Public libraries in Victoria (except the State Library, Vision Australia Library, and Mechanics' Institute libraries) are owned and operated by the relevant council or through a regional library corporation. 

Libraries are no longer a place just for borrowing books. They are places where the community can access e-resources, wifi, computers, meeting rooms, art spaces, and diverse child, youth and adult programs.  Public libraries are vibrant community hubs that provide all Victorians universal access to information. They offer a safe space for social interaction, digital connection, lifelong learning and rich cultural experiences.

Through Local Government Victoria (LGV), the Victorian Government works alongside councils and regional library corporations to provide quality library facilities for all Victorians.

Public Library

Our public library funding programs include: 

Public Libraries Funding Program

The Public Libraries Funding Program provides annual funding to councils, regional library corporations, and Vision Australia for the provision of public library services.  This funding contributes to the purchase of collection items (physical and electronic), information technology, library and outreach programs, and other services provided by Victorian public libraries.

The Public Libraries Funding Program has been allocated $44.7 million in recurrent funding for the 2019-20 financial year to distribute to councils, regional library corporations and Vision Australia.

Living Libraries Infrastructure Program

The Living Libraries Infrastructure Program assists Victorian councils and regional library corporations to provide accessible high-quality library infrastructure. The program funds new, redeveloped or refurbished public library infrastructure; and new or updated mobile libraries.

The Living Libraries Infrastructure Program has committed $18 million of funding over four years (until 2019-20).  

An independent evaluation of the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program was completed in 2018.

Living Libraries Infrastructure Program evaluation report 2018 (PDF, 973.1 KB)

Visit Living Libraries Infrastructure Program for more information.

Premiers' Reading Challenge Book Fund

The highly successful Premiers’ Reading Challenge encourages children and young people to discover the benefits of reading. 

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

A $4.4 million investment in the program over four years was announced as part of the 2016-17 State Budget.

During 2018-19 more than 65,000 items on the Premiers’ Reading Challenge book list were purchased by public libraries using funding from the Premiers’ Reading Challenge Book Fund.

Independent review of public library funding

An independent review of public library funding in Victoria was completed in 2016.

KPMG Report (PDF, 4.0 MB)
KPMG Report (DOCX, 4.0 MB)

Alongside the release of the report, a number of documents were released that informed the report.

For more information on library funding, please contact:

Amanda Minniti, Senior Project Manager, Local Government Victoria: amanda.minniti@delwp.vic.gov.au

Further information

Find a library

Public Libraries Victoria - Locate your nearest branch

Directory of Public Library Services in Victoria (updated July 2020)

2020 Directory of Public Library Services in Victoria  (July 2020)   (PDF, 17.3 MB)

Annual survey of Victorian public libraries

Each year, Victorian public libraries are surveyed about their services. The survey includes information about service points, staffing, loans, circulation, collection size, information technology and financial data.

Visit Public Libraries Victoria for the annual surveys.

Regional library corporations

A group of councils can form a regional library corporation to manage the councils' library facilities on their behalf. 

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

Victorian mechanics' institutes

Mechanics’ Institutes were established in Victoria during the 1800s to provide community facilities and amenities, including library services.  Some Mechanics’ Institutes continue to provide 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.

For more information visit Mechanics' Institutes of Victoria Inc.

Page last updated: 05/07/20