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New Generation Bendigo Library Meeting community needs, now and into the future

Library Re-development site manager Adrian Hall (Contract Control Services) walks through the new library with Mayor Cr Barry Lyons and Project Director Marg Allan.

Renovated, redesigned and relevant The City of Greater Bendigo is responsive to both history and the demands of the future. Capitalising on the strengths of this vibrant, pace-setting region, the City made the decision not just to renovate but to completely redevelop the Bendigo Library. The outcome has exceeded expectations, creating a focus, right in the heart of the city, for community aspirations. The City, recognising the value of culture and learning to the community, responded to the need for a flexible, contemporary and exciting place suitable for the increasingly complex functions of 21st-century libraries. The Bendigo Library, headquarters of the Goldfields Library Corporation, is central, both physically and philosophically. Its sophisticated design is informed by the best principles of civic planning. It is quality throughout, from the craft of its construction, to the elegant and inviting fit-out.

Bendigo Library is now rejuvenated. The old, serviceable but outmoded building has become a multi-dimensional meeting place, open to all-comers, functional and efficient, welcoming for young and old alike. It is plugged-in, switched-on, and yet as protective of precious heritage as the most traditional of libraries. The New Generation Bendigo Library ‌ transformed and ready to deliver.

Bendigo Library 1984

New Generation Bendigo Library – Timeline 1955

Bendigo Municipal Library opens on the first floor of the Civic Buildings in Hargreaves Street.


The purpose-built two storey Bendigo Library opens on the site of the old Civic Building.

August 2010

December 2010

July 2011 August 2012

City of Greater Bendigo releases A Vision for The Bendigo Library, a Masterplan for the redevelopment of the outdated and underperforming building. Created with extensive community consultation, the Masterplan proposes new community spaces to allow for growth in usage and expansion of services. City of Greater Bendigo council endorses the Masterplan for the Bendigo Library redevelopment. MGS Architects are appointed to design the Bendigo Library Redevelopment. Bendigo Library relocates to the temporary headquaters in the refurbished Bendigo Advertiser building; demolition work begins on the facade of the old building, and the interior is gutted in preparation for construction.

September 2012

Contract Control Services are appointed as head construction contractor and construction work begins.

December 2013

Temporary premises close, in preparation for move back into the refurbished building.

January 28, 2014

The new generation Bendigo Library reopens.

Pride of place in the heart of Bendigo

When a city gets it right, it shows – in the confidence of its people and in their capacity to share, learn and enjoy what their community has to offer. Over the past several decades, the City of Greater Bendigo has set about changing the dynamic of what was once a big country town, providing the infrastructure and facilities to make this fastgrowing city a great place to live, work and share. Don Goldsworthy, who has worked with The City for many years to help plan for a prosperous and optimistic future, joined the Bendigo Library redevelopment team as Project Design Advisor. He points to the way the building is now integrated into its urban context, scaled for human interaction and in harmony with the architectural styles of the city’s ambitious built history.

Don Goldsworthy Project Design Advisor

“This building will have its own embodied energy,” Mr Goldsworthy says, “an efficient place, and a vital place. “Underpinning its development is the story about literacy on the goldfields, and how important the values of learning in the community have always been.” The philosophy guiding the redevelopment was constantly informed by the values instilled in the practices and performance of the City of Greater Bendigo.

This was planned to be an inclusive place, flexible in its approach, yet safe and secure for all ages. Sustainability and energy efficiency are also part of the building design, with environmental modelling indicating the redevelopment has reduced the carbon footprint by 14%. There is a highly efficient airconditioning plant and a Building Management System which tracks energy use and transmits the real-time information to the audio-visual screens in public areas. “We have retrofitted using sustainable materials, with a focus on light so the building is efficient and contemporary,” Mr Goldsworthy says. “We believe it is important to think about the community’s needs, and particularly to ensure we have planned for young people. “There is a strong expectation for this building – people will engage with it, as they’ve never engaged before.”

Access for Everyone Bendigo, built on aspiration and hard work, has long recognised the value of libraries. Soon after gold was discovered in 1851, the community began to plan for the establishment of a reading collection. The Bendigo Mechanics Institute Library opened in 1854, the same year as the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne. The current site, in the heart of the CBD and surrounded by Bendigo’s civic infrastructure, reflects the centrality of the Library to this industrious community.

