She's the pride of Swanston Street with arguably the most beloved front lawn in all of Melbourne, and now there's another reason to love State Library Victoria. It's just been named one of the best libraries in the world, which is a very impressive feat!
After a worldwide survey with more than 20,000 votes cast, State Library Victoria came in as the 12th best in the world – now that's nothing to sneeze at. The survey was conducted by passionate library advocate and Melbourne local Vincent Phan, who runs the popular bibliophile website 1000 Libraries.
Whether you've studied underneath the stunning dome ceiling, visited for an exhibition or sat in the sun on the lush green grass of the front lawn, the library has a soft spot in pretty much every Melburnian's heart. Many of us may have never even borrowed a book from its hallowed shelves, but we still swell with pride when we witness its majestic architecture as we pass by.
The survey comes as libraries and bookstores have experienced a resurgence in popularity, with 70.9 million books sold in Australia in 2022, up 7.2 per cent from the previous year. The state library has also reported that it's had the highest annual visitation number in its 167-year history with more than 2.1 million visitors. So it's truly a great time to be a book lover. And as we know, there's so much more than books inside the building — visitors to the library can also see historic artefacts like Ned Kelly’s armour, take part in workshops and activities, see an art exhibition and so much more.
Topping the list of best libraries was Ireland's esteemed Trinity College Library, followed by the French National Assembly Library and the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading in Brazil.
"Books take us on unforgettable adventures and teach us profound wisdom from centuries ago," says Phan. "The smell of a book is simply heavenly. Books are not just objects; they are portals to other worlds. They invite us to explore, imagine, and learn."
Truer words were never spoken. Now if you'll excuse us, we're in the mood to crack open a book and soak up some sunshine.
Here is the full ranked list of the best libraries in the world:
- Trinity College Library, Ireland
- French National Assembly Library, France
- The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading, Portugal
- The Municipal Law Library of Munich, Germany
- Admont Abbey Library, Austria
- Tianjin Binhai Library, China
- Wiblingen Monastery Library, Germany
- Nakajima Library, Japan
- French National Library, France
- Morgan Library, USA
- Austrian National Library, Austria
- State Library Victoria, Australia
- Cuypers Library, Netherlands
- Jose Vasconcelos Library, Mexico
- Library of Alexandria, Egypt