Flashback Friday: Wodonga Library's long history

In a regular series, we are going to take you on a little time travel as we delve into the Wodonga Council archives.

We will bring you stories and photographs from the 142 years since Wodonga became its own municipality.

The council’s archives are filled with interesting stories, some you may have heard of and some you may not have, and a couple that are mysteries.

Feel free to share your recollections of Wodonga on our Facebook page or via email media@wodonga.vic.gov.au

Flashback to 1916 when the Henry Beardmore Library opened (located at 78 High St – where Middleton’s Carpets now is) with much fanfare and excitement.

The Shire Council closed its doors briefly so all staff could attend the opening, and local school children attended too.

Shire President and Member of Parliament Henry Beardmore laid the foundation stone (you can still see it today on the outside of Middleton’s Carpets shopfront).

In 1950, Wodonga Library joined the Upper Murray Regional Library.

Fast forward to 1982 and the library found a new home on the other side of the Civic Centre on Hovell St, and the Beardmore Library was formally opened on October 12.

Library membership increased rapidly in the modern premises, rising to more than 9000 by 1988.

In 2013, Wodonga Library took a new direction – after many years as part of the cross-border Upper Murray Regional Library service, it became a stand-alone library.

These days it also complements its neighbours (Arts Space Wodonga, The Cube Wodonga and the Senior Citizens' Centre) that make up the cultural precinct.

The library has very much adapted to the needs of today and includes a meeting room with WiFi, a history resource room, and local history collection. It is a colourful, modern and safe space… a space for information and life-long leaning and a space for relaxation, recreation and community engagement.

Today about 11,000 people are members of Wodonga Library and are entitled to borrow from 100 other libraries around Victoria as part of the Swift Consortium.

Groups who call the Wodonga Library home include the Friends of the Library, Lego Group, Manga and Anime fan group, Young Writers, Tinker Team, and regulars at the Information Technology Sessions.

The library also hold amazing events such as National Simultaneous Storytime, and Night-time Storytime where everyone comes in their pyjamas.

Last September Wodonga Council welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement of funding for the redevelopment of the Wodonga Library and Arts Space Wodonga.

Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford announced the $4 million in funding at The Cube Wodonga.

Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said the state’s investment would build on the momentum of the transformation of the city centre.

“This precinct, which is the anchor of the southern end of the central business district, has more than 300,000 visitors each year,” Cr Speedie said.

“This important redevelopment will not only meet the needs of our growing community but also provide the opportunity to promote an accessible and fit-for-purpose facility that provides a program of culture, arts and history to our residents and our visitors."

To read about plans for the new cultural precinct click here.

Stay up-to-date with the project at our Major Projects website.