Everybody’s place: the library celebrates its 75th anniversary
Published: 20 May 2021 8:20pm
The Wagga Wagga City Library is turning 75 next week, with an invitation to the community to drop in and enjoy morning tea and view a recently installed mural reflecting the library’s role as a community hub, where everyone is welcome.
The five-panelled mural that has been installed was created originally as part of the 2019 No Borders In Our Sky project which was a creative collaboration between Wagga based artist photography James Farley, Heaps Decent and the Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga. The mural features images our Future Leaders including Ja Ing Sumlang, Nadereh Khedr, Maqboola Ibrahim, Wes Boney and Madison Fisher. Accompanying the mural is the word ‘welcome’ appearing in 31 of the 107 languages and dialects spoken in the Wagga Wagga community.
Manager Library Services Claire Campbell said the mural’s multilingual message of welcome was important.
“This is everybody’s library,” Ms Campbell said.
“It’s a simple and inclusive message, to see words in your own language means a lot to our community.
“We just love having so many people use the library, it makes it a very vibrant space.”
The third place.
Ms Campbell said that although much had changed in the last 75 years, the library’s essence remained the same.
“The library is everyone’s place, and it’s open 7 days a week,” Ms Campbell said.
“Many of us have a home and then either work or school – the library is another place, often referred to as ‘the third place’ in the community, where everyone should feel that they belong.
“Libraries are not only about books, they are about people connecting with each other at a live performance, attending a program or an event like the annual science festival.
“You often see patrons side-by-side at the computers helping each other out, or reading the newspaper and chatting about the news.
“It’s a supportive, inclusive space where those incidental conversations happen, which can lead to outcomes you may not have expected for example some parents who come to Storytime have secured work after sitting beside another parent and chatting about their respective careers.”
The changing face of our city reflected.
In serving the thriving multicultural community of Wagga Wagga, the Wagga Wagga City Library has become one of the first places new residents visit. Over the years, as the library service saw the cultural diversity of our community develop, it took steps to welcome and accommodate new residents by providing services that met their needs.
“We’d get books from the State Library of NSW so people could read in their own language,” Ms Campbell said.
“This grew into the large community language collection we now have.
“Over time it became clear that the community wanted to be part of something bigger and practice their English. When the community said ‘we just want to practice’ that’s when we decided to look at starting a Language Café.
“Our Language Café has been a big success story, with lots of community volunteers wanting to help and learn about other cultures. Helping break down barriers and build social inclusion is a very important part of what we do.”
The library is equally intent to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which the library is built, the Wiradjuri nation.
“We have a growing collection of resources to support Wiradjuri and First Nations community members
“It’s an important part of the Library service to continually recognise and celebrate the history and cultural heritage of Wiradjuri and First Nations communities
As our city is growing, so is the Wagga Wagga City Library service, thanks in part to a recently announced $200,000 Public Library Infrastructure grant from the NSW State Government. These funds will go toward the expansion of the children’s area and the redevelopment of the library entrance to make it more welcoming, including more spaces for people to sit and read, relax or participate in small group activities.
“We will also have increased meeting rooms available for people to book that will be accessible and vary in size depending on what is required by the customer” Ms Campbell said.
Visit the Wagga Wagga City Library in person or online and discover just how much is available for everyone.