The streets of Haymarket were once home to Sydney’s main commercial produce markets. Today, they are exploding with new developments. Where people once traded in fish and vegetables, tech start-ups are springing up. It makes sense then that the Haymarket Library – with its archaic books and Dewey Decimal stickers – should make way for something new as well.
The Darling Exchange building, which is the centrepiece of the NSW Government’s $3.4 billion plan to revitalise Darling Harbour, will house the new two-storey library. The City of Sydney hopes the new space will foster the city’s burgeoning start-up culture and become a hub for community development.
“Many of our older libraries are challenged in terms of their existence within heritage buildings. That limits our ability to respond to changing community needs so it’s a lucky happenstance to be able to build a new facility,” says Suzanne Buljan, the city’s manager for libraries and learning. “Think of it as a community living room. As we move towards higher-density living, if people want to make a prototype, or work or study, they come to the library.”
Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the new library will be four-times larger than the current Haymarket Library and boast a dedicated IQ-Hub and Makerspace. “These programs will have a strong focus on tech and data innovators,” City of Sydney manager of cultural venues and programs Marcella Kelshaw tells Broadsheet. “This is an infrastructure space designed to facilitate hands on programming. Anyone who is interested will have the opportunity to use equipment and kit they may not normally have access to.”
Working alongside developer Lendlease, the city council will develop a program of seminars, events and workshops to service local businesses and the community at large. In addition to the new library, Darling Exchange will be home to restaurants, a market hall and a childcare centre.
The library is slated to open in early 2019.