I'm a freelance writer living in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Australia. I have a blog on Tumblr where I write articles and review books
Published March 9th 2014
There are two ways of getting to the State Library of Victoria by public transport. The first way is getting off at Southern Cross Station, walking up to the Spencer Street/Burke Street junction, catching a tram up Burke Street until the tram stops at the junction between Burke Street and Swanston Street, then turning to the left and walking up Swanston Street until you arrive at Melbourne Central Plaza. The State Library is across the road.
The second way is catching a metro train going through the city loop and getting off at Melbourne Central. Personally, I prefer using the second way as it's easier and I don't like waiting for or using trams unless I have to.
However, I think the more important question isn't how to get to the State Library, but why get to the State Library? Unfortunately libraries have earned an unfair reputation as silent, boring places of oppression and solitude and that's simply not the case with the State Library (and the vast majority of municipality libraries).
There's free activities such as indoor and outdoor chess.
There's plenty of stuff to check out like the Keith Murdoch Gallery (currently featuring the free exhibition of "Rome: Piranesi's vision"), The Cowen Gallery (featuring Australian landscape oil-paintings), experimedia, journals and magazines, newspapers, and genealogy.
-The State Library isn't a lending library so you can't borrow items to take home. However, you can save newspaper articles to USB and take them home that way.
-You will need a library card to log into and use the library computers for Internet browsing, copying and printing. However, you can easily apply for a library card at the Information Desk, fill out an online form, or call them on 03 8664 7004 from Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm.
-You can't bring bags or back-packs into the library. You have to take what you need out of your bag, rent a small locker for $2 and store your stuff in there
-Personally, the ominous white marble busts in the Cowen Gallery creep me out a little. Then there's the fact that there's only one female bust available and the artist went to the extra trouble of adding nipples. I find this questionable.
It's a quiet reading room and unlike downstairs, I can often find space to set up my laptop and focus. It's an amazing place, so peaceful I've frequently found people asleep at the private study desks. There's also a section of brass plaques dedicated to those who contributed towards the building of the glass dome. One of the plaques on display has "I miss Bob" engraved into the metal. I find it intriguing.
So please visit the State Library of Victoria and your local municipal library, because while books are amazing and invaluable in themselves, there's so much more to discover.