The shape of the new Geelong Library and Heritage Centre is truly striking. Its domed roof is visible from far away and takes inspiration from great reading rooms around the world (including, Melbourne’s own State Library Dome). The modern architecture feels perfectly at home in leafy Johnstone Park and complements the surroundings.
The ground floor includes a news lounge and plenty of seating, as well as a book wall on the mezzanine level.
But it’s the first floor that will excite parents and kids alike. The entire floor is dedicated to children. There are great chairs, bean bags and different spaces to explore. There are tables for drawing and colouring, light boxes, old-school games and wooden toys.
And there are books, of course. Lots and lots of wonderful new books.
We spend a comfortable two hours moving from bean bag to table to lounge to cushion, exploring everything this amazing space has to offer. The costume corner with hand puppets is a hit with young El Guapo, as are the Schleich dinosaurs, while five-year-old Lightning loves quiet stories, looking through magnifying glasses, and learning how to play Guess Who.
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The selection of books is terrific and the sections are thoughtfully laid out to allow kids of different ages to cross paths without getting in each other’s way.
The spaces simply cries out to be enjoyed –and so they are. Children and parents were spending time together in so many different ways.
The centre is truly a landmark building that deserves to be visited time and again. It is a short walk from Geelong’s main train station and is close to a multitude of terrific eateries in the CBD.
If you want to extend your visit for a full day, take a stroll along the waterfront past the beautiful heritage carousel and bollards to the giant observation wheel and the free Eastern Beach swimming enclosure.
- More than just a library – puppets, dress-ups, puzzles, board games and video games;
- Suitable for children of all ages;
- If you’re taking the train as a family you can ask for a family saver ticket at any V/Line ticket counter – this offers a discounted rate during off-peak times that you won’t get if you use your Myki.
Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, 51 Little Malop St, Geelong 03 4201 0600