Celebrated for its vibrant and wholesome literary culture, Melbourne rightfully became the second UNESCO City of Literature in 2008. Melbournians consume more books, newspapers and magazines per capita than any other Australian cities. Are you also a bibliophile looking to immerse yourself in the culture? This list of Melbourne’s literary landmarks can help you get started.
The State Library of Victoria
No literary tour in Melbourne can ever be complete without a visit to the State Library of Victoria. The landmark and cultural icon of Melbourne, this building was established in 1854. The State Library of Victoria is Australia’s oldest public library and one of the first free public libraries in the world. It houses over two million books and hundreds of thousands of archives and manuscripts, and has seven reading rooms. Don’t miss snapping a shot of the library’s iconic center floor.
Melbourne Athenaeum Library
Located in Collins Street, the Athenaeum Library was founded in 1839 and is the oldest subscription library in Victoria. The three-storey building is an oasis in the middle of the city which consists of a main theatre hosting theatre, comedy and music performances, a small studio theatre, as well as a subscription library. Members of the library can borrow up to 30 items at a time up to 4 weeks!
Kay Craddock is not your typical bookstore. Established in 1965 as a joint venture between Kay Craddock and her parents, this aquarian bookstore moved premises several times before it finally found its permanent home the Neo-Gothic Assembly Hall Building on Collins Street. Kay Craddock houses old and rare books from the 15th century, and some titles actually worth thousands of dollars.
The Haunted Bookshop
Fan of ghost stories? Make your way to The Haunted Bookshop, Australia’s leading occult bookshop that specializes in all things supernatural. Founded in 1997, the store is carefully curated by its passionate historian owner Drew Sinton who collected the books, charms and designs from all around the world. The Haunted Bookshop is situated in a back alley off another back alley. If the location alone isn’t enough to give you the creeps, the bookshop also has been offering ghost tours around Melbourne for almost 20 years.
The Paperback Bookshop is everything you need in a city bookstore. Opened in the early 60’s, the shop has a concentrated collection of paperback editions of books that are rarely found in Melbourne, hence the name. Although the collection now also includes hardcovers as well as journals, Paperback Bookshop is still has the best selection of local and imported titles. Pick up their newsletter of new releases which they print quarterly, or subscribe to their monthly newsletter.