A major refurbishment to modernise Newcastle City Library begins today ahead of the 60th
anniversary of the War Memorial Cultural Centre in which the library sits.
A new digital "makerspace" to showcase the latest technologies will be built on the library's first floor along with new collaborative work and study areas.
Space to read, research or escape the elements will increase by 85sqm, and both quiet spaces and a children's zone will be provided as part of the $1.3 million upgrade.
"Newcastle residents will soon enjoy a library worthy of the digital age," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
"The upgrade will provide a contemporary library facility that serves the current and future information needs of the community while maintaining the heritage value of the War Memorial Cultural Centre.
"The original design and layout of the facility catered to manual record keeping of the 1960s and a catchment area of around 150,000 people, so it's a timely upgrade ahead of the building's Diamond anniversary.
"The library now averages between 800 and 1000 visits per day, which is significantly more than anticipated in the original design."
The War Memorial Cultural Centre (WMCC) was last refurbished more than 20 years ago.
The building also serves as the central headquarters for all Newcastle's regional libraries.
It was opened by His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales Lieutenant-General E. W. Woodward on 26 October 1957.
The upgrade has been funded by a $200,000 Infrastructure Grant from the NSW State Library and an additional $1.1 million from Council.
To allow the refurbishment to go ahead, the library is closed from today until Monday 8 May.
A temporary library will operate on the second floor from 8 May until the revamped ground floor opens in September ahead of the venue's 60th birthday.
Normal operating hours will be in place while the temporary library is in operation. The Local History section of the library will operate as normal.