Toowoomba City Library

Library Planning and Design Consultant to Peddle Thorp and James Cubitt Architects.

As evidenced in Australia and around the world, new libraries providing a significant increase in both technology services and programmed activities experience a 3-5 fold visitation increase. Population projection figures over the next 20 years indicate a resident population in Toowoomba of 140,000 and a total of 250,000 across the region. Growing suburban populations will be served by new Libraries and or Community Lounges as per the recommendations of the TRC Library Facilities Strategy Report – 2012. Growth in library service and provision of spaces for training, meetings and community based activities will see a changing demographic using the City Library with more children, youth and family usage.

The provision of a range of spatial types allows for a range of traditional and contemporary library activities promoting both commercial partnerships and social interactions. In addition to traditional library activities, spaces enabling activities such as exhibitions, events, meetings and gatherings promote a mutually beneficial critical mass of knowledge distribution, learning and activity. Further, these benefits enhance and enrich the social experience within the overall cultural and civic precinct creating a true people place. The Toowoomba City Library provides a broad range of specific activities and programmes requiring a large range of differing spaces. This range of spaces is grouped into a series of ‘families’ or ‘spatial types’ according to activity and function rather than location or ‘ownership’. By recognising spaces with similar characteristics based on activity and by further developing detailed strategies through the design process, we developed an ordered solution to material selection, finishes, colour, lighting, fittings, furniture etc.

In this way,

  • Spaces are recognisable according to the activities they host – spaces ‘sign’ themselves and assist with way-finding and navigation.
  • Fittings and furniture can be relocated throughout the building offering maximum flexibility and long term adaptability.
  • Fixtures are systemised according to activity optimising building operations and promoting efficient building management and maintenance.
  • The character of the library as a place develops as a response to the needs and activities of people rather than as an overlay on built
    function. In this way the atmosphere of the place is intrinsic and encouraged to evolve with changing needs, response and activity.

Broadly the following types of space are provided:

  • Gathering Places – arrival, assembly, break-out, informal events,
    waiting, relaxation.
  • Collection / Reading Spaces – collections, browsing, reading, lounging.
  • Display Spaces – information, interpretation, exhibition, signing.
  • Interactive Spaces – meeting, discussion, performance, training, learning.
  • Support Spaces – storage, resources, service, amenity, infrastructure.
  • Workspaces – study, research, production, processing.