The modern-day library has become a place for more than borrowing books. It has become a community hub providing a range of services, activities and spaces for locals and visitors to use. Shellharbour City Library, which opened in January 2018, has been recognised by the Australian Library & Information Association (ALIA) as an inspirational and achievable example of library design, nominated as one of 16 libraries across Australia in the 2019 Australian Library Design Awards.

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The library is the centrepiece of the new Shellharbour Civic Centre, designed by DesignInc in collaboration with Lacoste + Stevenson. The vibrant community and cultural hub offers a state-of-the-art library, museum, auditorium, council offices and chambers. Designed with user engagement and inspired by the local landscape, the centre is an inviting facility that serves as a reflection of the community who use it.


The 2000-square-metre library features contemporary collection areas, an array of comfortable and colourful seating for reading, studying or lounging, a children’s zone, spectacular balcony, technology access and meeting and program rooms. The community foyer links the library to the café, auditorium and museum, and the council’s customer service area. The building looks out to the Civic Square, designed by Turf Design Studio, with artwork integrated throughout the building and landscape.

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The Australian Library Design Awards showcase the best in contemporary library interiors and exteriors in four categories: public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries and special libraries. This the second year the awards have been held, and the entries provide case studies in excellent library design for the twenty-first century. The short-listed projects (to be announced in January 2019) will be presented at a one-day conference on 14 March 2019 at the State Library of Queensland, as part of the Asia Pacific Architecture Forum.

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DesignInc wishes Shellharbour City Library all the best for the awards and are proud to have designed a library that that has been nationally recognised for providing a dynamic, versatile and connective hub for the local community.