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Melbourne celebrates the centenary of State Library reading room

A year of celebrations has been launched to mark the 100th anniversary of one of Melbourne’s most remarkable architectural features, the domed reading room.

Commissioned to celebrate the Library’s jubilee in 1913, the landmark dome was designed by local Melbourne architect Norman Peebles whose brief was to emulate two great buildings of the era, the British Museum Library Reading Room and the Library of Congress Reading Room in Washington.

The centenary year will feature a range of exhibitions, events, education programs and activities for all ages. The celebrations have kicked off with a free exhibition, Enchanted dome: the Library and imagination, which looks at how the dome has been reflected and immortalised in art and literature from the 1950s to today.

From 16 November to 6 December 2012 the festivities will continue when the library hosts Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on ‘Ode to Joy’ for a Prepared Piano – a major contemporary art project and performance piece presented by Kaldor Public Art Projects. The work, by US artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla has been brought exclusively to Melbourne from New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

A second major exhibition, Free secular and democratic: building the Public Library 1853 –1913,will open in May 2013 and will explore the history of the State Library buildings, from the first decision to have a public library in 1853 to the opening of the dome in 1913.

More information is at www.dome100.com.au

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