New City of Perth library going strong after a year

City of Perth Library.
City of Perth Library.

PERTH’s new library has seen almost half-a-million people through its doors in its first year.

The award-winning City of Perth building has hosted a broad spectrum of arts and cultural events since opening in March 2016.

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said new membership had grown by more than 16,000 in one year.

“Some of the highlights so far include a book launch with actor and author Richard Roxburgh for Knowledge Week, a wellness program for young adults in collaboration with Cat Haven, and the book launch of Delight and Hurt Not, a City publication about Andrew Nicholls’ magnificent ceiling artwork,” she said.

“Our new purpose-built library was always intended to create a safe, attractive and vibrant community hub for learning and engagement, and the public response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

In 1851, the life of the City of Perth Library began as the Swan River Mechanics’ Institute, established to encourage scientific thinking.

It was a small building on the corner of Hay and Pier streets.

In 1898, William Wolff built the second, grander part of the Institute with assistance from the Institute’s honorary architect J Talbot Hobbs.

Eleven years later it was renamed the Perth Literary Institute.

In 1957, Institute invited the City of Perth to take over management and ownership, and by October, the City was operating the first free-lending library for adults in Perth.

It was housed in Council House, on the lower ground floor, from 1963 until 1995 before moving to the Law Chambers building, which was knocked down to make way for the building it now occupies.