The State Library of Victoria is a wonderful place. For distraction-free studying/reading, try the beautiful La Trobe Reading Room…that’s the one with the domed roof. Although I suggest you don’t sit near the door if you don’t want to be diverted by the reactions of tourists and others seeing the room for the first time.
The Redmond Barry room has a completely different feel, but is equally compelling. There’s a particular collection of PNG traditional tales that pulls me back time after time. I love the pillows in the Manuscripts Collection room for the sitting on of big but fragile books, and the genealogy room with all the microfiche and machines.
Yesterday, I was there for volunteer training to support the Look! exhibition. The exhibition has been open for some months and has several still to go. It showcases Australian picture book art. The books that feature the art are also there, and activities for the casual visitor and school groups. Volunteers, on this occasion, peopled the exhibition for a bit, then supported storytime. Storytime has been temporarily removed from the Experimedia space while they do things to the electrics (although they’ll soon be back in this space). So we were upstairs in Queen’s gallery (I think that’s what it was called). It’s a lovely space that I think used to be part of the Museum. At first it looked like there would only be a few children to listen to stories, sing some songs and do a fishy activity, but the trickle became a stream and the space filled with mothers/grandmothers and children. I was an observer but did get to join in on the singing and helped with the activities. Great fun. And a lovely way to bring young children into this wonderful space.
May they all grow up to love this fantastic building with its knowledgeable staff and extensive collections.