Reading and Writing Participation in Victoria

Melbourne is the second city appointed as a City of Literature after Edinburgh.

Reading is a part of the lives of most Victorians, with eight in ten (or 79%) of those aged over 15 reading some form of creative writing in 2016. The most popular form of non-fiction was novels, followed by creative non-fiction, short stories, graphic novels or comics, poetry and plays. Looking at creative participation, one in five Victorians (or 21%) over the age of 15 did creative writing.

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

Victoria has 346 local council library facilities:

  • 275 branch libraries,
  • 30 mobile libraries, and
  • 59 other library outlets (incl. self-serve, depots and collection vending machines)

These library outlets employed the full-time equivalent of 1,829 staff.

Victorians continue to engage in libraries, with one in six (or 17%) accessing their local libraries in 2016. This represents 1.03 million active library members, who visited 30 million times, and borrowed 47 million items (including e-book loans) - that’s an average of 46 items per person.

Many Victorians also attend literature events and programming, with local council libraries showing attendances figures of 1.9 million to programs such as book clubs, cultural events, rhyme time and story time programs, school holiday programs, and digital literacy training.  Victorians are also more likely to attend writers’ festivals when compared to the rest of Australia – a possible result of the types of festivals available in Victoria.

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

Melbourne is home to Australia’s publishing.

According to the latest ABS data, 6,559 Victorians are employed as Librarians or Archivists as their main job in a variety of industries.  6,631 Victorians were employed as or print media workers as their main job.