How to research the history, development, architecture, collections and management of the State Library of Victoria.
When searching for information, keep in mind that the Library's name has changed a number of times. Depending on the timeframe you are interested in, you may need to search for a number of library names.
The Library subscribes to a range of databases giving online access to many full text journals and newspapers. Most cover articles published since the mid 1990s, for example:
These databases are available outside the Library to registered Victorian users.
You can search most of the Melbourne Argus newspaper, published from 1846 to 1957, via Historic Australian Newspapers - here is an example of a search for articles about the the new south wing, which was opened in 1886.
The La Trobe Journal, published by the State Library of Victoria Foundation, contains a wide range of scholarly articles on the Library. Full text is available from 1968, the first issue. The most recent two years are embargoed.
Illustrations can show the changes to Library buildings. To view online images of the Library buildings choose the Pictures tab on the catalogue search screen. Again, keep in mind the Library's name changes - you may need to search for several of the Library's official names to find relevant images, for example Melbourne Public Library. For specific areas of the Library, search using the name of the room or area e.g. Domed Reading Room or La Trobe Library.
The Library's Illustrations Index is a card index giving references to illustrations in early Victorian newspapers, journals and other published works, mainly for the period 1860 to 1910. Check the index under ‘Melbourne. Vic. Libraries. State Library of Victoria'. The index is in in the La Trobe Reading Room's Information Centre and can be used between 10am and 6pm.
The Library's Local History Index gives references to information in newspapers, journals and in-house files about mainly Victorian places, buildings and local institutions, including the Library.
Many references are now on the online Australiana Index; earlier references are on microfiche held in the La Trobe Reading Room's Information Centre and the Family History & Newspaper Room.
As of June 15 2020 the Library is open with reduced spaces and services.
Our Ask A Librarian reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.