Keep exploring the world
As well as books, our collections include thousands of photographs, personal manuscripts and diaries, maps, old magazines and journals, newspapers, comics, and even old advertising and theatre programs!
Check out our popular digitised collections.
Begin your research project with help from our research guides - compiled by our expert librarians - on topics from food to fashion, Victorian migration and a perennial favourite, 'What it used to cost'.
Dive into our image pool to see Victoria's history brought to life in more than 170,000 amazing, copyright-free images, including maps and architectural drawings.
Transport your mind
As you'll be aware, we've temporarily closed our doors as a preventative measure to support the health and wellbeing of our visitors, staff and volunteers, as well as the broader community.
But the Library is more than just a building.
In these challenging times, we know some of you may be feeling isolated.
Let our online collections and resources transport you, feed your curiosity and open up your world!
Ask a librarian
Our doors may be closed, but our Ask a Librarian service is still available and our librarians are here to help you tackle any subject.
Please note: Library staff are currently working offsite due to the COVID-19 situation. It can take a little time to find you the best information available, so please bear with us and a member of our team will be in touch within a few days of receiving your inquiry.
COVID-19 community collecting
We’re collecting posters, flyers and mail-outs appearing in our local neighbourhoods across Victoria in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This material can often be discarded but provides invaluable information about this significant event impacting our community. State Library Victoria collects this ephemeral material to help tell the story of this moment in time for future generations.
We appreciate your help in preserving this material. We’re specifically looking for the following items that you may receive in your mailbox or when you are out for essential activities:
- Government leaflets
- Leaflets from local businesses, restaurants and organisations regarding their services during COVID-19
- Community notices relating to COVID-19
Please ensure you don’t put yourself at risk while gathering this material and adhere to current government advice about social distancing. We would appreciate it if you could set this material aside and we will send a ‘call out’ for you to mail or drop it into the Library when we reopen.
The Library may decline or dispose of material where we receive duplicate copies or where it is not relevant to our collecting policy.
Ebooks, journals & music
We have online galleries of select images from many of our exhibitions, past and present, including:
- Story Island: much-loved images from some of Australia's favourite children's illustrators and authors.
- Velvet, Iron, Ashes: surprising connections in Victorian history, from the iconic Ned Kelly armour to the famous Ashes Urn.
- Love & devotion: exquisite Persian illustrated manuscripts from Oxford University's Bodleian Libraries.
Get started with our most popular posts, including:
- Slums of Melbourne
- Eight women from Australia's history you should know
- 550-plus aerial photographs of regional Victoria from the mid-20th Century go online.
Discover curiosities, treasures and the latest inspiring stories from our community and inside the Library, including:
- a performance from local duo The Orbweavers, who used their 2016 Creative Fellowship to research Melbourne's waterways
- a nostalgic look back at Melbourne's lost department stores, Georges and Manton's
- an introduction to the clever kids who co-designed the Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter.
Video & audio archives
Catch up on some of the exceptional talks, lectures and events we’ve hosted at the Library over the years in our video and audio archives.
Here's a few suggestions to get you started:
- Kaz Cooke on a unique item from our collection: a mourning brooch made of gold and human hair.
- Alexis Wright (pictured) on censorship and telling untold stories.
- Molly Meldrum on Countdown: 30 years on.
Family history resources
This is the perfect time to discover your family tree!
Make it happen with our online family history research tools and resources that include ebooks, research guides, video recommendations and more.
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 our collection.
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. Whet your appetite with these articles:
- Learn about Ina Higgins, garden designer and first wave feminist.
- Glimpse changing attitudes to the Gallipoli and Western Front campaigns during WWI.
- Read about historian Clare Wright's painstaking efforts to identify the anonymous author of a rare goldfields diary.
Browse all issues of the La Trobe Journal.