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Swanston Street Welcome Zone

The Library's original entrance provides a grand but inviting entry to the foyer, known as the Swanston Street Welcome Zone. It's been the main entry point to the State Library for tens of millions of visitors for more than 160 years.

The streamlined Swanston Street foyer provides improved access to this vibrant city-centre meeting place that welcomes more than 5000 visitors a day (during the pre-COVID period).

Meet up with friends in the spacious foyer, or follow the Italianate marble staircase up to the Library's two unmissable reading rooms: the domed La Trobe Reading Room and the stately Ian Potter Queen's Hall.

From the Swanston Street Welcome Zone, you can head deeper into the Library to the information centre and the Quad. You can also make your way to the tour meeting point in Hansen Hall, or to Mr Tulk cafe for food and drinks.

About the Swanston Street Welcome Zone

The Swanston Street entrance was reopened in December 2019 as part of the Library's Vision 2020 redevelopment project.

The foyer was part of the Library's original building, which opened in February 1856. In fact, it was the first section of the Library to be built, and in the 1860s was filled with plaster casts of Greek and Roman statues purchased for the Library by its founder, Sir Redmond Barry. The portico, with its fine Corinthian columns, was added in 1870.


Daily 10am–6pm


  • Library staff
  • volunteer greeters
  • security staff
  • self-service point
  • seating
  • food & drink permitted
  • lift access to The Ian Potter Queen's Hall & La Trobe Reading Room