History

State Library has proudly provided library services to the people of Queensland for more than 120 years.

Timeline of significant events

1896 The Brisbane Public Library established in William Street. The library's collection, purchased by the Queensland Government from the private collection of Mr Justice Harding, is managed by a Board of Trustees chaired by Chief Justice, Sir Samuel Griffith.
1902 On 29 April, the renamed Public Library of Queensland officially opens to the public.
1934 The Oxley Memorial Library officially opens as a centre for research and study relating to Queensland.
1946 The Oxley Memorial Library collection established.
1947 James L Stapleton appointed Queensland's first State Librarian.
The Library Board of Queensland establishes the Country Extension Service to provide a library service outside the city.
1954 Library services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities begin. Loans to Woorabinda, Cherbourg, and Palm Island libraries, and to schools on Darnley, Thursday and Yorke Islands in the Torres Strait.
1966 The William Street library is remodelled, giving it an extra floor and an extended mezzanine.
1971 Library renamed State Library of Queensland.
1973 Thursday Island and Cooktown are the first libraries to join what is to become the Country Lending Service.
1974 Flood destroys books at South Brisbane, with water rising to nearly two metres. Over 80 per cent of the stock is damaged.
1988 The William Street building closes and the library moves to South Bank.
1995 State Library’s internet site launched.
2001 The first female State Librarian, Lea Giles-Peters, is appointed.
2002 The first Indigenous Knowledge Centre established.
2006 On 25 November, the redeveloped State Library building opens to the public as a new cultural and knowledge destination. It is twice its former size.
2007 The redeveloped building, designed by Donovan Hill Peddle Thorp, is awarded Australia’s top prize for public architecture: the Royal Australian Institute of Architects' Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture, 2007.
2010 The Edge, State Library’s makerspace, opens.
2011 Flood waters from the Brisbane River breach the basement and car park of the State Library building and the lower level of The Edge, forcing closure for several weeks.
2022 State Library celebrates its first 120 years!