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Loreto College

A South Australian all-girls day and boarding school, Loreto College Marryatville, has redeveloped its junior and senior school libraries with an imaginative and thoughtful new renovation.

The college, established in 1905, is set on beautiful heritage grounds and the new library spaces were re-designed to take full advantage of the stunning environment.

Loreto College Business Manager Phil Kightley told School News that the decision to renovate the school libraries was part of a plan to update the whole property and the core design inspires a creative aesthetic for future renovations.

The priority for both refurbishments was to bring the traditional library spaces into the digital age. Architects were engaged to open up, modernise and create a fun environment with a “nod to the past but preparedness for the future”.

Phil expanded on the project saying, both libraries were very traditional, but we wanted more flexibility, we wanted research spaces and creative zones to inspire a variety of learners.

The junior school library space was opened to increase connectivity with classrooms and the outdoor nature play area. The size of the bookshelves and the number of books on display were reduced but the visibility enhanced of the fiction and non-fiction on smaller, lower shelves.

The design successfully de-clutters the space and allows more natural light in, making way for green spaces and indoor nature.

Phil added: “A surprising consequence of reducing the number of books on display is an increase in books on loan!”

With a theme of “discovery and imagination”, the junior school library now features a showstopping focal point – the central wooden tree installation created by The Adelaide Festival Centre Workshop.

Phil revealed: “The central focus of the library is the learning tree; its trunk, tunnel, branches, foliage, fairy and spotlights enrich the whole space and inspire storytelling and discovery. It really grabs the attention of the students who love to climb, play and crawl, and then settle down under a spotlight to read in the quiet nooks.”

The library also has a beautiful fireside area with circular seating, an array of zones for quiet reading, discovery and playtime alongside a research area and digital spaces. The librarians are thrilled with the new space and are located near the learning tree.

Meanwhile, the senior school library, renamed the Senior School Information Resource Centre, is now celebrated as being the “core of the senior campus”. It is lighter, brighter, less cluttered, and has space dedicated to research, collaboration, and project-based learning, alongside a tinker space and lecture theatre for up to 100 people. The library’s technology is built for the future and ‘tech booths’ allow students to study quietly on their laptops.

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