Explore new worlds online with State Library Victoria
This is an archived media release. Links were correct at the time of publication, but may have changed or expired.
Tuesday 24 March 2020
Despite its closure to the public last week in response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, Australia’s oldest and busiest public library will remain an emporium of knowledge for the Victorian community, offering free access to a range of collections, eresources and online services.
With more Victorians staying at home, many are looking at ways to stay connected, engaged and inspired. The Library’s website, slv.vic.gov.au is home to more than 4.1 million digital collection items, along with a treasure trove of stories, galleries, exhibition content, videos, music and more.
Over the coming months, the Library will continue to offer its popular Ask a Librarian and family history services, as well as provide access to its online research guides, ebooks and learning materials.
Online visitors are encouraged to connect with the Library on Instagram and follow #SLVBookClub, where they can also receive staff tips and recommendations on the latest must-reads in the weeks to come.
State Library Victoria CEO, Kate Torney, said the Library has always been a welcoming place for all, and that has not changed with the closure of the building.
“Our Library is so much more than just a building. For 164 years, we have a been an institution that invites people to connect, create, research and debate well beyond our walls. In a digital age, we know how vital it is for our visitors to have access to the world’s best knowledge online, and so we are well poised to support our community during these challenging times with a rich online offering,” said Ms Torney.
Ask a Librarian
The Library’s doors may be closed, but our Ask a librarian service will be available online from 25 March. Expert staff can help answer visitors’ questions and offer research guidance. From19th-century Indian rainfall records to WWI diaries and more, the Library is here to help tackle any subject.
As well as books, the Library’s collection includes thousands of photographs, personal manuscripts, maps, magazines, journals, newspapers, comics, and even advertising and theatre programs. Researchers can access the Library’s digitised collections or use the research guides compiled by its librarians to get started on their project.
The Library’s image pool brings to life more than 170,000 amazing, copyright-free images tracing Victoria's history – now including maps and architectural drawings.
The Library’s online galleries feature unique exhibitions, past and present, including World of the book and Velvet, Iron, Ashes. Browse these beauties from home.
eBooks, journals and music
The Library’s databases include a selection of more than 19,000 ebooks, music and a wide range of journals and articles. Visitors will need to be a member to access most of these databases. Sign up to become a free member here.
Members can also access a curated selection of ebooks for free via our Ebookshelf. Recent additions include Patently mathematical: picking partners, passwords and careers by the numbers, The book of Daniel: from Silverchair to Dreams and Stranger country.
Looking for learning resources for secondary students? Ergo is an online resource aligned with the Victorian curriculum to cultivate research skills, develop critical thinking and explore Victorian history through key items in the Library’s collection.
Watch exceptional talks, lectures and events hosted at the Library over the years in the Library’s video archives. Watch David McAllister discuss his career as a principal artist and Artistic Director at the Australian Ballet, Alexis Wright on censorship and telling the untold stories and Molly Meldrum on Countdown: 30 years on.
Family history resources
This is the perfect time for Victorians to discover their family trees through the Library’s online family history research tools and resources, including ebooks, research guides and more.
The Library regularly publishes blogs on a range of subjects including arts, genealogy and Australian history. Some of the most popular posts of all time include Slums of Melbourne, 8 women from history you should know and 550+ aerial photographs go online.
Discover curiosities, treasures and the latest inspiring stories from the Library community. Watch an uplifting performance from folk darlings The Orbweavers, recent Creative Fellows at the Library; read about Melbourne’s lost department stores and meet the kids who co-designed the Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter.
La Trobe Journal
The La Trobe Journal, produced by the Library, features articles that draw on the Library’s rich and varied collections as source material. Learn about Ina Higgins, garden designer and first-wave feminist, glimpse personal and private responses to the Gallipoli and Western Front campaigns during World War I, and read about historian Clare Wright's painstaking efforts to identify the anonymous author of a rare goldfields diary.