The State Library of Victoria

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The morning of our second full day in Morning, we decided to visit the State Library of Victoria, which is at the north end of the Central Business District.

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It’s an interesting, impressive building, with a large, round, domed reading room.

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The library also shows exhibitions, including two which are on permanent display, the Changing Face of Victoria  and Mirror of the World : books and ideas which are located on the galleries around the circumference of the dome, providing visitors with good views down into the void of the reading room!

One of the highlights of the exhibition about the history of Victoria was the section devoted to the famous Bushranger, Ned Kelly. The exhibits included the armour that he wore during some of the Kelly gang’s raid and during the final showdown with the police in the small ton of Glenrowan, where they were planning to rob a train, on 28 June 1880.

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and his death mask.

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I couldn’t help but note the library opening hours, 7 days a week – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday to Sunday. What a contrast with libraries in the UK which are being starved of resources. The main library in Wigan has had it’s opening hours severely cut back , shutting at 5 p.m. weekdays and, unbelievably, at 2 p.m. on a Saturday! You can almost forget visiting the library if you are lucky enough to have a full time job.

 

7 thoughts on “The State Library of Victoria

  1. Ooh, a library! That would definitely be on my list of places to visit.

    I follow an excellent blog called Public Library News which chronicles all the problems facing libraries: closures, reduced hours, handing the whole thing over to “the community”. Unfortunately, he’s never short of something to write about. Also, you hit the nail on the head – reduce hours, people can’t get there for whatever reason, usage drops, oh look! Nobody uses this library, we can close it. It’s depressing, though it’s not nearly so bad in Scotland: my local library is still open 7 days a week, including four evenings till 8pm, so I’m grateful for that.

    • Oh, of course. Given your background 😊.
      We’ve visited some interesting libraries over here – the new ones in Liverpool and Birmingham and the revamped Art Deco Central Library in Manchester are all worth a visit .
      The librarysituation is scandalous really. Branch libraries shut and the recent reduction in hours. Like you say it leads to a viscious circle that “ justifies” further cutbacks and closures.

  2. Hello I’m a tour guide for the World of the Book tour at the State Library of Victoria. I’m thrilled you enjoyed visiting the library and were impressed by the opening hours. When it opened in 1856, anyone could enter and choose books off the shelves so long as they were over 14 years of age and had clean hands. In Europe and North America the libraries only allowed people over the age of 21 to enter.

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