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Vision 2020 fun facts

Media release

This is an archived media release. Links were correct at the time of publication, but may have changed or expired.

Thursday 05 December 2019


The following details some stats and fun facts about State Library Victoria’s Vision 2020 redevelopment.

·         Vision 2020 unites the 23 buildings that make up the Library, stretching one whole city block in both directions.

·         The project has taken 400,000 hours. That’s 53,333 standard working days – it would have taken one person more than 146 years!

·         The redevelopment was five years in the making and two years under construction but the Library did not miss one single day of service throughout the entire redevelopment.

·         There’s now space for 1,964 bums on seats at the redeveloped Library – 70% more than before.

·         There are now 10 event spaces available to hire at the Library and a commercial kitchen on site to service events of all kinds.

·         The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall features 60 chairs and 11 tables from the original reading room, dating back to the 1850s. They have been restored to original condition by Coman Furniture in Bendigo. The chairs took over 300 hours to be made ready for reupholstery.

·         It took model maker, Vaughan Howard, 540 hours to construct the architectural model of the Library that sits in the Swanston Street foyer. Every piece of watercolour paper was cut by hand.

·         A pair of nineteenth century shoes were found hidden within the walls of The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, thought to have been put there in the 1880s to protect the building and its inhabitants. This was a traditional ritual that began in the 1500s, most commonly in residential buildings. Experts say discovering the shoes in a public building is a rare occurrence. The boots are now in the Library’s realia collection and have been recorded by the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery – home to the largest collection of shoes in the world and a ‘concealed shoe index’ that details such findings from all over the world.

·         6000m2 of Tasmanian oak flooring has been installed – almost enough to cover the entire six storeys of the White House.

·         90 tonnes of structural steel was used in the redevelopment – that’s the equivalent of 1½ E-class trams.

·         More than 4000 litres of paint have been applied throughout the redeveloped spaces – that’s enough to paint around 100 average Australian homes.

·         4500 metres of track/LED lighting was used, enough to circle Flemington Racecourse twice over.

·         2000 new data and power points have been installed – that’s around 100 times more than in an average Australian home.

·         More than 250km of electrical cable was installed. Laid flat, it would stretch all the way from Melbourne to Warrnambool, and then some.

·         More than 500m2 of new stone and marble tiles were installed – that’s about 50 times what you’d use to tile an average kitchen.

– Ends –

Notes to Editor
About State Library Victoria
Established in 1856 as 'the people’s university', State Library Victoria is Australia's oldest and busiest public library and the fourth most-visited library in the world. A place of learning and discovery for all Victorians, the Library houses items that showcase Victoria's cultural life, past and present, and makes them available through a range of services, exhibitions and cultural programs. It is home to more than five million items, including more than two million books, journals and magazines, thousands of newspapers as well as historic manuscripts, music, pictures and ephemera, with a focus on material from Victoria. Each year, more than 70,000 heritage items are added to its collection.

About Vision 2020
Vision 2020 is an $88.1m redevelopment of State Library Victoria increasing the Library’s public space by 40% and seating by 70%. The project is designed to respond to the changing needs of the Library’s growing community by providing new spaces, services and better access to world-class knowledge. Highlights include a new area dedicated to children; co-working spaces and programs supporting early stage entrepreneurs; and tech-enabled spaces for video editing and podcasting as well as refurbished heritage rooms, including the original reading room, The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall.