Public library programs

Local Government Victoria supports public libraries through a range of grants and other funding. Local Government Victoria is also responsible for governance issues relating to regional library corporations and Mechanics' Institutes.


Regional Library Corporations operate under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1989. Under the Act, libraries must operate and report using a structure similar to that of municipal councils. Each corporation has an agreement between its members which has been approved by the Minister for Local Government.

Living Libraries Infrastructure Program

The Living Libraries Infrastructure Program is designed to improve Victorian public libraries and make them more accessible. State government provides funding to councils and regional library corporations through the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program towards new, redeveloped and refurbished public library infrastructure and new or updated mobile libraries. 

Premiers' Reading Challenge Book Fund

The Premiers’ Reading Challenge is a highly successful initiative that encourages young people to discover the benefits of reading. The program is open to all Victorian students from Prep to Year 10, and challenges students to read, to read more often and to read more widely.

The Premiers’ Reading Challenge Book Fund provides an annual allocation to councils and regional library corporations to buy more materials to support the annual Premiers’ Reading Challenge.

Annual public libraries survey

Each year a survey of public libraries in Victoria is undertaken, which includes information about service points, staffing, loans, circulation, collection size, information technology and financial data.

Directory of Public Library Services in Victoria

The Directory of Public Library Services in Victoria is produced annually and includes maps, branches, mobile libraries, opening hours, and special features.

Victorian Mechanics' Institutes

The first Victorian Mechanics' Institute was established in 1839, with over 500 remaining today. At least six of these Institutes continue to run library services. The operation of Mechanics' Institutes in Victoria, particularly in relation to the sale or transfer of land, comes under Section 4 of the Libraries Act 1988, which is the responsibility of the Minister for Local Government.

A detailed report on the Library of the Mechanics' Institute of Australia (PDF, 258.7 KB, 46 pp.) has been produced by Frances Clancy on behalf of the Department.

For more information about Mechanics' Institutes, visit The Mechanics Institutes of Victoria Inc.

Find your local library

The many public libraries across the state offer Victorians young and old a wide range of services. Whether you're interested in academic research, a bit of holiday reading, attending a seminar, hearing your favourite author speak or letting the kids listen to story time, libraries have something for everyone.

Use our directory to find your nearest public library.

Page last reviewed on 28 September 2016

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