Special Collections

1. Swift Reads

Sometimes a good read can feel so elusive! That's why we have created Swift Reads, a collection of popular and recommended reads that will move quickly from one keen borrower to the next.

Named after our special and rare Swift parrot, we hope these books will fly off the shelves and into people’s hearts. 

2. Take Home Tech

Welcome to the Hobsons Bay Library 'Take Home Tech’ collection


Items in these collections can be reserved online (where the most up to date information on item availability can be found) and returned to a library desk during branch opening hours.

Items in these collections can NOT be returned via the chute.

When returning, follow any additional requirements for that item (ie. factory resets or erasing personal data) and ensure all pieces in the item's box.

Tech Toys Collection

Items in this collection can be borrowed for 7 days.


Anki Cozmo (more info(PDF, 533KB))

Anki.pngAn interactive, programmable robot friend for you to teach and learn with. For ages 8+.
Batteries are not included in the set. Power cubes require 1.5V size N batteries for use.




Osmo Genius Kit (more info(PDF, 295KB))


Hands-on learning through interactive games. Includes Words, Numbers and Tangram kits. For ages 6 to 10.




Ozobot Evo Kit (more info(PDF, 337KB))


The Ozobot EVO is a programmable robot that can be used to develop computational thinking skills. For ages 5 and up.



Sphero Bolt (more info(PDF, 262KB))


Sphero BOLT is an app-enabled robotic ball that you can drive around and learn creative coding skills through play. For ages 5 and up.



Sphero Specdrums (more info(PDF, 225KB))


Specdrums are app-connected rings that let you create music using physical play. Tap coloured surfaces to create sounds, loops, and beats. For ages 4 and up.



What is the 'Take Home Tech' Collection?
It’s an assortment of physical objects (like tools, technology and toys) that you can borrow from the library.

How long can I borrow the item for?
Different collections will have different borrowing restrictions placed on them. Please check the item before borrowing it to confirm.

Why do I have to reserve it online?
We have limited supplies at branches you are more likely to have success by reserving it and picking it up at your desired branch than by turning up and asking for it.

Why do I need to return them to the desk? Why can’t I use the chute after-hours?
Some of the items are fragile and we don’t want them to be damaged in the returning process (also some items are simply too big to fit through the chute itself). Returning them to the desk also ensures staff can check that all items within a kit are present.

Do I need to do anything special before returning the item?

  • Make sure all pieces within the kit are there, ensure they are clean and report any damages to library staff upon return.
  • If you are required to perform extra steps (ie. resetting or clearing data) these steps will be specified with the kit (you can find additional details by clicking on the ‘more info’ page for that item).
  • Where possible, if items can be recharged prior to returning, that will benefit the next person borrowing the item.


If you are not sure, feel free to ask library staff for assistance.

How do I use this item? Why won’t it work?

  • Click on the ‘more info’ section for the item you are having problems with (each kit will have a QR code on its label which will take you to that page).
  • We have compiled a range of useful information there, including start up procedures, compatibility details as well as links to external troubleshooting guides.


If there is information you feel is missing or would be helpful, please let us know.

Why don’t you have XYZ?

  • Not all items are appropriate for our collection (ie. they may be too expensive, too fragile, already available by another service or too hard to maintain by our staff) however we are always looking for suggestions to build this collection further.
  • You can always recommend an item to add to the collection.


See our Customer Request Guidelines(PDF, 58KB) page for more details. 

3. EnviroCentre

The EnviroCentre is located within Altona Library and is home to a range of field guides, conservation manuals, books with local bike and walking trails, and books relating to local environment issues and groups.

EnviroCentre Collection

  • Magazines: Whether you are after magazines on permaculture, sustainable house design, organic gardening or health and wellbeing, we have selectively curated some of the best sustainability magazines available in one collection for you.

EnviroCentre Magazine Collection

  • Envirocentre Equipment: Whether you want to check out the minibeasts in your backyard with our nature viewers and binoculars, educate the next generation with environmental games, seal your home in time for winter with our draught finders and thermal cameras, or lower your power bills with our popular PowerMates, the EnviroCentre has a range of borrowable equipment to suit your needs. 

EnviroCentre Equipment


4. Heritage Collection

Hobsons Bay Libraries are dedicated to the collection and preservation of the history of Hobsons Bay and its peoples.  Areas of Heritage focus are:

  • Local History
  • Maritime
  • First Nation
  • Australiana
  • Military
  • Rare books
  • Council reports (the Cities of Altona, Williamstown and of Hobsons Bay)

Heritage collections are primarily located at the Williamstown branch where specialised staff are also available to assist with your research needs. Contact Hobsons Bay Libraries to make an appointment with a member of the Heritage team.

Key titles on Hobsons Bay's history 

Paton Cabinet

Located in the heritage room of Williamstown Library is a large collection of records related to family and local history research that includes newspapers, voter rolls, rate books and more. 

Local newspapers held on CD-ROM and microfilm include:

  • Altona Star Newspaper 1966-1977 (3CD-ROM set)
  • Newport Times 1888-1941 (microfilm)
  • Williamstown Advertiser 1875-1993 (microfilm)
  • Williamstown Chronicle 1856-1964 (microfilm)
  • Williamstown Independent 1859-1861

You can also search for archived newspapers online via Trove, from the National Library of Australia.

Find help with Heritage Research