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One of the world's great libraries, the State Library of Victoria is the state's premier reference and research library and a gateway to the world's information. The Library houses items that showcase Victoria's cultural life, past and present, and makes them available to the community through a range of services, exhibitions and cultural programs.

The State Library of Victoria was founded in 1854, largely through the efforts of a number of prominent Melbourne citizens such as Sir Redmond Barry and Lieutenant-Governor Charles Joseph La Trobe, the vision for the original library was ambitious - to contain the 'best of everything' and become 'a great emporium of learning and philosophy, of literature, science, and art'.

The Library's collection goes well beyond books. It holds thousands of significant items reflecting Victoria's cultural and social heritage, including historical documents such as John Batman's journal, unique objects such as Ned Kelly's armour, and paintings such as William Strutt's Black Thursday, February 6th, 1851.

The balconies encircling the beautiful Domed Reading Room have now been transformed into exhibition areas. The Dome Gallery houses the changing face of Victoria, an exhibition with an ever-changing display of pictures, manuscripts, maps and objects ranging from key historical artefacts to items from daily life. This fascinating exhibition features subjects such as the early years of European settlement, bushranger Ned Kelly, Marvellous Melbourne, Barak and Coranderrk, and some of the Library's more eclectic collections.

The second Dome exhibition, Mirror of the World: books and ideas, showcases many of the rare, beautiful and historically significant books held in the collections of the State Library. Mirror of the World celebrates books as keepers of ideas, knowledge and the imagination, as well as the special relationship with them as writers and readers.

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