The PMI Victorian History Library, Melbourne, Australia

Front of the PMI Victorian History Library building

A Library Planet post by Jade Koekoe

The PMI Victorian History Library Inc. is a community owned and run library specialising in the history of the Australian state of Victoria. The library collection is the only lending collection of its kind in Australia – with over 30,000 books for loan and over 40,000 items on site, including titles that are unavailable elsewhere. Because of that, we regularly help researchers, historians, academics and architects with their information needs.

Letter from the PMI Victorian History Library Archive: From the Colonial Secretary’s Office addressed to the original PMI Mechanics Institute Committee, granting them 300 pounds to buy land for the Library

The PMI Library has been around for quite some time – since 1854 – when we were called the Prahran Mechanics Institute, hence ‘PMI’. We are older than the formation of the Stonnington City Council. We know this because Stonnington’s first council gathering was held in the PMI’s old building on Chapel street! We are the second oldest library in Victoria.

Nowadays you will find the PMI on St Edmonds street, Prahran. Our building is unmissable, with a huge image of our orange and red library logo on the front. When you come through the entrance and climb the stairs to your left, you’ll find a warm and welcoming environment.

Disaster and Recovery Workshop at the PMI: Conservators showing items they had restored,
with PMI staff looking on

You will see a comfortable space to research; computers for the public; a functioning kitchen (in which people using the library can make a cuppa); and, of course, helpful librarians.

If you find yourself at our library, be sure to ask when our next event is . We have night-time lectures, author talks, a book club, book sales, a history showcase and a Family History Social Group. We also are the home of:

People using the collection at the PMI Victorian History Library

So if you have an interest in cinema, sound, transport or Mechanics Institutes, we have some knowledgeable and chatty people who would love to have a discussion with you.

For more information, including opening hours, please visit


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