Victorians are set to benefit from two exciting new spaces at State Library Victoria, thanks to a $3.5 million donation from Australian business leaders and philanthropists Jane Hansen and Paul Little AO.

The donation from the Hansen Little Foundation was made to the Library’s Vision 2020 building redevelopment which will open 40% more space to the public, and includes the creation of Hansen Hall, a vibrant, new technology-enabled space where Library visitors can eat, drink, converse and carry out their work at the same time.

Hansen Hall will be a new focal point for Library visitors, combining heritage architecture with a contemporary look and feel.  It will represent the best features of a 21st century library in a lively and dynamic area where visitors can meet, connect and collaborate.

Hansen Hall

Hansen Hall

Jane Hansen said that a passion for education connects the Hansen Little Foundation and State Library Victoria.

“The beautiful environment of the refurbished Hansen Hall will provide a light-filled free space where people can work and enjoy a coffee while still able to access the Library’s extensive facilities and expert staff.  By working together, we can help more people achieve their learning goals in an inspiring and welcoming environment.”

The Hansen Little Foundation’s gift will also fund the Library’s new Conversation Quarter. This high-tech venue will be equipped with two-way digital broadcast technology to take Library events and programs to schools and homes around Australia and bring the world’s best events and experiences to Melbourne.

Paul Little AO said the Conversation Quarter embraces the future of learning and enables everyone – wherever they are – to engage with big questions and big ideas.

“Technology like this opens the world to so many more people. It will stream live educational programming to children in regional and remote communities and connect Melbourne in real-time to organisations like NASA, the Bolshoi Ballet and the New York Public Library. That’s tremendously exciting.”

Visualisation of the Conversation Quarter

The Conversation Quarter endowed by the Hansen Little Foundation

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley welcomed this latest donation to the $88.1 million Vision 2020 project, a partnership between the Victorian Government and the community.

“The Hansen Little Foundation’s generosity means that more people than ever have access to learning, education and quality programming, allowing young minds to reach their potential, wherever they may be.

“This donation means the State Library has achieved its fundraising goal of $27.7 million and is a great example of how collaborative approaches can provide a successful and a sustainable way to generate funding for new and innovative projects.”

State Library Victoria CEO Kate Torney said the donation will enable the Library to begin an exciting program of transformation.

“The Hansen Little Foundation’s generosity means that we can now begin construction on Vision 2020. We’re delighted to have reached our initial fundraising goal and are now focused on the next phase.

“Ongoing philanthropic support is vital so that we can deliver new and innovative programs and services that meet the growing and changing needs of our community, and continue to build and preserve the collection for the future.”

Hansen Hall and the Conversation Quarter are part of the Library’s Vision 2020 redevelopment and are due to open at State Library Victoria in 2019.

Paul Little AO and Jane Hansen in the La Trobe Reading Room

Paul Little AO and Jane Hansen in the La Trobe Reading Room

About the Hansen Little Foundation

Founded by Jane Hansen and Paul Little AO, the Hansen Little Foundation is a large-scale, active philanthropic undertaking that has the singular objective of leaving a legacy of significant and positive change. The Hansen Little Foundation currently focuses on education, theatre and addiction rehabilitation as a means of improving and enriching the community.

This article has 1 comment

  1. those are great news, I particularly liked the streaming functionality. Hopefully, it will attract children to those cultural activities.

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