NeXT: Footscray Library, Cultural and Community Hub

    Why do we need this development?

    Rapid population growth in Footscray and surrounding suburbs results in increased demand for library, learning, arts, culture and social engagement opportunities.

    Residents of Melbourne’s west deserve opportunities that are the equal, in terms of quality, of other parts of Melbourne.  Across Melbourne there are more than twenty performing arts venues available to the community that can seat 500 or more people; none of these are located in the western suburbs.

    The existing Footscray library is a highly utilised facility and has served the community well. However it is under-sized and not configured to meet the needs of the community in the future.

    How has this project progressed to now?

    In 2015 Council developed concept plans to upgrade the existing Footscray Library.

    In 2016, community consultations resulted in a resounding desire to see the Footscray Library fulfil a broader range of learning, arts, and cultural experiences. In a nutshell, the community aspiration was for more than just a library.

    In 2017, Council went back to the drawing board to reconceptualise the project proposal. Council appointed a planning and design consultancy to prepare a feasibility report to reflect the aspiration of the community. 

    In 2018, Architectus in partnership with Schmidt Hammer Lassen was appointed to complete Stage 1 (Feasibility and Concept Plans) and Stage 2 (Business Case) of the project.

    The Feasibility Study is now complete, and is the subject of the current consultation.

    Who has been consulted so far?

    The initial consultation in 2016 was conducted with library users and members of the community.

    As part of the feasibility report in 2018, seven focus groups were held with community representatives across the following themes:

    ·  Arts organisations

    ·  Education & learning

    ·  Community

    ·  Children

    ·  Young people

    ·  Inter-cultural

    ·  Performing Arts

    In addition, consultation with a range of state arts organisations was also conducted.

    Who put together the concept design options?

    In early 2018, following an open procurement process, Architectus ( in partnership with Schmidt Hammer Lassen ( were appointed by Council to complete Stage 1 (Feasibility and Concept Plans) and Stage 2 (Business Case).

    Are these the final designs?

    No. The images are concepts only that were developed to determine what functions could be combined and accommodated on site, to then gather feedback from the community as to which concept achieves most support.

    How will the final design be chosen?

    If Council endorses one of the concepts to proceed to detailed design, a thorough procurement process will be followed to select an appropriate organisation to complete the final design in consultation with the community.

    How much will this redevelopment cost?

    That is yet to be determined, and needs to be informed by the views of the community. 

    Should this project be realised, depending upon the scale of development favoured and supported, the cost may range from approx. $44m for the like for like option up to approx. $128m for the large concept design.

    Funding will be sought from the State and Federal Government, along with private and philanthropic organisations.

    What groups in Maribyrnong and the west need new meeting, arts and cultural spaces?

    This facility will be for the whole community. Including:

    • Arts, music & performance organisations
    • Primary and secondary schools
    • Young people
    • Senior citizens groups
    • Cultural groups

    What type of community meeting spaces will the development have?

    This will be informed by the community consultation on what concept they support.

    • The like for like and small concepts allow for the addition of smaller meeting spaces only.
    • The medium concept would include some small and medium flexible spaces.
    • The large concept would cater for flexible small, medium and large community meeting spaces including the potential for wet spaces for community arts groups.

    Would the current library be closed during construction?

    It is most likely that the current library would need to be closed during construction. Library resources would be made available during the construction period in a temporary location.

    What type of technological capabilities will be part of the new library?

    The new library would be fitted with cutting edge technology for the benefit of the community.

    If this project goes ahead, will the car parking spaces be replaced?

    At the completion of this consultation phase, Council will be asked to endorse a more detailed investigation of the preferred option. Should Council endorse the detailed investigation, a traffic and parking study, to assess the future car parking demand and options for meeting this demand, would be undertaken as part of this.

    What is the timeframe for this project?

    This project will only proceed if funding can be secured from a range of sources including state and federal governments and philanthropic contributions.

    Following the endorsement by Council of the Feasibility report on 22 October 2019 the following stages will need to take place before construction commences:

    • Undertake community consultation process (2019/20)
    • Seek Council endorsement to begin detailed design (2020/21)
    • Complete detailed design and follow procurement process to select a final design (2021/22)
    • Commence construction (2023)
    • Complete construction (2024/25)