Paddington Library 1977 to the present

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Paddington Library 1977 to the present

In 1976 the Paddington Town Hall Trust was formed to be responsible for the restoration of Paddington Town as a community centre. Stage one included the transfer of the library in December 1976 from the lower hall to the ground floor area on Oxford Street.1

Plans for the updated building included space for Radio Eastern Sydney as well as an exhibition space, cinema, café, ballroom.

A community Video Access Centre was established in the old branch library area. The installation of video cassette recorders and monitors in the library was a unique service, ushering Paddington residents into the video age and dispelling the idea that libraries were only for books. A spoken word and music cassette collection became a special feature of this branch.2

In January 1994, Paddington Library began operation as a joint service between Woollahra Municipal Council and South Sydney Council. After South Sydney Council’s abolition in 2003, the joint service was continued with the City of Sydney Council, a partnership that is still working successfully today.

Paddington Library now has more than 5,000 active members and, in a typical year sees more than 19,000 people walk through its door and borrow around 120 000 items. The Library is well loved by the local community who come to borrow, study, relax, attend children's programs, book clubs and talks… or simply to chat to the staff and connect with others.

Libraries as a whole played a crucial role helping with community wellbeing during the Covid induced lockdown and the staff moved quickly to offer as many services as possible in an online environment. More importantly they provided human contact at a time when many felt isolated.

In 2022 the first ‘Librarians’ entry into the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras met at Paddington Library before heading off to the parade at the SCG.

1 See plans in the City of Sydney Archives

2 The City of Sydney Library: A Centenary History of the Library and its Branches 1909 – 2009 Chapter 10].