Carlton has one of the best inner city libraries in Melbourne – the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre.
The heritage Victorian era building has been transformed into a buzzing space with the library, meeting and activity rooms and a social enterprise cafe, Wild Timor Coffee. The whole place offers free, fast wifi.
The library has a whole room dedicated to being the Children’s Library and it is filled with all new books! Lady AB definitely thinks there is nothing more exciting than cracking open lots of shiny, undamaged books with little interference as there were not many other visitors during our time there on a weekday.
There are also a few toys scattered around, such as popular giant Lego blocks and some soft puppets.
Like the other Melbourne Library Service libraries, Kathleen Syme Library holds weekly storytimes for babies 0-18 months (Tuesdays), toddlers 18 months – 3 years (Fridays) and preschoolers 3-5 years (Wednesdays).
If you get peckish after your library visit the on-site cafe serves a small menu of healthy and sometimes raw food, with a good selection of vegetarian dishes. Lady AB nibbles on a pretzel ($5) while flicking through her new library books while I dive into a haloumi burger ($14).
Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre is close to other family-friendly locations like Lygon Street (with the excellent Readings Kids book shop), Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens playground, so you could easily make a day of it. It’s most easily accessible via all northbound Melbourne Uni trams running along Swanston Street.
Click here for my list of the best libraries in Melbourne
- free to join the library with ID (don’t need to work or live in City of Melbourne);
- weekly storytimes for babies 0-18 months (Tuesdays), toddlers 18 months – 3 years (Fridays) and preschoolers 3-5 years (Wednesdays);
- combine it with a trip to Ian Potter Museum of Art or weekly Farmers’ Markets at University of Melbourne on Wednesdays 1030-2:30pm;
- accessible via all northbound Melbourne Uni trams running along Swanston Street;
- limited metered 1 and 2 hour parking in surrounding streets;
- Wild Timor Coffee has a high chair but the space is small so pram access is better at the outdoor tables.
Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre 251 Faraday Street Carlton
Community centre hours
- Monday to Thursday: 9am to 7pm
- Friday: 9am to 6pm
- Saturday: 10am to 5pm
- Sunday: 12pm to 5pm.
- Monday to Thursday: 10am to 7pm
- Friday: 10am to 6pm
- Saturday: 10am to 5pm
- Sunday: 12pm to 5pm