26 September 2023

Library opens 2 million reasons to read

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Australia’s busiest public library has hit its own records with the State Library Victoria welcoming a record-breaking 2,071,251 visitors walking through its doors in the past 12 months.

The library attracted people of all ages and backgrounds to the city and marked the start of the busy school holiday period for the Library Minister for Creative Industries, Steve Dimopoulos who joined the State Library Victoria CEO, Paul Duldig and Library staff to mark the milestone visitation.

Mr Duldig said that with the growing demand for the Library’s services throughout 2022-23, an average of 730 people walked through the doors every hour.

“In May alone, the Library hit a daily visitor record twice – with two days recording more than 9,000 visits,” Mr Duldig said.

He said a treasured icon in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, the State Library Victoria attracts visitors of all ages and backgrounds with 79 per cent of visitors under 35 years old, and 51 per cent culturally and linguistically diverse – providing free access to education and inspiration for all.

Established in 1854, the State Library Victoria has been a popular destination for Victorians and visitors for 167 years, while being a hub for local students and an essential resource for researchers.

“The Library is also a popular, free attraction for families and interstate and international visitors.”

“It is clear from the rush every day at opening time that the Library is at the heart of a fresh enthusiasm for Victoria’s cultural landmarks and continues to play a vital role in enriching the lives of visitors, researchers and students,” Mr Duldig said.

“Vision 2020 was designed to make State Library Victoria more accessible, adaptable and innovative,” he said.

“That people are flooding in stands as a clear endorsement of what has been a labour of love for our donors and our staff.”

He said that in a visit to the Library, visitors can see priceless items from Victoria’s history such as Ned Kelly’s armour and Jerilderie Letter; take part in a storytelling workshop or activities for young people; gain business advice for your startup; view a 4,000-year-old clay tablet showing one of the world’s earliest forms of writing and much more.

“Visitation numbers will only increase with the State Library Victoria’s school holiday activities, including LEGO Robotics workshops, behind-the-scenes tours of the Library’s secret spaces and an exhibition of more than 140 photographs from the State Collection alongside emerging and established Victorian storytellers,” Mr Duldig said.

He said the record-breaking entry figures follow the $88.1 million Vision 2020 redevelopment project which was completed in December 2019.

“The project opened up 40 per cent more space within the Library to the public, boosting its program offering and increasing seating by 70 per cent to accommodate an ever-growing demand for its services,” he said.

State Library Victoria is free to visit and is open 7 days a week. Opening times and information about what’s on, can be accessed on the Library website at this PS News link.

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