The State Library of Victoria was the first major cultural institution to be established in Melbourne. Since its founding in 1854, it has acquired a large collection of books, manuscripts and other literary and historical material, with a strong focus on items from Melbourne and Victoria. It is the city’s major literary repository and a highly active centre for participation by the public in reading, research and cultural engagement.

The Melbourne Athenaeum Library has been operating since 1839, making it Victoria's oldest subscription library. Open to library members and the general public, it has a reputation for being a charming sanctuary from the hubbub of busy Collins Street outside.

Melbourne has a thriving public library network. The three that service the inner suburbs of the city are the City of Melbourne (branches in Melbourne CBD, Carlton, Docklands, East Melbourne, North Melbourne and Southbank), the City of Port Phillip (branches in Albert Park, Emerald Hill, Middle Park, Port Melbourne and St Kilda) and the City of Yarra (branches in Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Fitzroy North and Richmond). Further out, Craigieburn library in Hume, Victoria was named public library of the year in 2014 following a cross-continent competition by the Danish Agency for Culture. At these, and others, you will find features such as free Wi-Fi, events, story times, talks, launches and other events.

Melbourne is also the centre of the Little Free Library movement in Australia. These tiny dollhouse-style libraries are popping up in front yards across the city as people build miniature libraries using recycled materials to offer books free to the public. A geocaching list has even been set up to help locate them. We can help too - there’s a Little Library in the CBD at Melbourne Central!

School holiday activity: Imagined instruments

2 October 2017 to 6 October 2017
State Library Victoria

Start your own family band in this workshop for kids and grown-ups.


9 October 2017
Hobsons Bay Libraries
Patricia and Don Edgar

We are living and working longer. What does it mean?

Les Twentyman at Sam Merrifield Library

11 October 2017
Wild Dingo Press
Les Twentyman

Les Twentyman has devoted his life to young people doing it tough.

Curator floortalks: 'Self-made'

12 October 2017 to 17 October 2017
State Library Victoria
Monica Syrette

Hear curator Monica Syrette talk about the free exhibition Self-made: zines...

Les Twentyman & Robert Hillman at Brunswick Library

1 November 2017
Wild Dingo Press
Les Twentyman & Robert Hillman

Les Twentyman has devoted his life to young people doing it tough.

One object, many stories: matchbox labels

9 November 2017
State Library Victoria

Take a closer look at the striking commercial art of mid-20th-century...