State Library set for major revamp

The State Library is set to be transformed by an $83.1 million facelift, which will open up 40 per cent more of the iconic building to the public.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley announced the plans last month while visiting the library, which attracts 1.8 million visitors each year.

The 2015-16 State Budget has allocated $55.4 million to the project, with the remaining funding to be sought by the library through philanthropic support.

“We’re making Victoria the education state and the State Library will be a centrepiece,” Mr Foley said.

“The library will be transformed, bringing its massive resources to our regions, helping teachers, educating kids and opening its doors to families more than ever before.”

“This project is one of the keys to enriching our creative industries and building the knowledge-economy future of our state.”

Staged over five-years, the revamp will see Queens Hall restored, including the creation of a rooftop garden terrace, and opened to the public for the first time in more than 12 years.

The library’s Russell St entrance will also be reopened, creating a children and youth space, improving conference facilities and creating a centre for digital media.

As part of the project an E-town Hall will also be introduced, allowing the library to stream programs, meetings and events to Victoria’s regional and suburban libraries.

An innovation centre will also be established, providing hot-desks, collaborative spaces and programs focused on building entrepreneurship.

President of the Library Board of Victoria John Wylie said the board was grateful for the government’s contribution to the redevelopment.

“We want a building that fulfils its capabilities and are keen to make sure the library is reinvented and well configured for a modern community,” Mr Wylie said.

“This is not just a project for Melbourne, it’s a major transformation that will benefit all of Victoria.”

Detailed planning for the redevelopment has now started and works are scheduled to begin in 2016.

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