State Library Victoria - history

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

Online articles

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 closed storage (near the Arts Collection onsite book storage area), and can be consulted by staff on request.

Local History Index

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 Newspaper and Family History Reading Rooms.