State Library Victoria - history

How to research the history, development, architecture, collections and management of the State Library of Victoria.


Not to be confused with the La Trobe Reading Room (Dome), or the libraries of La Trobe University, State Library Victoria's La Trobe Library building is on Latrobe Street, running east west. Originally named after Charles Joseph La Trobe, first lieutenant-governor of Victoria, it is now known as the Armstrong building, and is the entry to the Village Roadshow Theatrette (Entry 3).

The foundation stone was laid on 2 July 1951. It was 14 years later, in April 1965, that the building opened for business. The La Trobe Library was officially opened by the Premier, Sir Henry Bolte, on 6 September 1965. The aim was to bring together in the one building, many of the wide range of Australiana collections of the State Library, including those housed in the old 'Australian Room' in the annulus area of the Domed Reading Room.


Perspective view produced in 1950. One of a small collection of sketch designs for the building. H28187.


Glover, Anne. Victorian treasures from the La Trobe Collection. South Melbourne, Macmillan, 1980. LTF and LTR 708.99451 G51V

Includes a history of the establishment of the La Trobe Library and treasures of the collection.

The Guardian, 7 July 1955, p 7, [microfilm]

The foundation stone of the La Trobe Library was laid by the Victorian Premier the Hon J. G. B. McDonald on 2 July 1951, however by 1955 plans for the new building were still vague and no money allocated.

Reilly, Dianne, September 1992, ‘The La Trobe Library', La Trobe Library Journalvol 12, nos 47-48, pp 73-76.

Discusses establishment of the La Trobe Library in 1965, and its holdings. Other articles in this issue discuss various collections within the La Trobe Library.

La Trobe Library

Photograph of Justice and Mrs Starke, and another man, standing at the entrance to the La Trobe Library, State Library of Victoria

[Opening of Early Melbourne Suburbs exhibition], 1967, H30639

Justice and Mrs Starke standing at the entrance to the then La Trobe Library, State Library Victoria; another man standing with them.