After 30 years, the old building was in urgent need of an upgrade in order to keep pace with technological, environmental and social change. Understanding the changing role and function of libraries in contemporary society, The City set about planning not just an upgraded building in terms of bricks and mortar but also a building fit to house bold civic aspirations. A book collection and lending library, and the safe repository for the precious archives of the region, Bendigo Library is now also an open place, where access is free to all-comers and to diverse activities.

The design doesn’t just reflect interaction; it encourages it. People may enter from Hargreaves Street at one end of the building’s light-filled internal street, alongside the newly configured arts and activity areas and the integrated Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre; or they can enter from Lyttleton Terrace, where the Library café opens on to reading and community lounges.

Just beyond the Hargreaves Street entrance foyer, the Children’s Library is a space full of light and energy, carefully designed to give parents and carers confidence. Viewable from the community lounge next door, it has low-rise tiers for flexible use.

Bendigo is Australia’s first UNICEF recognised Child-Friendly City and the Bendigo Library was designed for a new generation of users including the very youngest.

It is part of the City’s proactive strategy to invest in the wellbeing of children and adults alike, encouraging literacy and love of learning, delighting and stimulating the imagination. Bendigo Library has truly become a welcoming place for all ages and all abilities. It is cleverly designed so that different activities can co-exist, inviting collaboration and blending the resources that benefit everyone - families with children, working adults, teenagers who need “yes” spaces to feel at home, seniors who want to learn new skills in a supportive environment, groups who seek like-minded people, those who are new to the community, and those who need special help. It’s the door – or rather, doors – into anything and everything the community wants it to be.

• Easy access from the street links Bendigo Library with both the Town Hall and the retail centre • Community activity and meeting rooms, available for hire, invite many different uses • Extensive internet access and state-of-the-art technology provide resources for content creation

• Integrated gallery spaces showcase Bendigo’s history and community art • Energy-efficient design includes airconditioning plant and lighting, night-purging through exposure of first floor concrete slab and double glazed external windows

• Highly effective acoustics and air-cleansing provided by advanced design perforated ceiling cladding • Internal design facilitates wayfinding and interaction between user areas

• Minimised operating costs and a reduction of the building’s carbon footprint by 14%

Ground Floor Plan

• Community Lounge

• Café

• Childrens Library • Hargreaves St. Entry • Lyttleton • Bendigo Volunteer

Terrace Entry

Resource Centre

• Arts & Activity Area • Performance Area • Meeting Rooms (2)

• Library Collections

• A highly visible new home for Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre

• Café links with lounge, performance and meeting areas

• Quality finish throughout, including a central lanternshaped atrium and extensive use of warm-hued timber

• First-floor study areas provide quiet space

• Upgraded toilets and lifts • Disability access to all areas • Children’s library provides a fun and safe learning environment

• Upgraded research facilities include Bendigo Regional Archives Centre Reading Room and Goldfields Research Centre

• Functional area expanded to 4000 sq metres, with design efficiencies reducing “back of house” and increasing community spaces • Sympathetic integration with existing building complements Bendigo’s built history • Zoned areas provide opportunities for after-hours access

First Floor Plan

• Research Area

• Study Area • Meeting Rooms (4) • Library Collections • Bendigo Regional • Lounge

Archives Centre Reading Room

• Public Records Archive

A people place Since its opening in 1984, Bendigo Library has proved both popular and successful, welcoming almost 500,000 users through its doors each year and providing membership services to 40,000 people. Adjacent to the stately Bendigo Town Hall, and positioned right at the gateway to the Hargreaves Mall shopping precinct, the building is ideally placed to embody the principles of access and communication, which are so important to a confident, caring community. Joshua Wheeler led the project team at MGS Architects. He explains how the need for expanded community uses, combined with the intention to activate the site in relation to its central city location, informed the design of a building where formal and informal spaces must interact. “The building redevelopment was primarily focused on delivering a new library that offers the opportunity to engage and provide a leadership role in community

