The State Library of Victoria has reopened all areas, including its massive front doors, after a mega $88.1 million refurbishment.
The Vision 2020 Redevelopment Project was a major refurbishment of the library’s heritage spaces, as well as the creation of new spaces and new entrances. More than 2 million people visit the 1856-built building every year, and now that it has reopened there is 40 per cent more public space and 70 per cent more seating.
Here are some of the spaces you can see:
The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall
The library's original reading room, the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, had been closed to the public since 2003. The room has been returned to its original purpose as a reading room, with the 19th-century decor restored. The original skylights, which were closed in the 1970s, have been uncovered. It can now be used as a reading room during the day and an events space at night.
The Swanston Street main entrance has reopened, complete with a new foyer and digital information to help visitors navigate around the library. The old marble staircases are back, and you can now see the long-hidden 1920s murals that cover the walls of the landing.
Even more spaces!
- A new world-class exhibition space called the Victoria Gallery will showcase the best of the library’s collections;
- A Conversation Quarter, a state-of-the-art public space for lectures, conferences and workshops;
- The ground floor of the library is now known as the Quad and connects all four of the library’s activity courtyards;
- The Pauline Gandel Children's Quarter, a new children’s space, has opened and features a treehouse-style loft;
- StartSpace, a new centre for entrepreneurship that will help develop early-stage startups and small businesses; and
- Three new reading rooms will be opened too, so there will be plenty of places to read, study or take a cheeky lunchtime nap (hey, no judgement here!)