The Grove turns 10!

Published: Thursday, 30 July 2020 at 11:18:22 AM

 This year marks the 10th year of operation for The Grove Library. If you think that can’t be true, you are not alone.  It came as quite a shock to all of us.  Time has passed very quickly and much has been achieved over the years.

The first library service started way back in 1967 when the Town of Cottesloe and the Shire of Peppermint Grove joined forces in the hope of providing cultural, educational and recreational advantages to the residents of the area.  Housing almost 10, 000 books the original building stood on this very land, next to the Peppermint Grove Shire building and depot. 

In 1975 The Town of Mosman Park decided to become part of the library agreement.  Surprisingly, in 1978 a change of name to The Grove Library was suggested.  As a unanimous agreement could not be reached the name was rejected, for the time being at least and the lengthy name of Cottesloe-Peppermint Grove-Mosman Park Library remained.

Always a trailblazer of new technology, in 1984 the library was the first in Perth to offer public access to the personal computer.  A single machine was offered to housewives, children and businessmen alike at the modest cost of 50c per 30 minutes of use.

That same year concerns were raised about the inadequate size of the library building.  Patronage was high at 75% equating to 13,500 members. Although extensions to the original building were considered they were ultimately rejected in favour of a new purpose-built library that would better serve the community well into the future. It wasn’t until 2006 that a notice was published detailing the proposed development of the Peppermint Grove Shire Offices, Library, Depot and the former bowling club site.

As work progressed the new library made headlines across Perth.  The community soon realised this was not going to be like any other library in the State.  The building would be a master piece in architecture and sustainable practice, a real community hub and far more than any of the councils could have afforded individually. 

Staff took regular photos as the work progressed and these have proved to be a fantastic record for our history collection.  Excitement grew as all manner of climate sensitive features were adopted.  WA’s first environmentally passive library includes a thermal maze of rock to cool air, double glazed automated windows, a photovoltaic system and a rainwater harvesting system all of which is managed by a sophisticated computer system.  Landscaped gardens are reticulated from the state of the art toilet system which re-distributes effluent to the garden beds. The library took 13 months to construct at a cost of $18 million.

As opening day drew closer, strong debate ensued over the naming of the new library. Some interesting suggestions included The Very Clever Library, Elise Curtin Library and Riversea. Then once again the name suggested all those years ago was reinstated into the mix of offerings and The Grove Library was born, welcoming its first customers on 16th August 2010. The building was officially opened by The Honourable Simon Crean MP – Minister for Regional Development and Local Government on 30th March 2011. 

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