The State Library has closed but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your book fix

The State Library has closed but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your book fix

Words by Emily-Layne Kapetanovic

Their online platform is limitless.

In an effort to protect its visitors, staff and volunteers, the State Library Victoria (SLV) is now physically closed to the public. But if you enjoy spending your time glancing over the library’s expansive collection of art, books and family records (to name a few) don’t fret because the library has not shut its doors completely. You can now peruse 4.1 million digital collection items online and get lost in a treasure trove of galleries, exhibition content, videos, stories, music and more. Even though you might be in isolation, you can still transport your mind.

The same collections but digital

Obviously the SLV is known for its books but did you know it also plays host to thousands of journals, newspapers, diaries, personal manuscripts, maps, comics and even old advertising and theatre programs. If you’re in the mood for researching, you can access all the information online or use the research guides which have been compiled by the very talented librarians to get a start. Additionally, you can dive into the 170,000 copyright-free images, maps and architectural drawings.

Ask a librarian

If you’ve got a question and you don’t know who to turn to, you can ask a librarian online. Let the experts point you in the right direction with your research; they can answer any library-related questions that may come up. Whether its 19th-century Indian rainfall records, WWI diaries or more simple questions about navigating the website, the librarians have got you.

Wander the galleries, virtually

If you fancy looking over some exquisite artworks, then look no further than the State Library’s online galleries. If you prefer photography, you could explore Peter Wille’s photographs of Melbourne architectural wonders or if you’re more into paintings then perhaps delve into the library’s 2016 winter exhibit, Heroes and Villains: Strutt’s Australia. These and other collections are online and available for you to get lost in.

Video and audio archives

If you’ve ever missed out on a lecture, event or one of the many talks that the State Library has hosted, chances are you’ll be able to find it in the video and audio archives. Browse their extensive collection which includes videos and audio looking at history and politics, literature, slam poetry and journalism among many other topics. Check out Molly Meldrum chatting about the legacy of Countdown with Myf Warhurst to get you started.

Learning material

If you’re a university or secondary school student and looking for a few extra skills, this is the place for you. The State Library presents Ergo, an online resource that anyone can use at any time. Ergo’s main aim is to promote research skills and develop critical thinking by exploring key features in Victorian history through the Library’s resources. Need to scrub up on a few things before your tute this week, here you go.


If you’re looking for fresh content, the Library regularly publishes blogs on a multitude of topics including music, Australian history and genealogy to name a few. Get started with their most popular posts which include 550+ historical aerial photographs, an exploration into Melbourne slums dating all the way back to the 1850s and a story on “Eight women from Australia’s history you should know”.

Learn about your family history

Now is the perfect time to get lost in a sea of records and diaries and discover your family tree. You can get started by looking through the Library’s online family history research tools and resources. Eager to discover who your second cousin, twice removed is? SLV’s family history resources are just what you need. Get learning.

If you’re a member…

If you’re a member of SLV, then you can access the Library’s database to download an assortment of e-books including their 19,000 nonfiction ebooks, stream music and read a wide range of journals and articles. If you’re not a member, don’t stress, you can sign up for free via their website.

We’ve barely scratched the surface; if you’re curious about what resources the State Library Victoria has available online head to their website for more info.

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