The Library at The Dock offers a wealth of reading matter, and much more. We chatted with two people who’ve been making the most of its spaces and facilities.
Steve Sammartino, author and business advisor
Steve Sammartino lives in nearby Footscray and visits Victoria Harbour regularly, as his children attend The Harbour Family and Children’s Centre. In August 2014 he teamed up with Future Crunch to launch his most recent book, The Great Fragmentation, in the library’s performance space.
“We wanted to launch the book at the Library at The Dock because we thought the space represented what Melbourne is going to look like in the future,” says Sammartino.
“It also represents the focus of the book – helping businesses prepare for and cope with the technology revolution – in a fitting and dramatic way. The library is strikingly modern yet utilitarian and practical; it’s designed for a range of users, and enables the space to be used in different ways,” he adds.
“It’s not all quiet spaces like the kinds of libraries we’re used to; it has an auditorium, a conversation space, and a maker space and it felt like the right place for the launch.”
Around 80 people attended the free event, which was facilitated by Dr Angus Hervey of Future Crunch. Sammartino spoke about his work then took questions from the audience.
Pitched as a business survival manifesto for the technology revolution, The Great Fragmentation explores the shift and fragmentation of power as the world moves from the industrial era to the digital age.
“Power is no longer about might and ownership; power in a digital world is about access. Businesses need to understand this shift and position themselves to survive,” explains Sammartino.
“The technology being developed today is all about participation. It’s democratising tools and information, and physical spaces that understand this – like the Library at the Dock – that are going to be the kind of places we want to be in. Things are really humming down at Victoria Harbour, and the library is a big part of that.”
Rhonda Favaloro, artist and teacher
Rhonda Favaloro has been teaching a botanical art class for the University of the Third Age for the past six years.
“Botanical art is about drawing and painting specimens from nature: flowers and fruit growing in their natural environment, with attention to detail,” she explains.
“We use graphite, watercolours, and coloured pencils, and students are invited to bring their own specimens in. This means that the students get to paint what they like; one student is obsessed with waratahs, another is all about autumn leaves.”
When the Library at the Dock opened in May 2014, she took the opportunity to hold her weekly classes in the Library’s ground-floor Activity Centre. It’s been a great move, says Favaloro.
Her classes usually number between 12 and 15 people of all skill levels, who come from all over Melbourne, specimens in hand, to practise their botanical artistry.
“The class are just delighted with the space; the room is perfect for us. We have stacks of space. We can put the tables together and make as much noise as we like.
“There’s a lovely sense of the wider community, too. People can wander through and look at what we’re doing; sometimes they’ll stop for a chat. It’s an open and friendly space, with kids running around.”
“I like to say that life is good; art is better. And it’s a good life, down at the Docklands, and the library is a wonderful new addition,” says Favaloro, a former resident of Victoria Harbour, who thinks the area is surely attracting a diverse and creative residential population.
“On the days that I’m teaching I like to arrive early and find a nice space to sit and do some reading. Often when I meet with the class at 1pm, I discover that the students have been doing the same thing.”
They often spend time enjoying other aspects of Victoria Harbour after class, too. The majority of the class, including Favaloro, travel in and out of Victoria Harbour by public transport, and wander along the dock taking in the views and admiring the boats once their creative juices have been spent for the day.
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