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The dais

16 July 2020

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. 

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About Access All Areas

In this video series, join former 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.

Find out more and view all episodes.