Victorians are set to benefit from two exciting new spaces at State Library Victoria, thanks to a $3.5 million donation from Australian business leaders and philanthropists Jane Hansen and Paul Little AO.
The donation from the Hansen Little Foundation was made to the Library’s Vision 2020 building redevelopment which will open 40% more space to the public, and includes the creation of Hansen Hall, a vibrant, new technology-enabled space where Library visitors can eat, drink, converse and carry out their work at the same time.
Hansen Hall will be a new focal point for Library visitors, combining heritage architecture with a contemporary look and feel. It will represent the best features of a 21st century library in a lively and dynamic area where visitors can meet, connect and collaborate.
Jane Hansen said that a passion for education connects the Hansen Little Foundation and State Library Victoria. “The beautiful environment of the refurbished Hansen Hall will provide a light-filled free space where people can work and enjoy a coffee while still able to access the Library’s extensive facilities and expert staff,” said Ms Hansen. “By working together, we can help more people achieve their learning goals in an inspiring and welcoming environment.”
The Hansen Little Foundation’s gift will also fund the Library’s new Conversation Quarter. This high-tech venue will be equipped with two-way digital broadcast technology to take Library events and programs to schools and homes around Australia and bring the world’s best events and experiences to Melbourne.
Paul Little AO said the Conversation Quarter endowed by the Hansen Little Foundation embraces the future of learning and enables everyone – wherever they are – to engage with big questions and big ideas. “Technology like this opens the world to so many more people,” said Mr Little.
“It will stream live educational programming to children in regional and remote communities and connect Melbourne in real-time to organisations like NASA, the Bolshoi Ballet and the New York Public Library. That’s tremendously exciting.”
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley welcomed this latest donation to the $88.1 million Vision 2020 project, a partnership between the Victorian Government and the community: “This project is an extraordinary partnership which will ensure that our State Library is at the centre of our community, our education state and our knowledge economy for many, many years to come,” said Minister Foley.
“These works will mean more people than ever have access to learning, education and quality programming, allowing young minds to reach their potential, wherever they may be. With the fundraising target met, government investment committed, designs finalised and builders on board, work starts now on creating the library of the future here in Victoria.”
State Library Victoria CEO Kate Torney said the donation will enable the Library to begin an exciting program of transformation. “The Hansen Little Foundation’s generosity means that we can now begin construction on Vision 2020,” said Ms Torney. “We’re delighted to have reached our initial fundraising goal and are now focused on the next phase.”
“Ongoing philanthropic support is vital so that we can deliver new and innovative programs and services that meet the growing and changing needs of our community, and continue to build and preserve the collection for the future.”
Hansen Hall and the Conversation Quarter are part of the Library’s Vision 2020 redevelopment and are due to open at State Library Victoria in 2019. For more information, visit: www.slv.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: An Artist’s Impression of Hansen Hall – courtesy of State Library Victoria