Woden Library upgrades to begin and new mystery box service launched

Released 21/08/2020

More local jobs will be supported and created with construction of upgrades to Woden Library following a co-design process with the community. More jobs will also be created with a new contactless delivery of books for vulnerable Canberrans.

"I’m pleased to announce that the Government is funding upgrades to Woden Library, with construction commencing to enhance this important hub and meeting place for the community,” said Minister for City Services, Chris Steel.

Minister Steel said the design of these spaces to start construction are the result of a co-design process including workshops with the community.

“When the ACT Heritage Library moved to new premises, it opened up an enormous opportunity at Woden Library to reimagine the second floor of the Library and make available new and different spaces for the community.”

On the top floor, four new community spaces – the Haven, the Gathering, the Hive and the Life Lab will be built– to provide for a range of activities from quiet study and collaborative meeting places to shared spaces that can be booked by community groups for skill sharing such as dance or art classes."

“The Hive will become a fun and modern space for technology and knowledge sharing activities such as a recording studio and green screen,” Minister Steel said.

“The Life Lab will be a flexible and multifunctional community space to learn and share new skills, and the Haven and Gathering spaces will feature booths and tables for separate relaxation, reading and study areas including collaborative meeting spaces for small group work.

“The ground floor of the Library is also receiving upgrades, with the existing community space and back of house areas to be transformed into two new community spaces with after-hours public access, a community kitchen and upgraded toilet facilities.”

The upgrades will also improve disability access and include a new awning over the external book return chute to protect people from the elements when they are returning items they’ve borrowed.

Member for Murrumbidgee Bec Cody MLA said that the Woden community would welcome the upgrades.

“I know the Woden community is incredibly excited to see these upgrades finished and ready to enjoy in the new year,” said Ms Cody.

“Woden Library opened in 1977 and is the busiest of the nine public library branches in the ACT. We’re hoping these upgrades will attract more people and community groups to the library who don’t regularly visit or have never visited before.”

Minister Steel also announced the trial of a free mystery box service which will provide library members with a new way to access resources.

“The mystery box service is available to Canberra residents whose access to the library is currently impacted by COVID-19, for example, someone unable to leave their home for health reasons or a single parent at home with young children,” said Minister Steel.

Library members can sign up for the free service to receive a box of up to 10 surprise items from Libraries ACT’s collection in relation to their preferred genre, whether it is mystery, history, thriller, romance or health and wellbeing.

Books and DVDs will be delivered in the mystery boxes which can be enjoyed for four weeks before collection.

“10 new library staff have been employed through the Jobs for Canberrans fund to deliver the new contactless delivery service which will support more jobs and help keep Canberrans in employment as the economic impact of the pandemic continues.”

To sign up for the mystery box trial please visit the Libraries ACT website at www.library.act.gov.au

For more information on the community engagement to codesign the Woden Library upgrade please visit www.yoursay.act.gov.au

- Statement ends -

Section: Chris Steel, MLA | Media Releases

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