State Library Victoria has announced that it will open the doors to its transformed library on 5 December. This will mark the completion of an ambitious $88.1 million redevelopment that will increase public space by 40% and seating by 70%.
Nearly five years in the making, the Vision 2020 redevelopment responds to the changing needs of the Library’s growing community, providing better access to the world’s best knowledge today and into the future.
With the generous support of the Victorian Government, six major donors and thousands of public contributions, Australia’s oldest and busiest public library will soon open a suite of new spaces, programs and services, including:
- a revitalised Swanston Street entrance – featuring a new foyer and digital technology that keeps visitors up to date with what’s on at the Library;
- The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall – the Library’s original reading room and one of Melbourne’s most breathtaking heritage spaces, which will act as a reading room by day and an opulent events venue by night;
- Hansen Hall, supported by the Hansen Little Foundation – a vibrant new collaborative space to meet, work and connect;
- The Quad – the ground floor of the Library, connecting all four of its activity courtyards, with the information centre at its heart;
- Conversation Quarter, endowed by the Hansen Little Foundation – a state-of-the-art public forum for lectures, conferences and workshops;
- Ideas Quarter, home to StartSpace – a new service enabled by the Christine Christian Foundation and a dedicated co-working space for early stage start-ups and small businesses;
- Create Quarter – featuring spaces for group work and school programs, with a calendar of pop-up talks and events;
- Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter – a purpose-built space for children and families to read, learn and play; and the
- Victoria Gallery, endowed by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation – a brand new world-class exhibition space opening 24 October.
Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley MP, said that with the grand opening just around the corner, there is plenty for Victorians and visitors to look forward to. “After two years of construction, our beloved public building is looking forward to unveiling the last of its magnificently redeveloped spaces,” he said. “Together with a suite of new programs, exhibitions, activities and services, our State Library redevelopment project has transformed it into a library of the future.”
The Vision 2020 design was led by an international, award-winning team combining the talents of Australasian design firm Architectus with Scandinavia’s Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. The construction work is being carried out by one of Australia’s largest private construction groups with extensive experience in complex heritage refurbishment, Built.
Vision 2020 is an $88.1 million project funded by $60.4 million from the Victorian Government, with the remainder raised through philanthropic support. The Russell Street entrance and accompanying new spaces opened in the first stage of Vision 2020, as well as the La Trobe Reading Room, Dome Galleries, Redmond Barry Reading Room, Cowen Gallery, and the North and South Rotundas all remain open to the public.
State Library Victoria Acting CEO, Sarah Slade, said she was excited for the approaching milestone. “For 163 years, the Library has been a democratic place for people of all ages and backgrounds to gather, learn and grow,” she said. “This visionary redevelopment would not have been possible without the incredible support of the Victorian Government, our generous donors and the public, who are testament to the Library’s value in a rapidly changing world.”
“People are at the heart of everything we do and we’re delighted that a new generation of visitors – be they children, students, creatives, researchers or entrepreneurs – will have access to a range of world-leading spaces and offerings in our transformed Library,” said Ms Slade.
For more information, visit: www.slv.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: An artist impression of the redeveloped Ian Potter Queen’s Hall – courtesy of State Library Victoria