Community visiting new YAM and Library in droves

Coffs Harbour City

Community members are coming out in droves to enjoy their new library, arts and museum spaces at Yarrila Place.

At the Harry Bailey Memorial Library, there has been a flurry of new members and existing members renewing their accounts. Already 736 members have been added to the library membership list since Yarrila Place opened on the 16 September.

“We’re off to a flying start with locals currently driving our great visitor numbers,” said Ian Fitzgibbon, acting City of Coffs Harbour Director City Planning and Communities.

Yarrila Arts and Museum (YAM) has seen 8912 visitors in its three weeks of operation – a great result given the old facilities saw about 20,000 annually.

And the library has had an estimated 19,000 visitors take in all of its three levels.

Both adults and children are making the most of the new types of items they can borrow from the library.

“Nearly every STEM kit and Lego kit has been borrowed. A third of the cake tins are currently on loan – and board games proving popular too,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Purpose-built study nooks are extremely popular with HSC students as they prepare for their exams.

About 160 school children visited as part of organised programs in the week before school holidays. All the arts and library programs running across The Workshop, Make Space and Digital Studio were booked out for the school holidays.

STILL 2023 saw 160 people attend the exhibition opening of the national art prize while a teacher’s preview welcomed 35 participants. Self-led children’s activities have been activating The Workshop at YAM and these complement the exhibitions on display.

“The Workshop space has been extremely popular with children and families visiting YAM,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

And the programs team are transforming spaces for one-off events – the Learning Lab became a dance and movement studio while other spaces are letting children try their hand at drumming and podcasting.

“Yarrila Place is definitely the new go-to place for people to meet,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“People are meeting under the fig tree, queuing to enter the library, using the atrium as a walkway, catching up for coffee at the 2D Coffee House and wandering around the building admiring the architecture.”

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