The most digitally advanced library in NSW opened its doors today on the ground floor of the City of Newcastle’s new Customer Service Centre in Newcastle West.
The Digital Library offers visitors a range of state-of-the-art digital technologies, including a podcasting studio, an interactive digital wall that tells the story of local suburbs, as well as videos promoting the city, Google Earth, various live streams, and a host of other learning materials.
It also includes an industrial 3D printer, a programable robot, and only the second digital multimedia ‘Magic Box’ anywhere in the world, which provides a hands-free way of reading the more than 400,000 items in the City’s Heritage Collections, including about 1,500 rare books.
The Digital Library also breaks new ground in terms of the collection on offer.
Rather than offer up a single copy of every book as done in a traditional library, the Digital Library stocks up to 10 copies of the latest and most popular books, CDs and DVDs. Older books can be ordered and delivered to the Digital Library for pick-up.
Large touch screens offer up digitised copies of more than 6,000 newspapers and magazines from 123 countries around the world.
Tablets and personal computers are available free of charge, as well as free Wi-Fi and online games inspired by literary classics.
The entire Newcastle Libraries’ collection is also available for download to your personal device, enabling people to read books from their phones or tablets rather than the traditional approach of borrowing a physical book to carry home.
The ground floor of the Council Administration Centre also features a new Customer Service Centre for residents who need to meet with staff for matters such as development applications.
Return visitors will immediately notice the introduction of a concierge service, inspired by Service NSW’s popular one stop shops throughout the state.
The Digital Library, which was approved by the council in 2019, cost $2.8 million in total.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the digital space completes the transition from the Roundhouse building, which was sold in 2018.
“Whether you need to enquire about a DA, speak with a member of the Customer Service team or access the hundreds of thousands of items in the City’s e-Library catalogue, the City Administration Centre offers a seamless experience for you to get the most out of your visit,” Cr Nelmes said.
Manager Libraries and Learning, Suzie Gately, said the Digital Library space was an innovative exchange for City and Library services.
“We are extremely proud to be able to promote our city as having the most digital advanced library in NSW for learning, whether it be for children or adults,” she said.
“Technologies such as the free podcasting studio are about ensuring our community have the digital skills required to secure jobs over the coming years.”
Funding of $2,128,835 towards the cost of the project was provided via the 2015 sale of the former Newcastle School of Arts that was dedicated to be used for a new library.