Being inside the State Library of Victoria is much like being in any other library in that the sense of quiet envelopes you when you walk in. Take the elevator up to the sixth floor gallery and you’ll realise straight away that this is not just another library.
The La Trobe Reading Room on the first floor of the library is crowned by a magnificent dome measuring more than 34 metres in width and height.
The Reading Room was opened with much fanfare in 1913 and was lauded as one of the greatest structures on Earth at the time. The beautiful glass skylights filled the room below with natural daylight, perfect for reading. But the skylights leaked continuously and despite many efforts to fix them they were eventually covered by copper sheets.
Renovations began on the dome in 1999. The copper was removed and the windows repaired, and in 2003 the dome was again revealed in all its glory. The Reading Room was once more flooded with daylight.
Bookshelves line the walls between the galleries on all six floors, with 32 000 books taking their places in the Australiana collection.
Come inside, find your favourite book and take a seat. You won’t need to turn on the light.