Maitland Library has reached half a century this month, but there’s still plenty of life in the old girl.
Her story started on November 15, 1968 with NSW Premier Robert Askin doing the honours and cutting the ribbon during a ceremony with more than 300 guests.
Mayor Loretta Baker said libraries were the cornerstone of the community, and she was thrilled to be celebrating the High Street facility’s big birthday.
“This is fantastic. I know this library – and all libraries – offers a lot more than you think,” she said. Maitland Library was designed by Walter Bunning – who also designed the National Library of Australia in Canberra – and is 10 times the capacity of the original library and cost around $188,000 (about $2.2 million today).
Acting city librarian Jennifer Blume said the library had undergone a lot of changes since its opening.
In fact, the library provided 12,500 hours of WiFi connectivity and 7000 hours of public computer access in the last financial year.
“What people see in the library is only part of what we hold because it’s on the computer. It’s digitised, downloadable and available twenty-four seven,” she said.
“They can come in for anything – from a quiet place to study or come in during their lunch hour to speakers and music performances.
“It’s inclusion we are offering on all those platforms. The old stereotype is definitely gone. We welcome everyone, we even have a justice of the peace.
“It’s about being a space for the community.”