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Federation Square Could Soon Be Home to a New $15 Million Public Library

It's one of the City of Melbourne's proposals for the inner city spot — as well taking over management of the site.
By Sarah Ward
March 07, 2020
By Sarah Ward
March 07, 2020

For some, it's an essential meeting place. For others, it's just a patch of concrete in the middle of the city. Whatever your thoughts on Federation Square, the Melbourne site has weathered a tumultuous few years. After being named as the location for Apple's first global flagship store in the southern hemisphere back in 2017, those plans received considerable council and public backlash — including a campaign to buy the space back — before being canned. Along the way, Fed Square received temporary and then permanent heritage protection, and the Victorian Government also asked Melburnians just what should be in the site's future.

Now, the City of Melbourne has announced its proposal: building a new public library at Fed Square. As part of the $15 million project, not only would a new site be erected, but the existing City Library in Flinders Lane would be relocated — a move the council says will "attract one million more visitors to the Square per year".

"Making Fed Square the home of Melbourne's most popular lending library would provide Melburnians with free access to event spaces, creative technologies and world-class resources," said Lord Mayor Sally Capp in a statement.

The plan has been floated as part of the City of Melbourne's proposal to partner with the State Government to take over the management of Fed Square — which, at present, is independently managed — including overseeing its tenancies, maintenance and activation.

Koorie Heritage Trust, Artra Sartracom, Visit Victoria

If the proposal goes ahead, the Council will also allocate an additional $7 million to the Koorie Heritage Trust. Those funds would "ensure the stories the Trust tells and the experiences it offers reach even more people," with a key focus on encouraging international visitors to engage with, experience and understand Aboriginal culture.

Also floated: the staging of more events in Fed Square, drawing upon the City of Melbourne's track record with festivities such as Melbourne Music Week and Melbourne Fashion Week; plus efforts to link the site to the wider precinct, as well as to the MCG.

The City of Melbourne's proposal has been submitted to the Victorian Government's current Federation Square Review, which is due to deliver its key recommendations sometime early this year.

Top image: Robert Blackburn, Visit Victoria

Published on March 07, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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