strengthening, rather than being only a book depository”, Mr Wheeler says. “The Bendigo Library redevelopment integrates the library with various community services plus office spaces, to create an urban hub that enhances the town centre.” The new design redistributes community-use programs throughout the entire building, including formal activity rooms in an after-hours-access zone, well-equipped with audio-visual capacity, wet areas for catered functions and ample storage space. Meeting rooms as well as IT and lounge areas can be found throughout the building on both the ground floor and first floor, to encourage interaction between user groups. In the new generation Library the architecture itself assists users to find their way. The building’s spaces flow, linked by an internal street. Vistas open onto areas within, inviting people to explore and participate.

This internal street connects the two new entrances, allowing users to easily locate the collection, the café, the activity spaces, community lounges and children’s area. The laneway which runs off the internal street into the large central areas orientates people towards the wealth of information stored and accessible within this public treasure house. “Our projects are recognised as delivering places for people,” Mr Wheeler says. “We forge partnerships that find the brilliance within each project. MGS are proud to have delivered high quality architectural and interior design to the City of Greater Bendigo’s new library.”

Access to history

Without memory, a community is impoverished. Our past is the well from which we are nourished and sustained. Narratives both grand and humble are all stored in the combined collections of the City of Greater Bendigo, the Goldfields Library Corporation and the awardwinning Bendigo Regional Archives Centre. From the Dja Dja Wurrung, who are the first Indigenous group to achieve native title settlement of the region’s Crown land, to the men and women from all over the world who came to toil in the rich goldfields, to the visionaries and power-brokers who set up the institutions and buildings of an ambitious city, to the civic leaders who forged the future - Bendigo Library is a memory-place for all, giving voice to the proclamations, murmurings and whispers of days gone by. In the Hargreaves Street entry foyer, the History and Benefactor boards record this moment in time, the beginning of a new generation for the City and its Library.

A sculpture at the Lyttleton St entrance also marks the finalisation of the redevelopment and commemorates Bendigo’s Sister City relationships. Upstairs, inset in the Australian hardwood walls alongside the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre Reading Room, purpose-built showcases display vignettes from the civic history of the City of Greater Bendigo. The exhibits are windows onto time, inviting both contemplation and inspiration as they remind people of the rich resources available within the Bendigo Library. Chaired by the Keeper of the Public Records, Justine Heazlewood, the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre collects both State and local government records, as well as business records and those of local historical societies. BRAC’s new Reading Room, and the adjacent Goldfields Research Centre, provide access and support

to both the Bendigo Regional Genealogy Society and the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies (Bendigo). “We know that organisations, like Bendigo Hospital, are keen to transfer records into archival custody when they know they will be stored locally,” Ms Heazlewood says. “The new space in Bendigo Library gives people much more accessibility, and we do encourage those who might have an interest in the history of Bendigo, or had family in the region, to come in and get help from the experts there.”

Access to creativity Around the world, new and new-thinking libraries are evolving to keep pace with changing needs and expectations. Never before has so much information been created and available, and it is up to civic leaders to ensure easy and equitable access to this wealth of knowledge. Bendigo Library, stripped to its bones and rebuilt to the very best design standards, is a creative place for enabling a kaleidoscope of community uses. We’re redefining the word “library” to embrace everyone and everything that creates community cohesion and active paths for lifelong learning. Read a book or browse a magazine, check into the internet for research or pleasure, meet with friends for morning tea, let the kids loose in the Children’s Library where they can climb the stairs to the intriguing cubby space specially designed for them, organise a get-together for your local group, attend a performance or reading, access

free wifi, get help to compile your family history, sign on to a skills course, join up as a volunteer, find out about what’s on and who’s who in Bendigo. The internal street is a unique walkway, a kind of inside-outside space that links the Library with the world in a very real and present manner. The Children’s Library is a tactile, creative space with nooks and crannies to explore. “Shoosh” and “don’t touch” are anachronisms in the new generation Library, and don’t be surprised if the buzz of creative energy infects the entire building. Don’t worry though: the building’s clever design ensures you can find somewhere to write your operatic masterpiece or update your social media site in peace, if that’s what you need. A coffee and petit four fresh from the café will fuel your inspiration.

