As a self confessed library slut, I have spent my fair share of time in Perth’s libraries. Trying a new library can always be a little scary: Can I bring my coffee? What’s the Wi-Fi password? What’s that sticky stuff on the bathroom floor? Below are some insider tips on Perth’s best and worst libraries.
The City of Perth Library has a tree in it. A literal, breathing, living tree. If you aren’t sold already I don’t know what else to tell you. I once saw Lloyd Rainey outside so I guess it has some celebrity endorsement. The toilets are surprisingly clean and the cafe on the bottom floor, Hello Larry, has very satisfyingly thick takeaway cups and delicious coffee. This is easily the best library in Perth if you can overlook the strict internet allowance (download music before you go). It has the beautiful glow of natural sunlight and you can eat and drink and book study rooms to your heart’s content. The top floor is designed for ages “15-24” so it can get a little crowded around exam time, but the lamps on the first floor are also worth checking out.
If the State Library was a person it would be a that weird dude who comes to the library to google normal stuff he could probably google at home. You may flash back to those terrifying “you are made of entirely toxic fat” ads and be tempted to take the stairs. Take the elevator. The internet here is generous and tends to improve the higher you go (avoid Floor One!) and it’s proximity to Livingstone’s means you’re never far from Perth’s best bagels. Beware that food and drink is a strict no no and when the security guard tells you that you can’t drink your coffee listen to him because he will kick you out and it will be embarrassing and you will have to leave while everyone watches and be too scared to come back for three months. The view of Perth city is inspiring if you can look past the territorial crow fights that take place on the windowsills.
The facilities are almost non-existent and the only redeeming quality is the vague sense of nostalgia it emanates. This place is a literal hole.
The Town of Cambridge Library is well lit and well laid out. The tables at the back by the window are fairly quiet however during exams it is near impossible to get a table so I would give this place a miss around then. It is backed right on to Floreat Forum means you’ll never run out of snacks or reasons to procrastinate. The wifi is great but you have to ask for the password, which is fine because all the librarians look like their name is Sue or Linda or something but they are very nice and will help you out with whatever you need. Also, water doesn’t really taste like anything but for some reason the water fountain out the front has really good water?
Like a cheese toastie, the Nedlands Library is a little bit basic but always reliable. The internet is speedy and will never let you down, which is more than I can say about most library internet services *cough* Unifi *cough*. This place is usually very quiet largely in part to its popularity amongst old people. You might catch the occasional oily-haired youth googling something weird or watching a strange YouTube video but sometimes it’s important to broaden your horizons and open your mind. It’s quite close to UWA so it can be ideal when you need a change of scenery but don’t want to venture too far away.
The Subiaco Library’s key strength is its location. It’s near some pretty great cafes as well as Jean Claude’s bakery which has amazing baguette sandwiches. The library itself is quite small and there are a limited number of tables that you could actually study on, but the space itself is well set out, with plenty of little reading nooks. The bathrooms are plastered with adorably kitsch bookshelf wallpaper. The wi-fi can be quite slow, even on days where there is no one around so plan around that. It is also very very quiet, especially on weekends so I would recommend it for a leisurely study sesh where you just need to plough through some readings or an assignment. An all round cozy and comfortable vibe.
Ava Cadee | @avacadee