Friday, 21 August 2020

Visitors to Manly Library will notice we are in the middle of a mini makeover. It is still a work in progress but there are some great new additions which people of all ages will enjoy.

Light-filled lounge area

We’ve got a new large lounge area which can now be used by readers of all ages. Take a book from the shelves, or bring your own, and while away an hour or more on the comfy new seating.

Open plan space

The wall is down! We’ve removed the service desk and the wall behind it to make better use of this space and allow more light to flow through into the rest of the library.

Expanded new children’s area

We’ve been a victim of our own success as families flock to the library to read, attend Story Time and explore the vast children’s collection. We love nothing more than seeing young people with a book in their hand! That’s why we’ve created a new children’s area, double the space of the old (from 80m2 to 140m2 -190m2 including new Story Time area), with brand new furniture, colourful panels ready for artwork, new mobile shelving, adorned with a huge world map.

The new area addresses the safety issues associated with the old amphitheatre and resolves the fire risks inherent in the old space.

This section is still a work in progress, stay tuned for ongoing improvements to make this an even more special space for young visitors to the library. We are a little hampered by COVID-19 restrictions at present but our plan is to have more seating and other soft furnishings in this space as soon as we are able.

Consolidated children’s collection

Many parents didn’t even realise half the children’s collection was actually on the first floor, all the non-fiction titles simply couldn’t fit in the old area with the fiction books! Now we have the whole children’s collection together and the proof is in the (magic?) pudding - we’ve already seen a 60% increase in loans of non-fiction titles.

New Story Time area

We are thrilled at how popular our Story Time sessions had become prior to their temporary cancellation due to COVID-19. They were so popular however, that they were having an impact on other library users with the noise and large numbers of prams.

That’s why we’ve converted a large former meeting room into a new Story Time area which has been soundproofed. Youngsters will be able to enjoy the sessions, sing, dance and clap along, without impacting on someone studying for their HSC or trying to reach a book on the shelves.

This room leads off the new children’s section so there is also plenty of rooms for prams. And we are exploring options such as glass doors to provide a little more natural light for this space. Outside of program time, post COVID, this space can also be a read and play space for children and their carers.

We look forward to trying out this new space when COVID-19 restrictions ease and we can get back to delivering these sessions – our librarians miss them!

Larger local studies area

With growing interest in local studies and family ancestry, we have relocated the local studies section to the second floor, enlarging the space and providing additional study, consulting and meeting spaces for the community.

Arts and Creative Space

COVID-19 has meant we can’t yet launch this new space, but as soon as we can we’ll be opening what was formerly the local studies room as an arts and creative space for the community to use as well as being a space for workshops, events and quiet reading or study.

More seating

While we have a great new lounge space for all ages, we are progressively adding more seating across the library to ensure everyone has an opportunity to read, study or just relax in the library space.

More flexibility

The new space and mobile bookshelves are the way of the future where libraries move and change around depending on the community need. We now have more options to accommodate author talks, drama or school holiday programs. Overtime we plan to upgrade all the old shelving which will provide even greater flexibility to arranging our space.


The refurbishment of Manly library is being undertaken with careful consideration of the whole community and all age groups and has involved an external library design specialist.

We are still working on it and always welcome your feedback as we make these improvements. Thanks to initial feedback we’re already making some additional changes to the new children’s area to better define the space, adding more chairs and tables and moving one of the service pods to make the space even larger.

Stay tuned as we continue the refurbishment and make this popular library an even more enjoyable public space for all.