What Should Have Happened with Bendigo Library

The new library in Bendigo is excellent. Let me say that from the outset. Unfortunately in the past few weeks, as I’ve sat there and worked, I’ve overheard many visitors or tour groups grumble about some imperfection. The lighting, the heating, the number of bookshelves, the performance area, the slightly art-deco design, the glass shards, the carpet, the seats, the checkouts, and the lack of a silent work area (which is actually one I agree with) – all of these have been complaints. Instead of this people should be thankful that there is a library of books at all.

Essentially the library has been renovated. It is a job done by a few fans of Backyard Blitz and My Home Improvement Wins. The team got together over a chalkboard, drew a few lines, and then set off on earth movers to push things about. They hollowed out the interior, filled it with concrete, messed with the colour scheme, added some wooden bits to give the room “life”, and then put on a new door. That’s almost it. For the most part what people are complaining about is that the team didn’t put things back exactly like they were before – only with more televisions and a coffee shop.

The alternative is that the crew could have really made some changes. They could have added feature walls, mosaic lighting, fancy cushions and a water feature… which they actually did. In fact, they could have taken the logical step and decide to ship all the books off to Eaglehawk and make Bendigo Library the State’s first bookless library. No books is the future. Tables of computer screens and shelves of DVDs is what people want these days – plus a few television screens and a coffee shop, and judging from the noise a creche for their kids. Microchip technology is the way of the future, and a few complains about the shelving and location of books is not going to change that.


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