Enlivening our Present by Illuminating our Past


<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



Previous COVID-19 Updates

Tuesday July 21st 2020

To ensure that the safety of our staff, members, and visitors is our highest priority, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close our doors once again.

The Library will be closed for browsing from Monday 27th July onwards, until it is safe again to open. We will be working very hard while we are closed to investigate an alternative borrowing method (eg delivery, online ordering etc) so that members can still read while we are shut.
All borrows will have their return date extended until after we reopen again, and memberships will be extended to align with this closure.

Members are welcome to email Rosemary, or call the library (03 5331 3042) to utilise our ‘click-and-collect‘ service. All books must be requested before arriving, and you should only attend after being contacted by Rosemary.

We will be regularly posting on our social media, and will send emails with any further updates on our circumstances.

We thank you for your continued support of the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute, and we hope to see you all again in the coming weeks when it is safe to do so.

Be Kind, Be Safe.

13th June 2020

Great news! The BMI Library will be opening its doors for regular borrowing from Monday 15th June, with some conditions.

To maintain the safety of all members, staff and volunteers we will continue to have a number of measures in place, and we ask that all those who are visiting the library follow these procedures.
– Please DO NOT visit the BMI if you are feeling unwell or showing any symptoms of COVID-19.
– Hand sanitiser is available as you enter, please make use of this.
– We ask that you only spend a maximum of 15 minutes in the library for each visit. If you spend any longer you must record your name and details with Rosemary to assist with any contact tracing that may occur.
– All other spaces within the building remain closed, including the Heritage Reading Room, the toilets and kitchen, and all spaces for hire.
– When returning books these should be placed in the designated area when you enter the library, so that they can be quarantined as per the guidelines from the ALIA.
– Please ensure you maintain a distance of 1.5 meters from others in the library.

The Library will be capped at 10 people at any time, so you may need to wait for other people to leave before you can enter.
We will also be continuing to utilise our online ordering form into the near future. So if you would like to spend less time in the Library you are welcome to use this service (https://bmiballarat.formstack.com/forms/library_loan_request).

We also ask that you continue to be patient over the coming weeks and months as we continue to navigate the works and maintenance that we will be continuing to do, especially on the basement area. Make sure you are watching this space for a short tour of the basement and the changes that have already happened!

25th May 2020

The Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute has been the independent home of arts and culture in Ballarat since its establishment in 1859. During this time we have encountered hardship and challenges but time and time again the BMI has always found a way to fight through and continue serving its significant role in Ballarat’s rich cultural heritage.

It was positive news from the Victorian Premier on Sunday that restrictions are lifting slightly in Victoria, and we know you’ll be keen to find out when the BMI Library can re-open.

At this stage we are planning to open our doors in Monday June 1st, and we are carefully preparing for a staged approach to this reopening. The BMI needs to ensure it can meet all of the social distancing and hygiene protocols to continue to keep you, our valued members, and of course our staff and volunteers, safe.

Initially we will not be open for browsing, but will only be allowing book returns and pick-up of pre-requested books. These requests can be submitted via our online form (https://bmiballarat.formstack.com/forms/library_loan_request) – this is the preferred method – or via phone at 03 5331 3042.

We are asking that members do not visit the BMI until they have been contacted by one of our library team. This is so that we do not exceed the maximum allowed number of people within the building, and also due to the works that are continuing in the basement. We also ask that you do not visit the BMI if you are feeling unwell or showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

While we are ecstatic that we can re-open our doors, please bear in mind that things won’t be quite the same as they were before COVID-19. There will be a ‘new normal’ for our library service as we work on extra risk minimisation and operational protocols to keep us all safe. These include; practising good hygiene and cleaning protocols, managing and quarantining books as they are returned, and practising safe distancing in the library.

We’ll be in touch again as soon as we have more to share. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support. Membership renewals are an encouraging sign of your support for the organisation.

We can’t wait to see you back here at the BMI.

Yours sincerely,

Colin Jackson
Executive Manager
on behalf of the whole team at the BMI

23rd March 2020

In accordance with updated advice from Federal and State governments, the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute will be closing the library and suspending all activities in the building until such time as the threat of COVID-19 has subsided and government advice changes.

This closure will be in place from Tuesday 24th March at 3.00pm.

All books currently on loan will have their return date extended until after the BMI reopens and membership renewals will also be adjusted to match the time period that the BMI will be closed.

All upcoming events at the BMI (for March and April at least) have been either postponed or cancelled. You can view the list below. This list will be updated regularly as we continue to review and respond to recommendations.

All staff will continue to work to ensure that when the BMI does reopen it is in the same condition, if not, better, than when we closed. Rosemary will be working on rejuvenating the library, while Sam will be catching up on maintenance and working on bringing events to the BMI once we can start welcoming people again.

The Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute would like to thank its members, staff, Board and community supporters.

This will be a very difficult time for us all, one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime. I implore you to be kind and caring to those around you, follow all advice from health authorities, and stay safe.

In kindness and health,

Colin Jackson

Executive Manager – Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute

21st March 2020

New patron limits for all spaces in Australia.

The Federal Government have handed down updated patronage limits for rooms and indoor spaces for non-essential gatherings in venues around the country. These limits are calculated at 1 person per 4 square meters.

This has meant that the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute has had to update its capacity for all hireable spaces.

Please see the outline of each room:

Minerva Space: 70pax (20m x 14m /4)

Humffray Room: 28pax (14m x 8m /4)

Hooper Room: 15pax (10m x 6m /4)

Hugh Williamson Foyer: 10pax (8m x 5m /4)

These limits are effective immediately as per government advice and restrictions.

Currently the Library remains operating with reduced hours (Tuesday and Thursday only, 11am-3pm) however we have implemented ‘social distancing lines’ on the floor to ensure that people remain 1.5m away from each other. Please adhere to these lines when visiting the library.

There is also hand sanitiser at the entrance before you enter the library. Please use this before and after your visit to the library.

The BMI Board and Management are committed to the safety of members, staff, and visitors and will continue to follow all advice from federal and state health authorities. Remember that we all need to work together to flatten the curve and look after the people in our community.

Colin Jackson
Executive Manager – Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute