Opening one for the books

Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi at the launch and opening of the Perth City Library, three years in the making. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au   d450627
Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi at the launch and opening of the Perth City Library, three years in the making. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au 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 is scheduled to open today 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 loungeroom the people can come and meet in, have a coffee downstairs and enjoy learning about the city.”

The seven-storey building has been designed by architect Kerry Hill and includes a history centre, dedicated children’s library, a floor for young adults and an outdoor terrace.

The main reading floor features ceiling art by Andrew Nicholls.

“We expect it to be a success and the obvious metrics will be the amount of use it receives,” Ms Scaffidi said.

“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.”

Public Libraries of WA Association president Debra Summers said last Friday she was dismayed 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,” she said.