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The State Library Victoria Will Be Reimagined With a New Suite of Interactive Activations

The 14 grant winners will develop ideas that'll shake up perceptions of what a library can offer.
By Libby Curran
July 09, 2021
By Libby Curran
July 09, 2021

An immersive escape room, augmented reality games and multi-sensory dining events — these are just some of the different experiences that may soon call the State Library Victoria home. 14 successful applicants have been chosen to develop their out-of-the-box ideas for reactivating Australia's oldest public library as part of the inaugural Alchemy program, which hopes to reimagine how people interact with the library's online and IRL spaces.

Each successful applicant receives a $20,000 grant to bring to life their proposed concept for a visitor experience, shaking up perceptions of what a traditional library can offer.

Selected from more than 300 proposals, the winning ideas are a diverse bunch. Among them is a concept from Escape Room Melbourne's Dr Owen Spear, which would see the site play host to an immersive puzzle experience, inviting participants to crack clues while exploring the building's hidden spaces. While the idea is yet to be finalised, Spear notes the library's 'in-built' atmosphere will have a big role in bringing it to life.

"I also want to play with the idea of a time travel narrative, to give people a sense of the State Library's fascinating and rich history," he says.

True Crime Games — the company that recently released augmented reality whodunnit game Eastern Market Murder — is also in the mix. It'll be developing an augmented reality mini-game to be played out across the library's various rooms and spaces, centred around real stories and characters from the city's past, and the library's own collection of artefacts.

True Crime Games' 'Eastern Murder Market'

Other concepts to look forward to include a series of quirky, history-inspired dining events and performance lectures from Long Prawn; a new literary-focused podcast with a supporting program of trivia, comedy and games; an immersive exhibition dedicated to Australia's most-loved children's books; and another interactive game titled Night at the Library: The Book Detective.

Not only will the Alchemy initiative offer a much-needed boost for the local creative industry, but it'll give the library a chance to properly show off its $88 million makeover. The site unveiled its long-awaited redevelopment in December, 2019, though this new look has gone a little underappreciated, as visitor numbers took a hit from lockdowns and restrictions.

Check out the full list of Alchemy grant winners and find out more about their plans over at the website.

Top Image: Patrick Rodriguez

Published on July 09, 2021 by Libby Curran


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