Yarra Plenty Regional Library

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Yarra Plenty Regional Library provides library services to 3 municipalities in the northeast of Melbourne. There are nine branch libraries, three mobile libraries (mobile Library, Outreach Library and Reading Rover) and a home library service. The library service covers an area of 983 km² including metropolitan, urban fringe and rural populations. There are 114,668 library members which is 31% of the population of 375,381. There are 155 staff and a budget in 2014–15 of $14,305 million.[1] It is the highest circulating library in Victoria with 3.6 million loans a year.[citation needed]


The Yarra Plenty Regional Library was founded in the mid 1960s, when the former City of Heidelberg agreed to provide library services to the former Shire of Eltham. Later the former Shire of Diamond Valley and the Shire of Whittlesea joined in the regional group. In 1995, following changes in local government boundaries, the new municipalities of Banyule, Nillumbik and Whittlesea continued their support for the regional library service and Yarra Plenty was one of the first regions incorporated under Section 196 of the Victorian Local Government Act 1989.[1]

Service delivery is provided through eight branch libraries located at Greensborough, Eltham, Ivanhoe, Lalor, Mill Park, Rosanna, Thomastown and Watsonia and Whittlesea. Two mobile libraries provide services including a specially designed vehicle that visits institutions for those residents unable to visit a library. The service is co-ordinated from the administration unit located in the City of Whittlesea’s Civic Centre, located in South Morang. YPRL also provides computer services to Murrindindi Library Service, including full access to the library’s database.

In 2008, the Yarra Plenty Library Service completed a change over to Self Service with the RFID tagging of the entire collection and installation of self check machines. These machines allow patrons to add items to their own card, with no staff required to assist. Part of the renovations to Eltham included a self returns machine so that patrons could also return their own materials rather than having staff do it. Changing completely to Self Check Out was a pioneering move on the part of the library, being one of the first in Australia to adopt the technology.

Ivanhoe Library[edit]

Eltham Library[edit]

Eltham Library

The celebrated Eltham Library was designed by multi award-winning Melbourne architect Greg Burgess and won the Royal Australian Institute of Architects’ Institutional Architecture Award in 1995. The library foyer incorporates a stunning and highly functional community art gallery. It receives visitors from around Australia and the world to view its innovative architectural style. The library complex was officially opened on 22 May 1994.

The building was designed to provide a popular cultural focus for the Eltham Community. It integrates a range of activities including the library, a community meeting room, a community exhibition space and a café. Extensive remodelling and renovation took place in 2010, redesigning the no longer needed returns area into a reading corner, and adding a courtyard.

The building is located in a historically significant setting adjacent to Shillinglaw Cottage, the timber trestle railway bridge and a number of old oak and peppercorn trees. The setback, height of walls and the roof, materials and colours were chosen to complement this natural setting.

Diamond Valley Library[edit]

Mill Park Library[edit]

The award-winning Mill Park Library,[2] designed by prominent Melbourne architects Oaten Stanistreet, opened in 2002 at a cost of $8 million.[3] The library is a highly visible landmark in the heart of the Plenty growth corridor. It is one of Victoria’s largest public libraries and the first to be built on the concept of a hybrid digital/print library.[citation needed]

Mill Park Library

The Mill Park Library was awarded the Victorian Engineering Excellence Award in October 2003. The judges rated the public library the best of more than ten urban and regional infrastructure projects, worth up to $10 million. They said the designers applied leading edge engineering innovations and steel to dramatic effect. It was noted that these features, coupled with inclined fascia lines and extensive tapering bronze glass panels, have produced a structure that will remain modern and functional for many years to come.

The J.W. Payne Local History Collection at Mill Park library has historic significance as a comprehensive range of primary and secondary sources that reflect major themes in the history of the City of Whittlesea, including nineteenth century settlement and rural life, local community institutions, government health and mental institutions, urban development and immigration, art and local government. The Collection also tells the story of Yan Yean, Melbourne’s first permanent water supply system.

Lalor Library[edit]

Lalor Library, May Road, Lalor
Lalor Library, May Road, Lalor

Thomastown Library[edit]

Whitttesea Library[edit]

The Whittlesea Community Activity Centre and Library was officially opened on Saturday 18 October 2015. The Library was funded by the City of Whittlesea and a grant from the Victorian State Government's Living Libraries infrastructure program. The Library is 250 sqm and has a collection of 19,000 items. Special features of the building include a children's outdoor reading space, a reading lounge with a gas log fire and a media area designed for teenagers[4]

In April 2016 Whittlesea Library launched their Mr Whittles Robot program. This involves a telepresence robot on a miniature segway-style base with an iPad mounted on a telescopic pole to engage isolated seniors in the community. Less mobile residents can have access to virtual tours, consultations and events without leaving home. This interactive robot will be located within Whittlesea Library and be available to local aged care facilities and socially isolated residents. Funding for this project came from the Whittlesea Bowls Club who donated $5,200 and Whittlesea Community House which donated an iPad air. Whittlesea Library is the first public library in Australia to use this style of robot to allow aged care residents and house-bound residents to engage and reconnect with the community.[5]

Ivanhoe Library[edit]

Rosanna Library[edit]

Watsonia Library[edit]

Mobile Libraries[edit]

The new Mobile Library was launched in January 2006. This state-of-the-art vehicle is one of the biggest in Australia and also one of the busiest. It has nearly 5,000 members throughout the region and lends 107,000 items per year. The vehicle’s special features include three public access PCs with Internet access via a roof-mounted satellite dish. It also has space for activities such as children’s story times. The new mobile will attend local festivals and events and has the ability to operate independently with its own generator. The attractive graphics on the vehicle feature local faces.

Mobile Library

The new Outreach Services vehicle was launched in November 2005. The vehicle services residents at 42 locations including assisted living accommodation, retirement villages and hostels. Among the facilities offered by the new vehicle are:

  • Wheelchair lift and easier general access
  • Face-out shelving to display stock
  • 1,500 items, predominantly large print, talking books, CDs, DVDs and magazines

Other Libraries[edit]

There are other branches for the Yarra Plenty Regional Library.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Yarra Plenty Regional Library Annual Report 2014-2015. South Morang, Vic.: Yarra Plenty Regional Library. 2015. p. 7. 
  2. ^ http://www.yprl.vic.gov.au/libraries/millpark.htm
  3. ^ http://yprl.vic.gov.au/about/whats-new/library-news/2012-june/celebrate-mill-park-library-s-10th-anniversary[dead link]
  4. ^ Yarra Plenty Regional Library Annual Report 2014-2015. South Morang, Vic.: Yarra Plenty Regional Library. 2015. p. 39. 
  5. ^ "Yarra Plenty Regional Library News Mr Whitltes". Yarra Plenty Regional Library. Yarra Plenty Regional Library. 19 April 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016. 

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