14 December 2016
A state-of-the-art new gallery exploring Victorian history will become a new visitor drawcard at State Library Victoria and lead the revitalisation of an historic Melbourne precinct, thanks to an $8 million donation from the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation and $5 million from the Victorian Government.
The $8 million donation will create the newly named Victoria Gallery, endowed by the John and Myriam Wylie Foundation, to tell the many stories of Victoria's history, showcasing extraordinary treasures from the Library's vast collections and beyond.
The donation will also reopen the Library's Russell Street entry which has been closed since 2002 and transform the eastern end of the building, creating new a city hub for Melbourne's growing population with state-of-the-art collaborative spaces, a vibrant café and retail area.
An additional $5 million from the Victorian Government will enhance and activate all entrances to the Library and the surrounding streetscape, which covers the entire city block. It will also increase access to Australia's busiest public library with a new universally accessible entrance on La Trobe Street.
The Victoria Gallery and the Russell Street activation are part of the Library's Vision 2020 redevelopment, announced last year, with construction due to commence in 2017.
The State Government has committed $60.4 million towards the project and the Library will raise the remaining $27.7 million to deliver the $88.1 million project. This latest donation brings to the Library to more than half way to its target.
The five-year redevelopment will transform State Library Victoria for the next generation. The redevelopment will open up an additional 1000m2 of space for public use and provide public facilities that improve cultural and education opportunities for all Victorians.