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Keep exploring the world

Digital collections

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

Two women laugh at a service desk in an art gallery

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.

Ask a librarian

Memory Bank: The Collective Isolation Project

Daily life is different for each of us during this period of restrictions and physical isolation, and we're intensely curious about what this moment looks like for you.

Each week we invite you to respond to a prompt to deposit in our Memory Bank: The Collective Isolation Project. Your contributions of the mundane, the ephemeral and the magical will cement this moment and bring it to life for those who come after us.

Please join us! 

Explore Memory Bank: The Collective Isolation Project

Ebooks, journals & music

ebooks on a tablet

Victorian members can access our databases to download ebooks, stream music and read a wide range of journals and articles.

Members can also access over 200,000 nonfiction ebooks for free!

Browse our ebooks and check out the newest additions in our curated ebookshelf.

Find out how to become a member.

Gems of the Library

A woman with a scalpel gently prods some historic documents

Come behind the scenes in this series of short videos, where we celebrate the treasures in our Collection and the dedicated and talented staff who care for them.

Skill up and stay curious

One boy points to a map while another listens on an old analogue phone

We've launched a range of online webinars, talks and programs to help keep you engaged, inspired and inquisitive while at home. 

Whether you're interested in learning more about our rich collection or want tips for taking better photos on your smartphone, you'll find something here to pique your interest.

For babies, preschoolers & younger kids

A girl smiles as she writes with pencil on paper

We've got plenty of programs to inspire, entertain and engage younger kids during school holidays or learning-at-home.

#SLVBookClub

A woman reaches up to a bookshelf to take hold of a book

Connect with us on Instagram and follow #SLVBookClub, where our team shares what we’re reading and our top book recommendations.

Blogs

Colour painting of the city of Melbourne in 1855 by Nathaniel Whittock, showing Hoddle's grid of streets and Yarra River

The City of Melbourne, Nathaniel Whittock, 1 May 1855

We regularly publish blogs on a range of subjects including arts, genealogy and Victorian history.

Get started with our most popular posts, including:

Browse our blogs.

Stories

A woman and man play guitar in a grand, two-storeyed Victorian room

Discover curiosities, treasures and the latest inspiring stories from our community and inside the Library, including:

Take a look at our Stories.

Video & audio archives

Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright 

Vincent Long

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:

Browse our extensive video and audio archives.

Family history resources

Harold Leopold Godden, W.W.W. Wylie & family & house [picture] 1892-1972

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.

Victorian State Library members can log into Ancestry from home, for a limited time.

Learning materials

Smiling boy and girl in an audience of secondary school students

Looking for learning resources for secondary students?

La Trobe Journal

Three issues of the scholarly La Trobe Journal periodical

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:

Browse all issues of the La Trobe Journal.

Online galleries

Page of historic religious book

Illuminated Book of Hours, c1494–1503, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Illuminated Book of Hours, c1494–1503, Donated by George Reid, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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.

Explore all our online galleries.