How the State Library of Victoria is reinventing itself through art

There are galleries in libraries and Iibraries in galleries – are these categories still relevant and what is the role of an art exhibition?
The inside of a heritage building with polished wooden floor and high curved ceiling. In the space is a woman projected onto the right wall, and a mirrored surface on the left side reflecting the projection.

What are some of the expectations people have when going into a library? It’s a vast collection of knowledge, a quiet space for work or study, a place of gathering – the State Library of Victoria fits into all these descriptions, but since opening its new Victoria Gallery, it has also become a destination for contemporary art.

State Library of Victoria CEO Paul Duldig tells ArtsHub: ‘The State Library welcomes over two million visitors a year, and their average stay time in the library is two hours and 20 minutes.’

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_