Thinking about dome words

Think about the role of books, stories, libraries and reading in our lives by using the dome's ribbon of words as a launching pad.

This is a pre-visit activity for students coming to the Library. This activity is not tied to an inquiry unit, and is suitable for most year levels.

Tuning in

  • Explain to students that, as part of the refurbishment of the dome (1999–2003), a 'ribbon of words' was incised above the shelves encircling the space, comprising quotes from notable writers and thinkers.
  • Download the 'Ribbon of words' document at the bottom of this page. Choose a quote from the 'ribbon of words' (or any relevant quote about reading or libraries) to share with your class. Lead a discussion about libraries and their place in society. What do libraries mean to your students?


  • Print out the 'Ribbon of words' document at the bottom of this page. Assign one or more quotes to students, either individually or in pairs.
  • Ask students to research their assigned quotes in order to answer the following questions:
    Whose words are quoted?
    Can you identify the source of the quote – for example, the name of a book?
    Why do you think this person and this quote were chosen for the 'ribbon of words'?
    What does this quote tell us about books, stories, libraries or reading?
  • Invite students to share their research with the class.
  • Ask students to reflect on these quotes and produce their own statement on what books, stories, libraries and/or reading mean to them. Invite students to create a sketch, photograph, sculpture, collage or painting to complement their quote. Display quotes around your school library.


  • During your Library visit, ask students to locate their researched quote on the wall of the La Trobe Reading Room. Do the quotes add to the overall atmosphere of the dome? How?


  • Several of the quotes relate not just to books, reading and libraries in general, but to the Library and the dome in particular. As a class, examine these quotes again, and read some of the stories collected by the Library for the dome's 100th anniversary.  What place does the dome have in the story of Melbourne?
  • Ask your students to compose a class dome story to share on the Dome Centenary website.