Libraries Change Lives


Victorian public libraries change lives by offering communities a place to learn, create and belong.

Libraries Change Lives, an initiative of State Library Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria, is a three-year advocacy campaign that will start the conversation about the value of public libraries and celebrate the essential services they deliver every day. We need your help to tell the story about how Stonnington Libraries are making a difference in our community.

Read stories from our community below and contribute your own.

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Ooma and Bhavesh

Ooma and her son, Bhavesh, frequently visit our Toorak/South Yarra Library. 
I wondered, 'How do I teach him? Because he's my first child, I don't have a guide. My mom lives overseas,' so it was really hard.

When Bhavesh was less than three months old we’d go to the Toorak Library on Fridays for story time. That's where he gets his love of the song.

He’s not shy! He loves singing and I even bought him a ukulele. He likes Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Singing is what brings a feeling of joy. It was a joy for me as well. He grew up hearing these songs.

I had a purpose on Fridays to get out - you come here and every time we come he makes a friend.

Bhavesh is now 4 and a half and looks forward to story time on Wednesdays. Thanks to this wonderful library, he has already learned to read. It just makes your day.






Zoe is a retired teacher and winner of our annual short-story writing competition in 2018.

I had a student who said, “I hate reading. I don’t read.”

I said, “I doubt then that you could read a couple of pages in this lesson.”

She came back five minutes later with, “Done it. Now what?”

Half-way through Year 7 Effie became a reader.

She passed away in Year 11. I was once more her English teacher but it she who was now teaching me about life and death.

In the late nineties I moved schools and I wanted to honour the teenager who gave me my new wisdom.

I went to the Malvern Library. When I took out the book of names I wondered ‘which one’?

I picked Zoe.

It means ‘life’ in Greek.

I made Effie read but she made me reassess life.





Josh found Prahran Library at a time when he needed it most.

I was going through a hard time at home with a relationship breakdown which was very mentally abusive. When we were in the most heated moments I would walk to the library to let things cool down.

I was in a very low moment of my life: I wasn’t working, I was broke on benefits, living away from my Queensland family and dealing with anxiety and depression.

As my mental health was declining I decided it was time to start changing my life. The library provided a safe space for me to go to relax, unwind and move my focus towards other positive areas.

I could escape and read motivational books, use the computer to speak to my friends and family up north, and look for jobs and a new place to live in confidence.