A milestone of St Kilda Library carved in stone

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The event commemorates the 50th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone in 1972 by Mayor Ivan Trayling.

Mr Trayling will be among the guests at the 50th anniversary commemoration at St Kilda Library from 11am to 11.30am (no booking required). There will be plenty of opportunities to swap memories over morning tea after viewing an exhibition and digital presentation showcasing the evolution of the library.

Many library patrons would be unaware of the more than 100 years of community advocacy behind the birth of this much-loved landmark, designed by the late, award-winning architect Enrico Taglietti.

There were calls from 1860 for a free public library, notably by the St Kilda Library Promotion Committee in 1953 and the St Kilda Library Establishment Committee.

In a bookish throwback to Footloose, the then St Kilda Council raised concerns that reading fiction was encouraging juvenile delinquency by refusing to provide a public library in the 1950s. There were also concerns regarding the need, expense and business impact of private lending libraries.

Mr. Trayling was the catalyst for change when he was elected to the Council in 1967 after campaigning for a library. That year, the Board set aside $50,000 for library work, and Mr. Trayling led a new library subcommittee that recommended building a library on the properties across the street from the library. ‘city Hall.

The rest is history with newspaper articles praising the million dollar library as Australia’s finest when it opened in 1973. Its stunning design, air conditioning and photocopier were all noticed and c t was the first municipal library to open on Sundays.

In the early 1990s Melbourne architectural firm Ashton Raggatt McDougall provided a new entrance wing as well as redefining the facade facing Carlisle Street with a distinctive bluestone ‘book’.

Mayor Marcus Pearl said: “From its origins as a physical book repository, this fantastic resource has grown to also deliver the digital knowledge, technology and social connection our community seeks. Book readings and author conferences, book clubs for adults, children and teenagers, film screenings, story time and even picnics with teddy bears, there is something for everyone. tastes. » |

Mr Trayling, who is no longer a resident of Port Philip, was delighted with the way the library had developed over the past half century when he passed by a few months ago.

“It’s very lively, it feels wonderful – it’s inviting,” he said.

“A library is like the heart of the body in a community. This makes everything work and is open to everyone.

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