new entrance to the Library

285-321 Russell Street has been home to Victoria’s Museum, Gallery, and now the newest addition to its State Library. Two weeks ago we closed our Swanston Street doors and they’ll stay that way until Spring 2019 – but new entrances are just around the corner on the north and east sides of the city block. Your newly transformed Library is open and inviting from the Russell Street Welcome Zone to the Cowen Gallery, and designed with universal access in mind. We’ve introduced new ways of interacting with Library staff, collections and services. Some things have changed, some things are the same, so here’s an overview to help you find your way around.

Meet our greeters

greeter helping a patron

Greeters are here to make sure that you find exactly what you are looking for here at the Library. They can connect you with a library officer, librarian, or put you on the path to Ned Kelly’s armour. Not sure what you want to do? They’re also full of suggestions!

Become a Library member

person using a self service point

New interactive self service points have been installed around the Library. Find out what services are available and where. Explore collections, content and the building. Provide us with comments and feedback, or join the Library!

We’ve gone digital – no more plastic cards weighing down your wallet. Membership benefits are the same (remember you can’t borrow our books), but you can now sign up and use your phone or email to receive a barcode. You join here in the Library at a self service point, or online from home. Want to access databases and ebooks? Select this option and follow the steps to verify your address.

Find a place to work or study

people working on laptops at long table

With some spaces closed for construction, our seating capacity is reduced, but we’re still here for you to work, study or read. Immerse yourself in our collections under heritage ceilings. Looking for quiet? Try the silence of the newly reopened Arts Reading Room. Want to chat? No need to shush in our new Welcome Zone inside the Russell Street entrance, where you can meet up and collaborate over coffee. (No food or drink in our reading rooms please!)

Watch a video or listen to music

person listening to music

We’ve made it easier to watch or listen to our CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays. Browse display cases or search our catalogue for multimedia. If something takes your fancy, request it online and Library staff will get it ready for you to watch at any AV Station in our Arts Reading Room. We’ve also got listening posts with a choice of 70 CDs to listen to right now – the mix of classical, soundtracks, pop and more will be updated regularly. BYO headphones or use ours. Be inspired by these new arrivals in Arts and get to know the collection with our Theatre, Film and Performing Arts Research Guide.

Access newspapers

man using microfiche

Keep up with the news in The Herald and Weekly Times Newspapers Reading Room. Daily newspapers can be read at the round tables near the entrance. The nearby tubs hold previous months of Victorian and major interstate newspapers, and extensive historic runs are in the microfilm cabinet. Find out more about our newspaper collection.

Research your family history

visitor talking to librarian

Our popular genealogy resources are back in the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Family History Reading Room, including how-to-guides, electoral rolls, shipping logs and Family History PCs for Ancestry and database access. Get started with our Family History Research Guide and discover research tips on our Family matters blog.

Use a PC

PCs in the Redmond Barry Reading Room

Our PCs are still free to use, whether you’re a member or not. Look for the booking PC to the left as you enter the Redmond Barry Reading Room. Need to print, copy or scan? You’ll need to purchase a card for $1 (includes 40c credit). Express printing PCs and printers are located next to the Collection Point, near the entrance to Cowen Gallery. Find out more about Wi-fi, internet and printing.

Ask the experts

a librarian helping a visitor

Librarians are now located in the Cowen Gallery. This gateway zone is central to our two main Reading Rooms, so we’re in a better position to help you access collections. Subject experts can demonstrate catalogue searches or show you how to use online resources, side-by-side.

See your old favourites, and some new ones

paintings in gallery

Cowen Gallery has had a refresh. Favourites are back on display plus a number of new artworks, some never shown before. The paintings span 1840–2009 and are arranged in two thematic groups: the northern side (towards La Trobe Street) features works about landscape and regional Victoria while the southern side and (towards Heritage Collections Reading Room) shows the city’s development and urbanisation. See famous figures from our history alongside William Strutt’s Black Thursday (1864), Juan Davila’s Churchill National Park, Jan Senberg’s Melbourne (1998-99) and a view of wharves near Spencer Street by an unknown artist (1910?). You can also view most of these paintings digitised and online in our catalogue.

Discover what people are searching for in our catalogue

digital screen

Most of our collection is held in storage in “the stacks”. You can find these collections by searching the catalogue and requesting we get it out for you. But have you ever wanted a more serendipitous approach? Wondered what other people are discovering? Keep an eye out in the Russell Street Welcome Zone where our digital screens will soon be displaying hidden gems with a new feature called Unstacked.


We’re at the halfway point with more exciting openings in future, but for now it’s business as usual. Enjoy exploring the new permanent homes of some of our key collections. Still have questions about the Vision 2020 redevelopment and its impact on your Library experience? Visit the frequently asked questions page on our Vision 2020 website.

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This article has 1 comment

  1. Good Afternoon Sarah,

    I am bringing my Mornington U3A group for a Dome to Catacomb Tour in March next year, we are very much looking forward to catching up with the SLV’s new areas.
    Thank you for all ‘The News’
    Kind regards,
    Barbara West, ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ Excursions
    Mornington U3A

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