Visiting your library
Not all sources of information are available to be searched on the web. Some things just haven't been digitised – at least, not yet.
So where else can you look?
Libraries have a huge array of resources, and not just books. Almost every library stocks music, movies, magazines and newspapers, games and maps, as well as books on a range of topics – fiction and nonfiction.
They also have a very special kind of resource – people. Librarians are a great resource for information gathering, and are able to help you with your questions or research projects.
Every region in Victoria has a free public library service, with local branches and mobile library services.
While you can visit in person, public libraries also allow you to reserve and renew books online, search their catalogues for books, access electronic resources such as ebooks and articles, and connect with local community groups.
Major research libraries, like the State Library and university libraries, collect all kinds of material, especially primary sources such as photos, letters, diaries, maps, documents and records, along with millions of books. They rarely throw anything away, either, which means that their collections go back decades. If you're looking for historical information, research libraries are a great place to look.
State and national libraries
You can join State Library Victoria and the National Library of Australia for free. They each have a catalogue listing all of their resources, which you can search using the same tips and tricks you use with search engines such as Google.
There's a wealth of information to discover on State Library Victoria's website, including print and digital collections:
- you can filter your search by keyword or date
- you can search for a specific kind of material (eg a book or a photograph)
- you can restrict your search to items that are immediately available, on the shelves or online
- you can download digital files of many collection items, and order digital copies of others.
If you'd like help searching the State Library's collection, this video has a few tips.
Things to remember
- Not all information is available online
- Use your local, state or national library catalogue to find out what's available – in print and online
Many items in library collections won't appear in Google or other search engine search results. But there's a way to find them, fast. Let's look at the wonder that is Trove.