The Library would be a nice name for a restaurant adorned with old, collectable books with a distinctive smell of aged papers. But, it was not. I happened to walk past the State Library of Victoria on Swanton Street in Melbourne central CBD. There was a huge crowd with a live music band, several stall stands with children books, and everything related to children learning and reading. Out of curiosity, I made my way through the crowd with children of all ages under the watchful eyes of their parents. It was the “Children Book Festival 2012“.
This was the first time I have ever stepped foot on the outside lawn of the SLV, and inside the historic stone building, first opened in 1856. It was almost surreal, as the library is one of the most unlikely place that I will visit. I can’t even remember the last time I was in a library. One thing for sure, I was indeed taken away by the SLV. It was not only a library. It is a community centre with activities and cultural exhibition. When I was there, there was an interesting Persian art and cultural exhibition, “Love and Devotion”. My breath was taken away by the amazing sights inside the building. There was only silence in each of the huge halls and rooms lined with rows and rows of books with the occasional sounds of footsteps and soft coughs. It was not the school or university libraries as I remembered which was probably the reason why I have never stepped into another library again. But, the SLV has changed my view and perspective on a library, which can be an interesting and engaging community reading and learning centre for everyone.