Melbourne is the only City of Literature in Australia and was the second city in the world to be designated the title after Edinburgh.  Melbourne joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2008.

Reading and Writing Participation in Victoria

In 2016, 79% of Victorians (aged 15 and over) identified as having read a literary publication during the 12 months (in addition to literature required for work or school):

  • 60% of Victorians indicated they had read a novel,
  • 39% read creative non-fiction,
  • 38%, a short story,
  • 17% indicated they had read graphic novels or comics,
  • 16%, poetry, and;
  • 8% indicated they had read a play in the last 12 months.

21% of Victorians (aged 15 and over) engaged in creative writing activities themselves.

Victorians are more likely to attend writers’ festivals as compared to the rest of Australia, with 7% of Victorians (aged 15 years and over) identifying as having attended in 2016 as compared to 5% of Australians.

73% of Victorian children between the ages of 5 and 14 years old read for pleasure in their spare time. Girls are more likely to read for pleasure with a higher participation rate of 79% compares to a participation rate of 69% for boys.

Victorian Libraries and Literature Events

In 2016-17, Victoria operated 373 local council library facilities:

  • 272 branch libraries,
  • 29 mobile libraries, and
  • 72 other library outlets (incl. self-serve, depots and collection vending machines)

These library outlets employed the full-time equivalent of 1,826 staff.

Victorians continue to engage in libraries, with one in six (or 16%) accessing their local libraries in 2016-17. Almost 1 million library members, visited 30.5 million times, and borrowed 46 million items (including e-book loans) - that’s an average of 47 items per person.

Many Victorians also attend literature events and programming, with local council libraries showing attendances figures of almost 2 million to literary programs, including Story Time and Rhyme Time, school holiday programs, author talks and book clubs, and digital literacy training.

Victoria is home to Australia’s oldest public library and one of the first free public libraries in the world, The State Library of Victoria. The library is the busiest state library in Australia.

Victoria is also home to Australia’s only Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, the Wheeler Centre, which hosts over 230 events each year and includes a podcasting facility.

Sector Employment

According to the latest ABS data, 7,122 Victorians are employed as Librarians or Archivists as their main job in a variety of industries, 5,153 are in non-cultural or creative industries.

7,870 Victorians were employed as writers or print media workers as their main job. 2,650 of these were in non-cultural or creative industries.