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Bookplate Cafe - The National Library

Home > Canberra > Dinner | Cafes | Food and Wine | Lunch
by Sue W (subscribe)
New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published May 30th 2015
Lakeside views with spiritual charm
When you walk into The National Library, it is quite a surprise to see a beautiful Cafe inside the door with spectacular floor to ceiling stain glass windows around it. The Cafe looks so colourful, cosy and inviting, you have to walk in for further inspection.

When you go over to touch the windows you realise that they aren't the traditional stain glass type - the black between the colours is particularly thick, however when you walk outside to feel the back of them - they are smooth. They are beautiful pieces of artwork creating a calming, spiritual effect - perfect for a library cafe.

Bookplate Cafe the National Library Canberra
Impressive stain glass windows designed by Leonard French


There are 16 stain glass panels in total that are inside the Café and Gift Shop at the front of the Library. In the 1960s, the Library's chief architect (Walter Bunning) commissioned the artist, Leonard French, to create this stain glass artwork in the themes of "sky" and "planets", to fit in with his vision of artworks in the foyer relating to water, earth and sky. Leonard French completed the panels in 1967 and are still as impressive today.

Bookplate cafe, the National Library, Canberra
Yummy cakes and muffins made by their own Pastry chef,an extensive menu,coffee, smoothies and alcoholic drinks - Bookplate has alot to offer.


The "Bookplate Café" is open for breakfast, lunch and coffee is served all day.Their modern seasonal menu, cakes and drinks choices suit most tastes. Unfortunately there is no menu on their website (The National Library website), however at the time of writing it appears they are creating their own individual website coming soon - which will provide menu and price information before you go. It isn't at the budget end of the Cafe scene, however with delicious home made muffins at $4 each (I recommend the banana and white chocolate if it is offer!), coffee and cake is an affordable morning out. Looking around at the amount of people there for morning tea, we weren't the only ones who had discovered this pleasant café.

The outside seating area is also attractive with huge umbrellas, comfortable seating and views over the lake. An ideal location for a relaxing coffee, wine or lunch in a peaceful environment.

Bookplate Cafe Canberra the National Library
Outside seating with views over Lake Burley Griffin


Bookplate Cafe The national Library Canberra
Views to the lake, impressive in any weather.


So if you are after something a bit different when you go out for a coffee, or you are looking for a special place to take your loved one for a celebratory lunch, then "Bookplate Café" ticks a lot of boxes. The Library also an interesting place to wander around afterwards and check out the new exhibits while you are there.

It also has the added advantage of being so close to the lake to enjoy a stroll afterwards - to work off some of that cake!
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Why? A pleasant spot on the lake to enjoy the view and stain glass windows.
When: Open Monday - Thursday 7:30am - 5pm. Friday and Saturday 7:30am - 4pm. Sunday 9am - 4pm.
Phone: 02 6262 1111
Where: Parkes Place, Parkes, Canberra
Cost: Prices vary - there are menu items plus specials boards.
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