State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria opened in 1856, it is one of Australia's oldest cultural institutions and the library building is one of Melbourne's most distinctive landmarks. As Victoria's major public reference and research library it is responsible for collecting and preserving Victoria's documentary heritage, and making it available through a range of services, exhibitions and public programs. The Library comprises 17 buildings covering an entire city block, an area of approximately seven acres. In 1990 an extensive building redevelopment program began which has seen the refurbishment of the Library's magnificent heritage architectural features, such as the Domed Reading Room. The Library maintains strong links with the statewide public library network and is an active member of peak industry bodies, including the Council of Australian State Libraries and the Australian Library and Information Industry Association.
The Library opened with a collection of 3,846 volumes and currently holds more than two million books and serials, one of Australia's largest newspaper collections and hundreds of thousands of historical pictures, maps, manuscripts and other materials. The collections represent a major national resource, which is continually expanding through purchase, donation, bequest and legal deposit.