It's Official - Shellharbour City Library Is Australia's Best

Shellharbour City Library has won the prestigious Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Public Library Design Awards 2019.
Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, presented the award at 2019 Library Design Awards Conference at the State Library of Queensland last night (Thursday 14 March).
The prestigious awards recognised some of the best new library designs in Australia. Shellharbour’s City Library was one of four libraries shortlisted in the public libraries category, and the only one in NSW.
The award comes just months after the Shellharbour City Museum won a Museums and Galleries NSW Imagine Award for best New Build in the ‘Capacity Building, Capital & Sustainability Programs’ category.
Shellharbour City Mayor Marianne Saliba said was thrilled with the news and said the community deserved to feel extremely proud.
“This is a tremendous achievement for our city. To achieve recognition at national level is just amazing. We’ve always known how wonderful and unique our library was, but to have it acknowledged among Australia’s best is just fantastic,” Cr Saliba said.
“I would like to pay special recognition to our library staff, who work so hard and truly believe in delivering a wonderful experience to guests. They are the heart and soul of the library and without them, our library would not be the standout facility that it is.
“I am constantly being told by the community how helpful and kind our library staff are and it is just wonderful to receive that feedback.
“I also commend and thank the staff involved in the planning of our library and the community consultation they undertook to ensure the facility reflected the wants and needs of our community.
“Likewise, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the community who came on this journey with us. Their input has resulted in a spectacular facility that it an asset to our city,” Cr Saliba said.
City Library opened its doors in January 2018 as the centrepiece of the Shellharbour Civic Centre. It grew its member base significantly with over 4000 new members joining in the first year alone. In that year the library recorded over 140,000 visits, while more than 205,000 items were loaned to customers. More than 600 program sessions were delivered, attracting over 12,000 participants.
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Shellharbour’s City Library has understandably been described as a jewel of the city. Visitors to the library enter through a welcoming and generous foyer linking to a café, auditorium and the Shellharbour City Museum as well as other service areas.
Large windows at the rear of the library provide stunning views to the Illawarra escarpment. There, a long elegant and sophisticated façade. The design adheres to a thoroughly confident and well-researched library strategy. Some of the more iconic aspects of the design include the dynamic ceiling panels, the wave floor, floor-to-ceiling glazing and distinctive white acoustic discs that float from the ceiling.
Extensive community consultation identified a clear need for a central library to constitute the living room of the city and the planning and building implemented have achieved a dynamic and rich facility.
The library offers a range of facilities including plentiful and varied seating options, free Wi-Fi, community meeting/study rooms, and an enchanting children’s play area. The collections are displayed in retail style. The new spaces have been activated successfully with a range of additional services and programs.
Shellharbour has made serious efforts to create an environmentally friendly library and gained a 5-star environmental rating. The judges welcomed the incorporation of public art, particularly the Aboriginal weaving designs embedded into concrete outdoor seating pads.
The excellent community consultation has resulted in a highly visible and accessible library with enormous community appeal. Extraordinary engagement from a zero base has resulted with positive feedback, new library memberships and high levels of participation in the new services and programmes provided, many in partnership with complementary organisations.
Media enquiries: Kelli Wells 0448 361 008