Located at the corner of Queen and Therry streets, next to Queen Vic Market, the Munro Development is a $500 million project that includes 500 undercover parking spaces, 490 build-to-rent apartments and a hotel with 110 serviced “microapartments”. It’s also the site of narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services, unveiled late last month.

“In the last financial year, our collection of libraries welcomed nearly one million visitors – and we’re expecting this patronage to nearly double with the opening of narrm ngarrgu,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said in a statement. “Melbourne’s CBD is one of our fastest-growing residential areas, with its population expected to more than double in the next 20 years. That’s why we’re delivering this important service for our community.”

The library provides a range of services, stretching beyond the remit of a traditional book-lender. The Makerspace offers emerging creatives a place to work, by way of dedicated painting, photography and podcasting studios, plus equipment such as 3D printers and laser cutters.

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First and foremost, though, this is a library for supporting families and their wellbeing. In addition to a large, leafy outdoor terrace with play area and a six-metre-long interactive eel-trap tunnel, the building houses maternal and child-health support services, family counsellors and a breastfeeding room. It also offers immunisations for adults and children.

Collaborating with Aboriginal elders and artists, the council has sought to ensure recognition of Melbourne’s traditional owners. Included at narrm ngarrgu (which means “Melbourne knowledge” in the Wurundjeri Woiwurrung language) is a carpet designed by Mutti Mutti, Yorta Yorta, Boonwurrung and Wemba Wemba artist Maree Clarke. Her pieces are also on the walls, among some 80 “heritage and never-before-seen artworks”.

Though different from the average library, the new spot still has many of the resources you’d expect at a local – but with a greater focus on diversity. The reading and study rooms swamped by students during exam periods are there, along with a vast collection of print and online resources. With multiculturalism and inclusivity in mind, there are 30,000 print and digital publications available in multiple languages.

narrm ngarrgu Library and Family Services
141 Therry Street, Melbourne
(03) 9322 3700

Mon to Thu 10am–7pm
Fri 10am–6pm
Sat 10am–4pm
Sun 12pm–4pm