City of Melbourne libraries

Over the years, the City of Melbourne’s libraries have grown significantly and are of varying sizes and characteristics that serve different needs across the municipality.

Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, our six libraries recorded about 1.5 million visits a year. They include:

  • City Library
  • North Melbourne Library
  • Kathleen Syme Library
  • Library at The Dock
  • Southbank Library at Boyd Community Hub
  • East Melbourne Library.

Our libraries provide safe, equitable and affordable access to services, learning and technology. They also play a vital role in distributing resources, celebrating local culture, fostering a distinct sense of place and cultivating social understanding.

Libraries are valued as a source of knowledge and learning as well as their capacity to foster connections between people and place. With so much at stake for so many, it is important we plan our libraries well.

City of Melbourne libraries

Select each spot to learn more about our libraries.

What is a library?

Public libraries promote the free flow of information and ideas in the interests of all Australians and support a thriving culture and democracy. They are essential to:

  • Enabling everyone to participate in and contribute to society.
  • Contributing to social inclusion and connection.
  • Supporting the educational and economic wellbeing of individuals, communities and the nation.

Public libraries welcome everyone and most services are free. They aim to remove barriers to participation for people from diverse backgrounds, and to promote equity of access to information, activities and resources.

Public libraries support literacy in all its forms and in all phases of life, from early childhood onwards. They foster:

  • a love of reading
  • lifelong learning
  • the free expression of ideas
  • arts, culture and creativity
  • local heritage and family history
  • cyber-safety and digital inclusion.

Libraries connect people and communities in a way no other public institution can. They also activate and enliven their environs, contributing to the economic stimulus of surrounding districts. Purposeful partnerships with cultural organisations, and other service providers, can extend the reach and impact of libraries into neighbourhoods, city streets and local business.

Adapting to change

Prior to COVID-19, Melbourne was one of the world’s fastest growing and most culturally diverse cities. This meant our services needed to evolve in response to community needs and expectations. Over the years, our libraries have grown significantly in line with that need.

Libraries are more important than ever in a post-COVID world. We anticipate people will increasingly come to rely on libraries for access to information and technology, for help with finding jobs, and for social connection.

We want to know what you value in a library. Tell us what you'd like to see by completing our survey.

Future Libraries Framework