The chances are that if you visited the State Library during Open House this weekend, you probably visited the spectacular La Trobe Reading Room right under the glass dome. If not, put it on your bucket list as it is really impressive.
Although a reading room in a library probably isn't where many of us would plan a visit to, this is a room with a big difference. Billed as one of Melbourne's famous landmarks, the La Trobe Reading Room contains over 32,000 books and 32 readers and is most noted for its iconic glass domed roof. When completed, it was recorded as the largest reinforced concrete dome in the world.
The reading room opened in 1913 and has had several revamps, firstly in 1958 and again in 1999. 2003 saw a complete overhaul including the glass ceiling. In 1959, (in order to prevent leaks), the dome was covered in copper sheeting but the 2003 refurbishment saw these removed.
The Reading Room is at its most spectacular when viewed from the upper floors. It features a central hexagonal desk from which radiate rows of custom-made Queensland silky oak desks and heritage chairs. Traditional green reading lamps add to the atmosphere.
Viewing the Reading Room from the upper floors gives the best indication of the skill and planning that went into constructing this feature. Each floor contains neatly stacked rows of all types of literature and on some floors there are special features such as the stained glass tribute to Shakespeare
Tours run regularly, so if you wish to visit after 5th August, please contact the Library for relevant details. Please note that if you visit in October a Wilderness will transform the forecourt. Join the free "Creative Conversations" Artist's Tour at the following times:-