The State Library plays a leading role in Victoria’s cultural and educational landscape.
Since opening in 1856, the Library has provided a special place where all Victorians can enjoy equal access to information and engage with collections that describe our past and inspire possibilities for our future.
Over the past 160 years we have constantly adapted our services, spaces and technology to meet the changing needs of the community.
Vision 2020 is a hugely significant redevelopment project that will deliver the Library of the future to the people of Victoria today.
Vision 2020 will enable us to continue to evolve the ways we deliver critical services, share our expertise and collections, promote literacy and foster a love of learning.
Vision 2020 will refurbish the oldest part of the Library, The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, returning this spectacular heritage space into a public reading room and first-class event space. New modern spaces will be created – including dedicated spaces for young learners and entrepreneurs – and existing facilities will be made more accessible, adaptable and accommodating.
Our role as a centre for education, literacy, learning and creativity will be strengthened by the creation of a centre for digital living and e-Town Hall, while new technologies will ensure regional Victorians will enjoy improved access to our collections and services.
A consortium of internationally celebrated architects are leading the Vision 2020 Library design. Multi-award winning Australasian design firm Architectus and Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, one of Scandinavia’s most recognised architectural practices, will transform the iconic building, refurbish heritage spaces to reveal the original architecture and upgrade services.
‘The calibre of this consortium will bring our Library to life in new and exciting ways – making an even better experience for Victorians and visitors alike, and adding to Melbourne’s reputation as a city of world-class design.’ – Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley
The $88.1 million redevelopment is being funded through a combination of government, private and corporate philanthropic support. We are hugely grateful to the Victorian State Government for providing $60.4 million in funding for the project, and to our major donors and partners for their support.
In August 2015 the Library received a $10 million donation from the Ian Potter Foundation to refurbish Queen’s Hall, and in December 2016 the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation donated $8 million to transform the Russell Street end of the historic site.
Find out more about how you or your organisation can help support this transformational project.
- Create 40% additional public space to accommodate our ever-growing number of visitors, researchers and students
- Redevelop existing public spaces, making them more accessible, adaptable, modern and innovative
- Refurbish and reopen Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, returning it to public use as a reading room and event space
- Introduce fresh services and experiences to breathe new life into our heritage assets and extraordinary collections
- Create engaging, purpose-built spaces for children, families and teenagers to nurture creative learning, literacy and play
- Create a centre for digital living, promoting digital literacy and providing technology-enabled spaces for entrepreneurship and innovation to support and stimulate Victoria’s creative economy
- Strengthen the Library’s position as the hub of Victoria’s learning community, connecting audiences and libraries across the state via the e-Town Hall
- Increase connection with regional Victorians through the digital delivery of programs
- Increase contribution to Victoria’s education economy by supporting the state’s growing number of international students with improved access and spaces
- Increase contribution to Victoria’s tourism economy through the restoration and enhancement of heritage and exhibition spaces
- Reinforce Melbourne’s position as a UNESCO City of Literature and reputation as world-class centre for culture, arts and events.
Evolution of the Library
State Library Victoria is one of Melbourne’s founding institutions, established barely 20 years after the city was settled. Founded in 1854, and opening in 1856 as the Melbourne Public Library, it was the first free public library in Australia.
It was founded on an ideal of learning and discovery for all Victorians and mandated to preserve Victoria’s heritage by collecting items of historical and cultural significance for future generations.
This democratic philosophy has remained at the heart of the Library’s operations through the many changes to its collection, spaces and services over its 160 year history.
Vision 2020 is the next episode in our long and eventful evolution, reflecting a history of re-purposing and adaption to meet the changing needs of our users.
Visit our research guide to learn more about the Library’s history.