top tables that look out to the river.  There is a central reading area to access the newspaper, browse the magazines, access reference material, pick up your reservation or take part in the community jigsaw.  Lots of really nice features that say this is a library, you are welcome and please stay a while.

In 2013 the Campaspe Regional Library was awarded the Project Management Award Community Services and/or Development, Victoria by the Project Management Association Australia, Victoria Chapter.  It was then part of the PMAA National Awards.
A history of the project was presented in a paper to the By Design Conference in November 2013.

In 2014 the Library was awarded the Pierre Gorman Award from the State Library of Victoria to deliver the Being Connected : Libraries and Autism Project in partnership with CLRS which it is currently working on.  The project key deliverable is to undertake a sensory audit of all libraries within the region to improve their internal environment and program delivery for people with ASD.
A large number of amazing events have been held with huge visitation numbers including the Community Celebration Day, Dinosaur Exhibition from the National Dinosaur Museum, Jazz in your loungeroom, Melbourne Writers Festival, High Road to Reading, Free Comic Book Day, Winter Blues Festival, Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll, Landcare Awards and the Australian Poetry Slam regional heat 2013.

It has become a vibrant, cultural, educational and recreational facility with only more good things to come.
Awards, case studies, further information
In 2013 the Campaspe Regional Library was awarded the Project Management Award Community Services and/or Development, Victoria by the Project Management Association Australia, Victoria Chapter.  It was then part of the PMAA National Awards.
A history of the project was presented in a paper to the By Design Conference in November 2013.

In 2014 the Library was awarded the Pierre Gorman Award from the State Library of Victoria to deliver the Being Connected : Libraries and Autism Project in partnership with CLRS which it is currently working on.  The project key deliverable is to undertake a sensory audit of all libraries within the region to improve their internal environment and program delivery for people with ASD.

A large number of amazing events have been held with huge visitation numbers including the Community Celebration Day, Dinosaur Exhibition from the National Dinosaur Museum, Jazz in your loungeroom, Melbourne Writers Festival, High Road to Reading, Free Comic Book Day, Winter Blues Festival, Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll, Landcare Awards and the Australian Poetry Slam regional heat 2013.

It has become a vibrant, cultural, educational and recreational facility with only more good things to come.

 

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