How to research the history, development, architecture, collections and management of the State Library of Victoria.
The original Library motto was ‘Delectant domi non impediunt foris peregrinantur’ ('a delight at home, and no hindrance abroad'), from Cicero, Pro archia poeta, cap.7. The original seal featured a bookshelf motif. This seal and motto were used from 1854, and many older books in the collection have this seal and motto stamped on their covers.
This seal and motto are featured on the entrance to the Library's Village Roadshow Theatrette (Entry 3, La Trobe Street, formerly the La Trobe Library). The motto is also incorporated in the design of several stained glass windows (1910) which decorate the stairwells in the west and north links of the Dome.
The motto used on the cover of books in the Travelling Libraries is slightly different. The original motto 'Delectant domi non impediunt foris peregrinantur' has the word 'rusticantur' added ('A delight at home and no impediment abroad while on the road or at rest in the country'). 'Rusticantur' is a clever allusion to the main purpose of the Travelling Libraries, which was to make the Library's books available to the country districts.
Seal of the Public Library, Gallery and Museum of Victoria, 1870, H14027
Another seal, of the then-combined Public Library, Museums and National Gallery of Victoria, from 1870, features the motto 'Tum variae venere artes' ('and then the various arts arrived'), by Virgil.
Detail of art nouveau stained glass window in east link of Dome, State Library Victoria, showing motto. Window designed by Norman Peebles.
As of Monday 16 March 2020 our Library buildings are closed to the public due to the rapidly changing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Our Ask A Librarian reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.