The $2.8 million redeveloped Sebastopol Library Community Hub was officially opened last week.
The launch coincided with the 150th anniversary of the opening of the old Sebastopol Town Hall, which was erected in 1868 and opened on 19 March, 1869. As a local hub for a range of cultural, learning and recreational programs.
This major redevelopment has transformed the City of Ballarat’s Library and Maternal and Child Health services into a vibrant modern community hub, featuring:
- a larger Library space
- indoor amenities
- an expanded lending library and reading space
- a dedicated children’s space
- a dedicated youth area
- a children’s library
- two refurbished Maternal and Child Health consulting rooms
- meeting room space, with out-of-hours availability
- upgraded technology room and facilities
- outdoor areas
- additional accessible entrance behind the hub
- a 24-hour accessible public bathroom.
The City of Ballarat contributed $2.2 million and the State Government, through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), contributed $600,000 to the redevelopment.
The redeveloped Library at the hub has been a major hit with the community since it first opened its doors on 2 January.
With more than double the opening hours, from 15.5 hours a week at the former Library to 40 hours at the new Library, the service is also enjoying double the number of attendances – averaging 262 people a day.
With the Library providing more programs catering to children in their early years, primary-aged and youth, attendance numbers are only expected to grow. This free City of Ballarat service also features:
- technology Q&A sessions two days a week, with History at the Hub sessions soon to begin on Fridays
- early years programs from Monday to Thursday mornings
- the HackIT program for 7 to 13-year-olds, which runs on Wednesday afternoons, and
- Beyond the Book Club, aimed at 10 to 14-year-olds.
Under the major redevelopment, which began in late 2017, the façade of the former building was retained along with a section of the original Sebastopol Town Hall and the Vietnam Veterans’ rooms.
The Library at the new Sebastopol Library and Community Hub has four staff and longer opening hours – opening Monday to Friday, from 9.30am-5pm, and on Saturdays from 9.30am-12pm.
The hub’s Maternal and Child Health service, which has three City of Ballarat Maternal and Child Health nurses, is expected to support the families of about 260 newborn babies this year. Many families with children from birth to school age are also reconnecting with this new site, either for the first time or as clients of the former Sebastopol Maternal and Child Health service prior to the redevelopment.