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What is Vision 2020?

Vision 2020 is an $88.1 million redevelopment of the State Library that will open 40% more space to the public and create state-of-the-art spaces for new uses within the library.

The project will:

  • Redevelop existing public spaces making them more accessible, adaptable, modern and innovative.
  • Restore and open The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall – the original heritage reading room and the oldest part of the Library, returning it to public use.
  • Increase connection with regional Victorians through digital delivery of programs via an e-Town Hall.
  • Create engaging, purpose-built spaces for children and families to nurture creative learning, literacy and play.
  • Create technology-enabled spaces for entrepreneurship and innovation to support and stimulate the creative economy.
  • Create a new, international-standard exhibition space.
  • Increase the library’s contribution to Victoria’s education economy by supporting the state’s growing number of international students with improved access and spaces.

Why are you redeveloping the Library?

State Library Victoria is Australia’s oldest and busiest public library and we have constantly evolved through our 160-year history to meet changing community needs.

Vision 2020 is the next phase in our ongoing development, which will see our spaces and services transformed, opening up 40 per cent more public space to accommodate our growing number of visitors and providing updated technology, creating new exhibition spaces, facilities for children, youth, lifelong learners and entrepreneurs.

What stage is the Library at in the Vision 2020 redevelopment?

On 21 September 2018, the Library completed the first half of the Vision 2020 redevelopment project, with the opening of the following new spaces:

  • Russell Street entrance and new accessible La Trobe Street entrance
  • Russell Street Welcome Zone, a new lounge and meeting space featuring a 60% larger Readings bookshop and new cafe, Guild
  • Isabella Fraser Room, special event space supported by a production kitchen and Showtime Event Group
  • Newspapers and Family History Reading Rooms (comprising The Herald and Weekly Times Newspapers Reading Room and Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Family History Reading Room)
  • Arts Reading Room
  • Rehang of the artwork in the Cowen Gallery
  • New service point in the Cowen Gallery.

The Swanston Street entrance and ground floor are now closed for transformation, reopening in late Spring 2019.

The new entrances on Russell and La Trobe Street are currently the main entry points for Library visitors.

When will the rest of the project be completed?

The second half of the redevelopment project is already underway and will be completed in late spring 2019.

When will the Swanston Street entrance and ground floor spaces re-open?

The Swanston Street entrance, revitalised ground floor spaces and The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall will reopen in late spring 2019.

Will the Library be open during the redevelopment?

Yes, we will remain open and fully operational throughout the project.

There may be changes to some Library services, spaces, collection access and programs during construction. Bookmark our service alerts  to find out the latest changes to help inform your Library visit.

Will seating capacity be reduced during the redevelopment?

Yes. The Library’s seating capacity prior to the commencement of the project was 1,148. The seating capacity from September 2018 until spring 2019 will be 830. The new (indicative) seating capacity once the redevelopment is complete in spring 2019 will be 1,939, increasing the existing seating capacity by 70%.

Can I still access collections?

Yes, collections will be available for the duration of the project. Check the catalogue for open-access locations or to order stored items.

Some collections may be unavailable for short periods due to construction or collection moves, but we will let you know in advance. Any changes to collection access will be listed on the service alerts page.

Who is funding the redevelopment?

The State Government originally funded $55.4 million towards the project – in December 2016 the State Government increased this funding by $5 million to further enhance the impact of Vision 2020. Total State Government funding for Vision 2020 is $60.4 million. The State Library committed to raise an initial $27.7 million through philanthropic sources to commence construction. $27.7 million is the amount the State Library agreed to raise when the State Government committed $55.4 million to the Vision 2020 project, funding $2 for every $1 raised.

When did the public fundraising campaign start?

The community fundraising campaign publicly launched on 30 March 2017. It was announced at a media event to publicly release the Vision 2020 designs.

How much of the philanthropic funds has the library secured?

Our goal was to achieve $27.7. Our generous donors include:

  • $10 million from The Ian Potter Foundation for the refurbishment of Queen’s Hall (now known as The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall)
  • $8 million from the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation
  • $3 million from Allan and Maria Myers
  • $2 million from Christine Christian
  • $3.5 million from The Hansen Little Foundation
  • $2 million from Gandel Philanthropy
  • Additional funds have also been received by anonymous donors and raised through fundraising and philanthropic events.

How much money was raised as part of the community appeal?

The community came out in strong support of the appeal and $515,000 was raised.

The Library is a heritage building, so will all of the original features of the building be kept?

We are working closely with Heritage Victoria and Andronas Conservation Architecture to ensure the safety and preservation of all our heritage spaces throughout the redevelopment.

We are also working closely with Heritage Victoria to ensure the redevelopment complies with all heritage requirements. The design will be respectful of the original architecture and heritage features.

When will the project be finished?

Construction is occurring in a staged process. Some parts will be completed before others but the whole project will be finished by late spring 2019.

Who designed it?

After a public tender process, we commissioned a design team comprising internationally recognised Scandinavian firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects and award-winning Australasian design firm Architectus.

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects is one of Scandinavia’s most recognised architectural practices, and a global leader in contemporary library design.

Architectus is known for its delivery of complex and technically challenging projects, and has received more than 100 industry awards for work across education, public, commercial, infrastructure and transport projects.

The two firms are supported by Andronas Conservation Architects, Irwin Consult and Steensen Varming Engineers.

Who is building it?

Following a public tender process, Built Pty Ltd has been appointed as head contractor for the $88.1 million State Library Victoria Vision 2020 redevelopment. Built has a history of delivering projects in constrained central city locations with a significant public interface. The company was chosen for its strong work methodology and demonstrated experience on heritage refurbishment projects such as Canberra’s Australian War Memorial, Perth’s Old Treasury Building, Sydney’s State Theatre and the Melbourne GPO building.

What spaces will change?

The Vision 2020 project will:

  • create 40% additional public space to accommodate our ever-growing number of visitors, researchers and students
  • redevelop ground floor spaces and courtyards, making them more accessible, adaptable, modern and innovative
  • refurbish and reopen The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, returning it to public use as a reading room and event space
  • 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
  • transform the Russell Street end of the historic site, opening up the Russell Street entrance and establishing a new world-class gallery to showcase the Library’s vast collection to tell Victoria’s stories, past and present
  • establish an e-Town Hall to strengthen the Library’s position as the hub of Victoria’s learning community, connecting audiences and libraries across the state

Will there be changes to heritage spaces?

We are working closely with Heritage Victoria and Andronas Conservation Architects to ensure the safety and preservation of all our heritage spaces throughout the redevelopment. The design will be respectful of the original architecture and heritage features.

When will The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall re-open?

Works commenced in 2017 to re-open the Library’s historic reading room. The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall will re-open in spring 2019.

Will there be noise during construction?

During construction, there may be some noise during opening hours but we will try to schedule noisy work outside of opening hours as much as possible. Our service alerts page will detail any major noise impacts.

Where can I find further information?

Visit our news and service alerts pages for the latest project updates and service changes.

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