The City of Melbourne has delivered a new $15.7 million three-storey library in the Queen Victoria Market precinct, featuring amenities such as reading rooms and family healthcare services. 

narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services is Council’s first library to open in nearly a decade – providing residents, families, workers and students a complete suite of community services.

narrm ngarrgu – meaning ‘Melbourne knowledge’ in Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung language – will build on the vibrant hospitality, retail and recreational offerings of the market, while celebrating the traditional owners of the land by integrating Aboriginal culture and heritage.

As part of Council’s $500 million Munro development, the $15.7 million state-of-the-art facility operates over three levels totaling 3,000㎡. 

The space includes:

  • Council’s first ever dedicated children’s library – featuring a brightly-coloured carpet commissioned by Aboriginal artist Maree Clarke, a Mutti Mutti, Yorta Yorta, Boon Wurrung and Wemba Wemba woman
  • 960㎡ outdoor terrace – with native plantings, an outdoor play area and an interactive 6m long eel trap tunnel
  • Reading rooms, study areas and computer spaces
  • Makerspace, featuring paint and photograph stations and the latest creative technology such as sewing and embroidery machines, 3D printers and laser cutters
  • Sound studios for podcasting and recording
  • Bookable meeting rooms and events space

The library will also feature a community-driven collection of more than 30,000 new print books, alongside an extensive digital collection of books, audiobooks, magazines and music and film – all available in multiple languages for Melbourne’s diverse community.

The building will also host:

  • Maternal and child health support services
  • Parenting services
  • Playgroup area and outdoor play space
  • Immunisations for children and adults
  • Family support and counselling

Visitors can also enjoy a suite of more than 80 heritage and never-before-seen artworks, including specially commissioned artworks by award-winning artist Maree Clarke.

The integrated artworks embed Kulin cultural references throughout narrm ngarrgu – providing opportunities for reflection, ceremony, celebration and play.

Council has collaborated with Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung elders, artists and community members to create a strong connection between the site and its traditional owners – acknowledging their knowledge and lore in name of the site and curated spaces within.

narrm ngarrgu has been supported by the Victorian Government, contributing almost $1.2 million in funding.

Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp, said that narrm ngarrgu is a remarkable new facility which will make it easier than ever for Melburnians to access essential family and health services, books and information. 

“It will add to the vibe of the Queen Victoria Market precinct – attracting more visitors and boosting business for traders,” Ms Capp said. 

“In the last financial year, our collection of libraries welcomed nearly 1 million visitors – and we’re expecting this patronage to nearly double with the opening of narrm ngarrgu.

“Melbourne’s CBD is one of our fastest growing residential areas, with its population expected to more than double in the next 20 years. That’s why we are delivering this important service for our community.”

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