Mitcham Memorial Library & Brownhill Creek in Hawthorn
If you thought libraries were just for bookworms or cranky types who like to ‘shh’ your kids, think again. Libraries aren’t what they used to be – particularly Hawthorn’s Mitcham Memorial Library.
by Carla Caruso
Following a $6.5 million rebuild, the new-look Mitcham Library flung open its doors in January 2019. And the feel is more that of an airy, modern, vibey ‘community hub’ than a mere book-lending place.
You’re even allowed to take snacks in – great for youngsters, using the study nooks – and can grab a cuppa from the self-serve coffee machine for a few bucks. Fancy that … eating and drinking indoors being encouraged!
Originally built in 1965, the library has doubled in size to 1476sq m since its year-long overhaul. Features now include five community meeting rooms (available for booking, even after-hours), a gallery, parenting room, youth zone, lounges and pods, and an external deck. (We could just imagine a mobile café here in the warmer months, or an array of summer activities…)
As well, the toy library, which used to be in a separate building, is now under the same roof and you can serve yourself whenever it’s open, rather than being restricted to limited hours. (Although, note: there’s a membership fee for borrowing toys.)
The children’s library section is also now a colourful, vibrant spot, with entertainment options including dress-ups, board games, and craft. During school terms, there are special sessions put on for parents with young ones too. This includes ‘Wriggle & Read’, aimed at kids aged 0-2 (on Wednesdays, from 10.30am), ‘Story Time’ for those aged two to five (Mondays and Thursdays, from 10.30am), and the open-aged ‘Toys & Talk’ (Fridays, from 10.30am). The library puts on school holiday activities for the older kids as well. Plus, others in the community are catered for with film mornings, scrabble meetups, French classes, and more. (Dates and times as at September 2019)
After you’ve squirreled away hours inside with your little ones, you can then head outdoors to ‘bush kindy’ at Brownhill Creek. (Well, that’s what my kids call the library gardens anyway, because they’re near Mitcham Preschool.)
Brownhill Creek, which cuts through it, has been widened, and stepping boulders and logs have been added to create an ‘active’ nature play space. (Bring the kids’ gumboots and wet-weather gear following a rainy day.) Two new footbridges, plus new footpaths, have also spruced things up.
While Mitcham Council has had some controversy around its off-and-on Christmas carols (which used to be staged in the gardens), we couldn’t recommend this spot more. It’s definitely nothing like the libraries of old.
What we like
- It’s a kid-friendly library, with lots to entertain the little ones, from children’s books to craft, puzzles, dress-ups, board-games, story-time sessions, and more
- The self-serve toy library, open whenever the main library’s open
- The self-serve kiosks for borrowing books, and the array of titles, DVDs, music, toys and more on offer
- Loads of lounges, study nooks, and meeting rooms to use
- Super-spacious and airy building
- Picturesque creek-side setting, which can be viewed through the big windows
- Toilets available, plus a parenting room
Things to consider
- If your kids do want to jump across the creek’s boulders and logs later on – and it’s recently been raining – best to pack gumboots and a change of clothes for them!
- Check the library’s opening hours before visiting – they differ by the day.
Coffee and food options nearby
- There are oodles of foodie options within walking distance, including Subway and Urban Chicken, or the Shell petrol station next door for snacks, plus Mitcham Square shopping centre and Aldi are close by. For coffees or hot chocolates, you can also use the self-serve coffee machine in the library (for a small fee).
Library Opening Hours:
- Monday, Tuesday & Thursday | 10am–5:30pm
- Wednesday | 10am–8pm
- Friday | 10am–2pm
- Saturday | 10am–4pm
- Sunday | 2pm–5pm
For more information and all enquiries please visit the Mitcham City Council website.
What: Mitcham Memorial Library & Brownhill Creek
When: 7 Days a week (see library opening hours above)
Where: 154 Belair Road, Hawthorn
All photos by Carla Caruso for Play & Go Adelaide
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change. Dates and times correct as at September 2019.
Want to get all the latest events and activities straight to your inbox?
Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter below to keep up to date with our latest posts and find out all the best events & activities for Adelaide families. Newsletters are only sent once a week, and you may sometimes get a special offer exclusively for our subscribers only!