A library might not be high on your travel experience list, but – since I did a round the world trip in 2017 during a Masters dissertation – I started visiting libraries as a great place to study, which isn't alone in your hotel room. There tends to be quite a few people around, sharing a similar endeavour: reading or writing or enjoying being in a shared space.
When I wandered past this extremely funky building on my first day in Perth, I wondered what it was and thought “I'm going in there”. On my first trip, I asked about study spaces and if I was allowed to access the library and they couldn't have been friendlier and more welcoming. Anyone can come in and there are three floors where there are study areas, with power sockets and free wifi for everyone (also computers for those who don't have laptops or computer access at home). I was delighted to see that people of every background were using the space.
On the top floor, there's an amazing terrace, where you can take your book or laptop outside, or even your lunch from the cafe on the ground floor. From up here, I could see these funky cars parked at that expensive hotel and it looked like a scene from a movie.
The view is towards the Swan River waterfront, with a clear view of St George's Cathedral (below).
Architecturally, I appreciated the wrap-around stairwells, which are beautifully rendered in a silver stone. The combination of straight lines and curves are so appealing!
The central atrium is where everything happens or leans into. The geometry does my perfectionist heart good!
There were lots of staff on hand – this must be a great resource for local Perthites (Perthians? Pertholianians?)
Okay, maybe showing off my new hairdo by The Godfather Barbers across the street!
Don't push it mate!
The image below is my first view of the building. You can see what drew me in, right?
Look, I like libraries and shared public spaces because I'm really interested in how we interact and use these spaces as shared environments – in effect, who we become when there is a common reading or writing goal. I was so lucky (as a child) to be introduced to both the mobile library in South Armagh and Newry Library by my mother and to know that access to literature was freely available (and I was expected to engage with it!) This is a legacy from my mother that I'm hugely delighted encourages me to delve into such places overseas!