Wagga Wagga City Library to mark 70th anniversary

Published: 29 May 2018 3:52pm

Wagga Wagga City Library to mark 70th anniversary - 23 May 2016

From donated books in a tin hut to a thriving community hub, a lot has changed in the past 70 years for Wagga Wagga City Library.

The facility’s long history will be celebrated on Tuesday 24 May with a community morning tea and other events as part of National Library and Information Week.

“Our library has come a long way over the years and today provides countless services to the community,” Library Manager Claire Campbell said.

“Free WiFi, ebooks, workshops and classes, DVDs, children’s programs and of course books – the library is now offers a range of important services for all of the community.”

The library’s story began in 1936 when Mayor H.E. Gissing championed the “Free Public Library Movement”. In 1945, Council decided to seek temporary use from the Mayor’s Patriotic and War Fund to access the Patriotic Hut, in the Town Hall Gardens, for the purpose of a library.

The School of Arts generously donated its entire collection of 3914 books and book racks and on 24 May 1946 the library was opened by the Minister of Education Mr J G McKenzie.

“By 1948, the library had issued 108,600 books to more than 5000 members,” Ms Campbell said.

“In the past 12 months alone there have been 186,773 visits, 293,000 items issued to 25,000 members, and 14,000 attendees at public programs.

“While our modern day library has heating and cooling, the original ex-army hut became so hot during the summer of 1949 that special opening hours from 10am to noon and 4pm to 10pm had to be used.”

Along with the community morning tea, a number of other events will also be held throughout the week to celebrate the library’s rich history. Heidrun Lohr and Hans Bildstein have created a digital history of the library, which will be projected onto the lagoon side of the Civic Centre each evening until mid June.

The projection artwork features faces of community members from all age groups who use the library and participate in its programs.

Media opportunity

What: Community morning tea to officially mark 70th anniversary

Where: Wagga Wagga City Library

When: 10.30am, Tuesday 24 May

Wagga Wagga City Library 70th anniversary events

  • Community morning tea (Tuesday 24 May from 10.30am): Celebrations will begin with a “birthday” cake and the announcement of the recipient of the Riverina Regional Library’s inaugural Regional Reading Culture Award.
  • Gloria’s Handbag (Tuesday 24 May, 6.30pm): This one woman show written and performed by Helen Moulder is sure to entertain. Helen plays six different characters in this imaginative piece, which features extracts from Mozart's The Magic Flute, the occasional conjuring trick, and - of course - a handbag named Bellissima. Contact the library on 6926 9700 to book your place.
  • National Simultaneous Storytime (Wednesday 25 May, 11am): The weekly pre-schoolers program will join with the rest of Australia to read I Got This Hat by Jol and Kate Temple in the children’s area.
  • One Book One Wagga gala dinner (Friday 27 May): Award-winning author Sofie Laguna is the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award winner and will be speaking about her novel The Eye of The Sheep. The evening will consist of a three-course meal and a lively literary chat. Bookings are available through the Commercial Club on 6921 3012.