Libraries of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

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Libraries of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
Swanston Library at RMIT's City campus
Established 1890 (as the library of the former Working Men's College)
Location Various locations,
Melbourne, Victoria,
Branches 7 (the largest being the Swanston Library)
Size Swanston Library: 600,000+ volumes (approx)
Other information
Director Craig Anderson[1]
Website University Library

The libraries of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology consist of seven academic branch libraries. Five are located at RMIT's Australian campuses (RMIT University) in Melbourne City, Bundoora and Brunswick; and two are located at RMIT's Vietnamese campuses (RMIT International University) in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.


The antecedent to RMIT's University Library network was established as the library of the Working Men's College of Melbourne (antecedent to present-day RMIT) in 1890.[2] The tiny library was initially housed in a 6 x 9 m room in Building 1 and contained only 152 m of shelf space. It was managed by the college's mathematics instructor Alfred Hart between 1902-1930—a leading Shakespearian of his day.[3] From the 1930s, the library was expanded and relocated to the space beneath the public lecture theatre of Building 1 (what is today the Pearson and Murphy's café).[2] During this time, it was staffed by repatriated World War I soldiers (as part of a federal government re-skilling program).[4]

By 1945, the library had outgrown its space and was split it into specific field collections which were housed in the relevant school of each field.[2] In 1955, following ongoing requests from the student union, a central library was re-established in Building 6.[5][2] In 1956, John Livingstone Ward was appointed as RMIT's first chief librarian.[2] Some schools, however, have continued to maintain collections in addition to the central library. Examples of school collections that still exist are the AFI Research Collection,[6] RMIT Design Archives and National Aerospace Resource.[7][8]

As the campus expanded northward, during the mid-1970s, a second library site was opened. In 1993, the main library was relocated to Building 8 and was further expanded and after which it was known as the Swanston Library. The second library became known as the Carlton Library. Two more libraries were added to the network, after the Bundoora campus opened in 1995, which were Bundoora East Library and Bundoora West Library. When the Brunswick campus was acquired by RMIT in 1999, the Brunswick Library also became part of the network. During the 1990s and 2000s, a Business Library was located in Building 108 on Bourke Street. The collection was merged with the Swanston Library when RMIT closed the building in 2012.[9]

The branches at the Ho Chi Minh City, known as Beanland Library, and Hanoi campuses opened in 2001 and 2004 respectively.


Melbourne City campus

The City campus has two library branches: Swanston Library and Carlton Library.

The Swanston Library is the largest branch in the network, and is located in Building 8. It is unique from the other campus libraries in that it is the only RMIT Library site open till midnight during part of the semester.[10] Swanston Library was named as one of "Five of the best libraries" in the The Age Sunday M magazine, which described it as "like the sprawling campus itself, [Swanston Library] has nooks and crannies and, best of all, dedicated silent places".[11]

Bundoora campus

The Bundoora campus has two library branches: Bundoora East Library and Bundoora West Library.

Brunswick campus

The Brunswick campus has one library branch.

Vietnamese campuses

Two library branches are located at RMIT's Vietnam campuses; Beanland Library and Hanoi Library.[12] The Beanland Library is the largest of the two libraries, and is located at the Ho Chi Minh City campus.[13]

See also


  1. Library staff, RMIT University Library, RMIT University, retrieved 12 October 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Murray-Smith & Dare 1987, pp. 341-242.
  3. Murray-Smith & Dare 1987, p. 473.
  4. Murray-Smith & Dare 1987, p. 245.
  5. Murray-Smith & Dare 1987, p. 282.
  6. AFI Research Collection, RMIT University, retrieved 30 September 2012
  7. RMIT Design Archives, RMIT University, retrieved 28 September 2012
  8. National Aerospace Resource Centre, RMIT University, retrieved 28 September 2012
  9. The Business Library is on the move, RMIT University Library, RMIT University, retrieved 12 October 2012
  10. Swanston Library open longer, RMIT University Library, RMIT University
  11. Sunday M magazine (27 July 2008), The Age, Fairfax Media
  12. Vietnam Library, RMIT International University, accessed 28 September 2012
  13. Beanland Library, RMIT International University, retrieved 28 September 2012
  • Murray-Smith, Stephen; Dare, Anthony J. (1987), The Tech: A Centenary History of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (1st ed.), South Yarra (Melbourne): Hyland House, ISBN 0-947062-06-8<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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