The inaugural Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Design Awards were presented in June 2017 at a one-day seminar celebrating Australian library design held at The Library at the Dock in Melbourne. The awards showcased the excellence of contemporary Australian libraries and paved the way for future reimagining of libraries. This posting describes the awards process, portrays some striking features of the buildings, demonstrates superb teamwork of librarians, architects, designers, planners and funding agencies in building new libraries and refurbishing old ones, and hopefully inspires and informs others.
The awards. Handmade frosted vases by Brian Carr of Canberra Glassworks
Libraries serve as critical community partners. They evaluate current and future needs and proactively through service provision fill gaps in the community fabric. They sometimes fail to capitalise on a key asset in their toolkit: the outdoors. Library buildings have historically made use of their surroundings to underscore the significance of the building, focus on the attributes of the location and enhance the “place”, beautifying the environment. Libraries of all types and size and in all climates and locations can use their outdoor spaces to enrich the way they fulfill their missions and to serve their communities more effectively. By focusing on the outdoors and virtually turning the library inside out, libraries can increase their available real estate and provide a wide range of benefits to users.