The reading and writing place :: Melbourne

It was a rainy November day just like last year when I first entered the State Library of Victoria and found the perfect writing room. I wasn’t the only one.

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I walked past the round tables on the ground floor of the library, past the Newspaper & Family History section, up the stairs to the Australian paintings on the wall and the Redmond Barry Reading Room, and one more time up the stairs to the top: I entered La Trobe Reading Room and it was here where I found the perfect writing room, eight years ago.

Now I was here again, nothing seemed to have changed. The green lamps along the writing desks are arranged like sun rays in a circle towards the walls. Four white balconies are carrying shelves of books, and another four open balconies allow a look into the Reading Room. Back then, I scrippled down the notes on the walls –

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey.
(Anna Quindlen)

just like I did now –

To slide into the domed reading room at ten each morning, specially in summer, off the hot street outside, was a sensation as delicious as dropping into the water off the concrete edge of the Fitzroy Baths.
(Helen Garner)

This room set the standards for all the reading and writing places I was looking for in the future. I was looking for a library old but bright, I wanted it to have many books but also internet connection, I wanted it to be romantic and inspiring. And a plus is the connection to my favourite book.

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“Monkey grip” by Helen Garner was  written in the Reading Room of the State Library of Victoria. The writer used to go here every day:

I did publish my diary. That’s exactly what I did. I left out what I thought were the boring bits, wrote bridging passages, and changed all the names. It was the best fun I ever had, down there in the domed Reading Room of the State Library of Victoria in 1976, working with a pencil and an exercise book on one of those squeaking silky oak swivel chairs. I’ll never be that innocent again.


It was nice to come back home to a writing place and to remember what it was all about.

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Visit: State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australien


| Map by youareheremaps.

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