Watch Access All Areas: the dais
Every day, hundreds of people pour into the domed La Trobe Reading Room to study, browse the shelves, take selfies and generally marvel at its architecture. Little do they know that a short forty years ago, they would have had to do this in utter silence.
In the centre of the dome is the dais – an ornate, raised timber structure from which rows of desks radiate outwards like spokes on a wheel.
Back in the day, a librarian perched in the dais like a vigilant eagle during opening hours. With a birds-eye vantage over half of the dome, and a reflected view of the other half thanks to a mirror, the librarian would survey the entire room.
And this librarian had the 'dream job' of shushing any chattering, whispering and giggling to make sure that the dome was always silent.
Discover more about the dais
- Read about the dais in the olden days (and give thanks that times have changed).
- Read about the Looped exhibition in the dais, by artists Gracia and Louise.
About Access All Areas
In this video series, join CEO Kate Torney for exclusive insights into her most cherished collection items, spaces (including some that even staff can't access!), legends and legacies at State Library Victoria.