Public libraries

State Library Victoria is committed to building a strong relationship and working collaboratively with public libraries across the state in order to deliver better services to all Victorians.

This collaboration is defined in our Framework for collaborative action (2017–20), which:

  • defines the basis of our relationship with the public library network
  • articulates the underpinning shared vision, goals and values
  • specifies roles and responsibilities
  • includes a three-year plan of collaborative projects
  • summarises past collaborative achievements.

Much of our work with public libraries is about building capacity in the sector. It focuses on industry research and innovation, strategy development, workforce and leadership development, and advocacy. We also work collaboratively to deliver community programs in public libraries, especially in regional areas.

Between July 2017 and June 2020, the Library is working with Victoria’s public libraries in the following three main areas.

Read Program

The Read Program highlights and strengthens the critical role played by public libraries and the State Library in promoting reading and supporting literacy development across all life stages. Initiatives in 2017–20 build on work undertaken in 2014–17, and include:

  • the reading and literacy strategic framework and associated reports
  • professional development for staff delivering early years literacy and adult literacy programs
  • grants to support development of innovative adult literacy programs in public libraries
  • a statewide adult reader development program
  • the statewide 1000 Books Before School campaign to encourage early reading in the home
  • Story Island: an adventure in pictures, a children's exhibition inspired by the picture book artwork in the Library's Scholastic Dromkeen Children's Literature Collection, touring to public library services.

Advocate Program

The Advocate Program seeks to influence funding and decision-making in support of public libraries. The suite of initiatives includes development and implementation of a statewide public libraries advocacy strategy, upskilling of library managers in advocacy, and a public campaign.

Learn and Lead Program

The Learn and Lead Program aims to ensure that Victorian public library staff have the knowledge, skills and leadership capability required of 21st-century libraries. Initiatives include:

  • seminars and conferences addressing topical issues in the sector and showcasing local, national and international best practice
  • training programs addressing skills gaps identified in the Victorian public libraries: our future, our skills report
  • a public libraries skills audit
  • the Shared Leadership Program for emerging library leaders
  • a middle management development program
  • the Margery C Ramsay and Barrett Reid scholarships
  • the Pierre Gorman Award.

Additionally, the Writing the War panel exhibition and associated programs will be hosted by six Victorian public libraries. This exhibition commemorates the centenary of WWI, drawing on material from the State Library's heritage collections and complemented by items sourced locally by each host library.

Major publications

The State Library and Victoria's public libraries have published several major research and strategic reports and frameworks that have helped shape public library services.

Public Libraries Victoria Network

Public Libraries Victoria Network (PLVN) is the peak body for Victorian public library managers, and the State Library’s partner in its sector-wide work. Visit the PLVN website for a wealth of information about Victorian public libraries and access to a library locater.