5 reasons to visit the State Library Victoria

State Library Victoria

If you live in Melbourne (or love holidaying here) and haven’t already visited the State Library Victoria, well you are seriously missing out! I’ve got 5 reasons why you must make the journey to Swanston Street to check it out.

Inside you can explore a world of information and stories, enjoy free tours, exhibitions, events and fun for the whole family.


The Changing Face of Victoria - Exhibition at State Library Victoria

5 reasons to visit the State Library Victoria


5 reasons to visit the State Library Victoria


The Architecture

In my opinion, the State Library Victoria is Melbourne’s finest example of Neoclassical architecture. It has remained on the same two-acre allotment since its opening in 1856, but the structure you see today is actually made up of 23 individual buildings that have changed dramatically over the years.

Beyond the walls of the buildings lie a number of iconic features with their own stories – some of which, such as the Architectural fragment sculpture, are as instantly recognisable as the Library building itself. You can read more about the history of the SLV here.


The Exhibitions

SLV has constantly changing, world-class exhibitions. When I visited last month I checked out two exhibitions, both of which were free and wonderful to explore.

World of the Book, which showcased the history of book design, production and illustration from the Middle Ages to today.

The changing face of Victoria, which shared the stories of the people, places and events that have shaped Victoria. The exhibition is still running and features Ned Kelly’s armour (amazing!) and explores all aspects of daily life in Victoria in the 20th and 21st centuries.


World of the Book - State Library Victoria

Book Arts - Exhibition at State Library Victoria



Ned Kelly armour at State Library Victoria


Free Tours

Looking for something fun to do, with a cultural twist? Take a free Welcome to the Library tour which explores the buildings many spaces and services. The tour takes you through their magnificent heritage reading rooms, renowned galleries, exhibitions, study spaces and group work areas, their cafe, and also learn how to become a Library member.


Ultimate Study Zone

Step inside the Library’s grand reading room and you’ll find your study heaven. The atmosphere is a perfect balance of quiet zone x inspiration.

Use their tools and guides to search through amazing historical collections of more than two million books, pictures, newspapers, maps and expanding digitised collections.


For Family History

The Library is the perfect place to explore your family history. Home to a wealth of expertise and information including newspapers, letters, diaries and manuscripts, maps, passenger lists and electoral rolls. A go-to destination for experienced family historians and those just starting out on the family history journey.

Inside their Family History and Newspaper Room and you’ll find all the inspiration and resources you need to research your family’s past. Here you can also have a chat with one of their lovely staff members with any questions you may have in regards to your ancestry.


Brunswick tram model at State Library Victoria

Architecture at State Library Victoria




Other things to do, see and experience in Melbourne…


Top 9 Hidden Secrets in Melbourne


7 reasons to visit Port Melbourne





Emily Collie is Founder and Editor of well-known Australian travel blog, Melbourne Girl. Emily has written travel articles for Expedia, eHarmony, Amex Shop Small Blogger Series and Racing.com, and has been featured on many Australian websites including Mimco Mimzine and Bonds Australia Blog, and was invited on behalf of the VRC and Myer, to judge the Myer Fashions on the Field competition on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day.

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