The State Library was opened in 1854 as one of the first free libraries in the world. Sir Redmond Barry “conceived of it as ‘the people’s university’ – a place where the world’s knowledge and information would be freely available to all citizens of the growing colony of Victoria, regardless of their social status or financial resources.” (quoted from http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/about-us/history-library) when most libraries were only open to the rich and educated. It is his statue that is on the steps of the library. He was an interesting man. The Reading Room is named after him and he was the judge who sentenced Ned Kelly to be hanged.
The Dome is celebrating it’s 100th birthday this year. For many years it was covered with copper sheets due to them not being able to stop water leaks. In 2003 they removed the sheeting and with technology they stopped the leaks and restored the dome to it’s natural beauty. Walking into the domed room after it was reopened was amazing. It was such a depressingly dark room and as part of the renovations it had been given a lick of paint.