Major philanthropic gift supports State Library of Victoria

State Library of VictoriaA new gallery exploring Victorian history will become a major visitor drawcard at the State Library of Victoria and lead the revitalisation of an historic Melbourne precinct. An $8 million donation from the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation will enable the Victoria Gallery to tell the many stories of our history, showcasing extraordinary treasures from the Library’s vast collections and beyond.

“Myriam and I are proud to be associated with the State Library Victoria. In our view it’s not just the greatest library in Australia but one of the greatest in the world,” said Library Board of Victoria President and John and Myriam Wylie Foundation Director John Wylie. “This transformational project will take the Library to another level and we’re proud to be supporting it in a substantial way.”

The donation will also reopen the Library’s Russell Street entry which has been closed since 2002 and transform the eastern end of the building – creating a new city hub for Melbourne’s growing population with collaborative spaces, a vibrant café and a retail area.

An additional $5 million from the Andrews Labor Government will upgrade all entrances to the Library and the surrounding streetscape, which covers the entire city block. The upgrades will increase access to Australia’s busiest public library with a new universally accessible entrance on La Trobe Street.

The Victoria Gallery and the Russell Street activation are part of the Library’s Vision 2020 redevelopment, announced last year, with construction due to commence in 2017. The Government is investing $60.4 million towards the project. The Library will raise the remaining $27.7 million to deliver the $88.1 million project. This latest donation brings to the Library more than halfway to its target.

“The Victoria Gallery will help bring to life the State Library’s many collections, drawing locals and tourists alike to one of our most treasured institutions, said Premier Daniel Andrews. “I welcome the generosity of the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation – it’s an extraordinary gift to the people of Victoria.”

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Image: State Library of Victoria (supplied)