Australian Library Design Awards



The Australian Library Design Awards showcase the best in contemporary library interiors and exteriors in Australia, and celebrate the investment in libraries made by our nation's institutions, corporations, local, state and territory governments. 
They have been developed in the context of other competitions internationally, including the American Institute of Architects/American Library Association Library Building Awards and the Danish Agency for Culture Model Programme for Public Libraries Public Library of the Year Award.  
The entries, shortlisted and winning designs provide case studies in excellent library design for the 21st Century. They are submitted for consideration for the UK’s Designing Libraries website. There is also media coverage for the finalists. 
The awards are organised by the Australian Library and Information Association. The inaugural awards were presented in 2017, and they are now a bi-annual event. 
In our 2021 gallery, you can find 33 new and refurbished libraries from across Australia. These libraries have entered the third ALIA Australian Library Design Awards. Nominations include inspirational and achievable examples of modern exteriors and interiors for school, public and academic libraries. 


There are four categories – public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries and special libraries. Applications are encouraged for small or large projects, for "new builds", renovations or refurbishments. While entries are judged against the same criteria, the juding panel is empowered to make special awards for outstanding entries in specific areas where a high level of innovation, creativity and transformation has been demonstrated, regardless of scale.
There is also an ALIA Members’ Choice award, voted for by Association Members.


The judging panel comprises independent design professionals and senior library leaders.  For the 2021 awards:

  • Janine Schmidt, IFLA Library Buildings and Equipment Standing Committee (Chair)
  • Janette Burke, University Librarian, University of Tasmania
  • Philip Follent, Life Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects
  • Anne Girolami, Chair, ALIA Schools
  • Paula Kelly Paull, Leader - Growth and Development, Raeco and Director - Progressive Momentum
  • Anne Kovachevich, Australasian Leader, Arup Foresight + Innovation team
  • Karen Latimer, Member and former Chair, UK Designing Libraries Advisory Board
  • Kylie Legge, Director, Place Partner
  • Jenny Mustey, Library Services Manager, Campaspe Regional Library
  • Ann Ritchie, ALIA HLA



In addition to the kudos and publicity surrounding their achievement, the winners of the awards receive handcrafted trophies which are presented at the Changing Spaces Library Design Conference.


Entries have now closed and will open for the 2023 awards in the second half of 2022.


Entries will be assessed on how well the designs have met their objectives and specifically on the basis of the following criteria:  
    Design: including interior, exterior appearance, visual impact, flexibility, innovation, accessibility, and integration into/consideration of the local environment.

    Strategic relevance: including approach to achieving the organisational, service and design objectives, response to special considerations or challenges, sustainability, and value for money.

    Community engagement: including initial identification of needs through to concept development and project delivery.

    Impact: including user experience, efficiency, functionality, delivery of services, and meeting community needs particularly those of specific groups.

For smaller projects constrained by space or costs, the panel will assess the level of innovation, creativity and transformation achieved despite the constraints.

The judges’ decision will be final.


The ALIA Library Design Awards are kindly supported by ArchitectureAU.comRaeco and State Library of Queensland.



More information

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Page updated 28 May 2021.