City of Perth Library Opens After Three Years of Building

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi. Picture: Matt Jelonek d450627
Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi. Picture: Matt Jelonek d450627

IN what Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi describes as part of the renaissance of the east end of the city, the City of Perth Library will open tomorrow after three years of construction.

The $60 million building, in the Cathedral Square precinct, neighbours the Perth Town Hall, State Buildings and the St George’s Cathedral.

“We’re very excited by the building, we have waited a long time,” Ms Scaffidi said yesterday.

“We’ve had a library for 165 years but we’ve always been in basements or renting spaces.

“A civic building like this will do many things for the community. I liken it to being a lounge room the people can come and meet, have a coffee downstairs and enjoy learning about the city.”

Designed by architect Kerry Hill, the seven-storey building includes a history centre, dedicated children’s library, a floor for young adults, an outdoor terrace. The main reading floor features ceiling art by Andrew Nicholls.

“These days with more online books and learning opportunities there will be a lot of that occurring in the building where (Perth’s) history really began,” Ms Scaffidi said.

“We expect it to be a success and the obvious metrics will be the amount of use it receives.

“There’s already an interest in hiring after hours but the main focus is its primary use of being a library. It’s the renaissance of east end of the city, which has languished for a long time so it’s very nice to see equilibrium brought back into the CBD with the re-awakening of this precinct.”

Last Friday, Public Libraries of WA Association president Debra Summers announced her dismay at State Government funding cuts of $1.7 million to library services.

“This is the latest in a series of damaging cuts by the State Government and is a cut too deep to public libraries in WA,” Ms Summers said.

Ms Scaffidi said she was disappointed about funding cuts but they would not affect the City of Perth Library. “It won’t impact on us as much as it will impact on a lot of other smaller local government authorities.”