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State Library Victoria commemorates John Cain’s contribution

Media release

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Monday 23 December 2019


State Library Victoria’s board and staff are deeply saddened by the news that Victoria's longest-serving Labor premier and former President of the Library Board of Victoria, the Hon John Cain passed away overnight.

Cain served on the Library Board for seven years and was President from 2006-2012, during which time he made a significant impact on State Library Victoria through his passionate and outstanding service, over a period of extraordinary growth. He remained a great supporter and close friend of the Library following his retirement.

President of the Library Board of Victoria John Wylie AM said: “John Cain will be remembered by all at the Library for his principles, integrity and humility as well as the valuable and enriching contribution he made during his time here.”

“Not only did he provide outstanding leadership to the Library during an extraordinary period of growth; he steered us through unchartered territory as the world became increasingly digitised and laid the foundations for the reimagined State Library Victoria that we have just unveiled.

“Less than three weeks ago, he joined in the celebration of the completion of the Library’s $88.1m Vision 2020 redevelopment – showing his commitment to the people of Victoria until the very end.

“His service to State Library Victoria formed just part of Cain’s broader lifelong commitment to Victoria and the state’s public institutions.

“It is a privilege to have crossed paths with John at this important cultural institution. He will be deeply missed. Our condolences go towards Nancye and his family.”

Among his many achievements, Cain oversaw significant digital progress at the library, improving the experience of online visitors, the implementation of Summer Research Fellowships, the Library’s first international exhibition and its first touring exhibition.

During his time as President, the Library experienced a 95 per cent increase in onsite visitors and a 117 per cent increase in online visitation.

During his period with the Library Board, Cain served on a number of Committees including Chair of the Advisory Committee on Public Libraries and of Executive Appointments and Remuneration Committee. He was also a member of the Foundation Executive Committee.

State Library Victoria collection includes a significant amount of material from John and Nancye Cain including papers from his time as premier.