The Bendigo Library’s new colours are fresh and strong, champagne yellow complemented by forest greens and blue, but you can still glimpse the solid grey foundations of the original building which is the backdrop to this transformation. Everywhere, the place hums with dynamism, inspired by a design that doesn’t block you out but draws you in.

Access to the future. Switch on and tune in to tomorrow. When the City of Greater Bendigo created a Masterplan for the new generation Bendigo Library, it listed as urgent the need to bring the building’s environmental and economic performance in line with contemporary best practice. It also underlined the constraints caused by outmoded technology infrastructure. Step by step, using innovative and collaborative principles to best meet the diverse needs of a truly modern library, the project team designed the building from top to bottom to incorporate smart thinking. Energy-efficient systems throughout make Bendigo Library a better place to work, and the introduction of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Devices) improves the capacity of library staff to provide specialist assistance.

With increased bandwidth and excellent Information and Communications Technology capability, Bendigo Library is ready and able to support the community, in so many ways. Need to check out what’s happening? No worries. The network of A/V screens throughout the building are there to keep you right up to date. Want to delve deeper online into your family history? Not a problem. The archives are backed up by online access and the expertise of experienced researchers. Touchscreen storytelling? You got it. Super-fast item checkout? Easy. Whether it’s physical access simplified by clever wayfinding design or virtual access via one of the many “Espresso IT stations”, it’s available right now at Bendigo Library.

The opening hours have extended too, to cater for everyone, from time-poor workers to families with complex schedules, older people dependent on transport assistance or out-of-towners keen to make the most of a visit to Bendigo. Better spaces enable better services, and better services create confidence and encourage engagement. The community of today thrives on having access to safe and inviting civic spaces, intelligently designed to host myriad functions at the one time. Is it a playspace, a workspace, a meeting space, a social space? Yes, it is, and more it’s a people place.

City of Greater Bendigo Councillors (as at January 2014)


Cr Barry Lyons (Mayor)

The City of Greater Bendigo acknowledges the many people and organisations who have contributed their expertise to the new generation Bendigo Library, which has been achieved as a result of extensive consultation and collaboration, including community representatives.

Cr Rod Campbell Cr Elise Chapman Cr Peter Cox Cr Rod Fyffe OAM Cr Helen Leach

Project client and owner: City of Greater Bendigo

Cr Lisa Ruffell

Library Service provider: Goldfields Library Corporation

Cr Mark Weragoda Cr James Williams

Lead Design Consultant: MGS Architects

Chief Executive Officer: Craig Niemann

Project Design Advice: Donald Goldsworthy & Associates

Goldfields Library Corporation Board City of Greater Bendigo

Project Management Services: Pavan Consultants Head Construction Contractor: Contract Control Services

Cr Rod Fyffe OAM (Chair) Marg Allan Shire of Loddon

The construction cost for the project is approximately $9.5M.

Cr Cheryl McKinnon

Grants and contributions towards this project are:

John McLinden

Victorian State Government

Cr John Connor

• Regional Growth Fund, Local Government Infrastructure Program

Karen Stevens

• Living Libraries Infrastructure Program

Shire of Macedon Ranges

Shire of Mount Alexander Cr Michael Redden (Deputy Chair) Carolyn Wallace Interim Chief Executive Officer: Sue Howard

Goldfields Library Corporation Hugh D T Williamson Foundation

$2.75M $2M $750K $1M $100K

Other Philanthropic Funds


Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre


CITY OF GREATER BENDIGO 195-229 Lyttleton Terrace, Bendigo PO Box 733 Bendigo VIC 3552 T: 5434 6000 W: E:

GOLDFIELDS Library CORPORATION HEADQUARTERS 256 Hargreaves Street, Bendigo PO Box 887 Bendigo VIC 3552 T: 5449 2700 W: E:

Opening Hours Bendigo Library, including Goldfields Research Centre: 9am-7pm Monday to Friday; 10am-1pm Saturday. Bendigo Regional Archive Centre: 10am-4.30pm Wednesday and Thursday.

New Generation Bendigo Library  

Meeting community needs, now and into the future.

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