The State Library of Victoria is reopening all areas, including its massive front doors, on December 5. Some of the sections of the library will reopen to the public after years of closure while the library underwent an $88.1 million renovation.
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 building every year, and when the building is reopened there will be 40 per cent more public space and 70 per cent more seating.
Here are some of the spaces you can see in December:
The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall
The library's original reading room, the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, has 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 will be used as a reading room during the day and an events space at night.
The Swanston Street main entrance is reopening, complete with a new foyer and digital information to help visitors navigate around the library. The old marble staircases are being reopened, and you’ll get to see the long-hidden 1920s murals that covered 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, which will connect visitors in real-time to events happening across the country and around the world;
- The ground floor of the library will be known as the Quad and will connect all four of the library’s activity courtyards;
- A new children’s space will open and feature a treehouse-style loft and a running track;
- 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!)