“Fresh and zesty” writers unite in Carlton libraries

“Fresh and zesty” writers unite in Carlton libraries
Kaylah Joelle Baker

Active support for writers in the city is becoming a priority within Carlton over the next couple of months with, not one, but two spaces dedicated to emerging writers.

Between the Biblioteca pop-up library on Lygon St and the Kathleen Syme Library’s writing groups, the City of Melbourne is encouraging writers at all stages to explore their potential, with hopes that this could lead to a growth in the creative sector that has been left in a state of recovery since the pandemic.

“Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital and we know our creative sector can boost the city’s economy,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.


Prior to the pandemic, creative industries contributed more than $31 billion to Victoria's economy each year and employed more than 260,000 people


Opened on March 18, Biblioteca pop-up library sticks with the aesthetic of its location in Carlton’s “Little Italy” through its name, decor, design and literature, while making its support of writers the most notable aspect of what sets it apart.

Including more than 900 books for visitors to peruse through, the space is also fitted with writing stations and studio rooms for short-term residencies, and an area  for hosting writers workshops.

“Our Biblioteca pop-up library is designed especially for enthusiastic writers. We’re encouraging budding authors to drop in and make use of this versatile space, and the incredible networking opportunities it presents,” Cr Capp said

Promising “fresh and zesty titles” and a sunny space for visitors to start their own “pithy work”, Biblioteca is part of an initiative funded by both the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government and is included within the Melbourne City Revitalisation’s $200 million fund.

The latest library to join the series, Biblioteca runs alongside a food-themed library in the Queen Victoria Market precinct, a child-centric space in Federation Square and an Express Book Bar in Little Collins St.

In addition to providing new creative library spaces, the City of Melbourne is also partnering with Writers Victoria in supporting writing groups for people with disabilities at Carlton’s Kathleen Syme Library.

As part of the Storming the City program, which is funded by the City of Melbourne’s Arts and Creative Investments Partnership program, participants meet monthly to share work, develop writing skills and work with local mentors and guest tutors.

“Storming the City has been designed to provide access to mentoring and a supportive writing community where disabled writers have a safe space to tell their stories their way,” Writability program manager Jessica Obersby said.

The creative writing groups started in early March and are resuming up until October 12, with a second location also provided at the Wheeler Centre.

The opening of the pop-ups and the start of the writing groups also run in line with the Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards which now has five categories after the latest addition of self-told stories by writers living with a disability.

Entries for awards open on April 4 and close on June 30, with cash prizes for the winning writers of each category.

Enticing people to get back into writing again, The Lord Mayor said the Biblioteca pop-up library was the “perfect location for local writers to pen their entry.”

The Biblioteca pop-up library, which can be found at 185 Lygon St, is expected to operate up until June 30 •

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