New light on a Victorian favourite
The Premier, Steve Bracks, today officially reopened the State Library of Victoria’s restored Domed Reading Room.
He said the reopening marked the return of a muchloved space, which has been closed for renovations for almost four years.
“The renamed La Trobe Reading Room is the highlight of the State Library’s extensive redevelopment program,” Mr Bracks said.
“It is the culmination of a project supported by successive governments for more than a decade, commencing with the Cain Government.
“The State Library’s grand reading room, first opened in 1913, recognises the right of every individual to access information, inspiration and ideas.
“The Library has played a vital role in contributing to a knowledgeable Victorian society. Its role is to collect, preserve and make available Victoria’s recorded heritage.”
The reinstatement of glass panels in the dome roof, covered in 1959 to prevent water seeping in, allows natural light into the 35-metre high, four-level space.
Heritage Queensland Silky Oak tables and chairs have been refurbished and Internet connections installed to meet the needs of 21st century users.
The reading room will house material from the La Trobe Collection, which includes more than 150,000 books, pamphlets, journals and magazines. It covers topics ranging from Australian history and biography, literature and culture, travel, Antarctic exploration and Aboriginal studies.
Mr Bracks said the restored La Trobe Reading Room was a milestone in the Library’s $200 million redevelopment.
He said when the Library opened in 1856 it had only two rules of entry: library users must be of good character and have clean hands.
“Today the rules are pretty much the same. The Library remains a vast and varied house of information, ideas and inspiration – for everyone.”
The La Trobe Reading Room will open to the public from 10am tomorrow (Wednesday).