Introduction to the library

Explore our collections

State Library Victoria is our State’s reference and research library. We hold extensive resources on all areas of world knowledge and we are the archive of Victoria’s published history. We have a substantial digitising program and we also subscribe to a wide range of online books, journals, newspapers and more.

Collection formats

Audiovisual material

As well as books and magazines, the Library collects a range of audiovisual formats, including compact discs, videos, DVDs, vinyl records and tapes.

 

Books

When the Library first opened in 1856, there were 3846 books on its shelves; today, we hold over two million.

 

Ephemera

You’d be surprised at how many 'here today, gone tomorrow' things we collect at the Library.

Eresources

The Library subscribes to a wide range of digital resources covering a diverse range of subjects.

Journals & magazines

We have magazines and journals on virtually every subject, from both Australia and overseas, and many are available online.

Manuscripts, letters & diaries

The State Library is the guardian and source of Victoria’s documentary heritage and holds over seven linear kilometres of manuscript records.

Maps

The State Library's map collection is large enough to carpet metropolitan Melbourne, with the focus on Victoria and including a wealth of rare and antique maps.

Music scores & sheet music

The Library's collection of music scores extends from Bach and Beethoven to AC/DC and the Rolling Stones.

Newspapers

The Library’s newspaper collection comprises Australian and overseas publications, including every newspaper published in Victoria and most major dailies from our capital cities.

Pictures

The Picture Collection documents Victoria’s history visually, through artworks, objects and photographs.

Realia

Objects, mementos and artifacts (known as realia) are acquired by State Library Victoria because of their association with people or events in Victorian history.

Zines, comics & graphic novels

The Library collects all forms of popular culture, including publications such as zines,

 

Stories

Our Stories page features curiosities, treasures and the latest inspiring stories from our community and inside the Library.

Watch video series about our collections:

Library Blog

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Collection facts

Oldest collection item
Cuneiform tablet, c2050BC

Oldest book
Boethius' De musica, a late 10th century manuscript

Oldest manuscript
A grant of land from Simon de belle Campo (Beauchamp) to Warden Abbey, circa 1160-1180, in the Manners-Sutton family papers

Tallest book
Description de l'Egypte measures 107 cm x 71 cm

Tiny books
Volumes of the Midget library measure 19 mm high

Unusual collection items