Melbourne Art Library is a not-for-profit lending library that collects specialised art and design texts. Our reading room in the Testing Grounds Emporium in Naarm/Melbourne’s CBD is open four days a week. We are proudly independent and are curious about what being a 'library' means.

You can find us at 438 Queen St, Naarm/Melbourne each Thursday-Sunday, 12pm-5pm.

Please note that there is ramp to enter the library space from the street. This is slightly steeper than universal access requirements, but may be accessible for someone in a wheelchair with assistance.

All are welcome. Visit our reading room to browse, read, and borrow. You can also become a member, and search and reserve text online.


Melbourne Art Library is a dialogue and a place of exchange. Please, join the conversation! 
Contact us via email at hello@melbourneartlibrary.org.au or visit us during opening hours.
To keep up to date with our activities, follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our newsletter.


MAL is a volunteer-run organisation. We are run by a small core team and an expanded group of Library Assistants and Library Technicians.

- Andrew Copolov, Nell Fraser, Jenna Muir, Fi Wilson
Administration and Marketing Coordinator - Amelia Saward
Library Coordinators
- Paige Conway, Beatrice Tsa
Melbourne Art Ephemera Archive - Liam Vaughan
- Linda Mickelborough (Chair), Meg Sheehan (Deputy Chair), Xiaoran Ma (Treasurer), Nell Fraser (Secretary), Andrew Copolov, Jenna Muir, Fi Wilson


Libraries do more than just build collections of resources, they build communities. The physical space of an inclusive art and design library allows a space for artists and readers to congregate and exchange ideas. MAL builds bridges between art school and independent studio spaces and residencies, creating a network of peer-support.

For those interested in the arts, specialised resources are often some of the most expensive and are unlikely to be collected at non-specialist libraries. The current best resource for art and design publications in Melbourne are the libraries associated with universities and the National Gallery of Victoria's Shaw Research Library. This group of libraries is important, however their defined internal user groups limit general accessibility. Further, these academic and special libraries are attached to larger parent institutions, which shape their collection development policies and define their target users. Collections are developed to aid the explicit group they are servicing, including internal staff, curators and curriculum developers. The inaccessibility of specialised collections and publications particularly limits the resources that are accessible to artists, especially emerging artists.

Melbourne Art Library began in April 2020, to fill this recognised gap in services. MAL provides an accessible and specialised collection for all interested in the arts, including emerging practitioners, the art-curious, and established researchers and arts professionals. MAL increases access to focussed publications that individuals could not otherwise access or afford. MAL also collects locally-produced and hard-to-find resources that are missing from other public institutions and narratives of arts practice in Australia.

From this initial idea, MAL quickly gained momentum. MAL delivered a contactless delivery service during Naarm-Melbourne’s 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, and opened a bricks-and-mortar reading room within six months of concept. MAL is a Registered Charity, and is recognised as a Public Library with Deductible Gift Recipient status. MAL has grown to a team of over 30 volunteers, and has a strong user group and following.

While MAL began with a focus on physical resources and access – connecting artists and arts workers with a specialised collection of resources; recent activities have focussed on activating the collection through discussion and fostering the development of artistic thought and experimental practice through workshops and forum events. MAL actively invites creatives and communities to engage with the collection in critical ways that challenge and shape the library’s experimental institutional development. MAL has enjoyed collaborations with partners including the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Shepparton Art Museum, Melbourne Art Book Fair, MPavilion, Craft Contemporary, OFFICE, and Blindside. 

Unique in Australia, MAL models creative collaboration and is a new place of exchange. MAL bolsters the work of Artist Run Initiatives and other exhibition spaces, and increase artists’ and designers’ ability to make meaningful contributions to the community, no matter their educational or social backgrounds or the economic environment. Beyond Naarm/Melbourne, MAL has developed relationships with other small scale, independent arts libraries globally, and intends to expand this network, connecting art libraries and other independent like-minded libraries to share best practice, knowledge and ideas.

Read more about the library’s development here.


Melbourne Art Library is located at 438 Queen St, Naarm/Melbourne, at the Testing Grounds site.  It is a large yellow building and is visible from the street. 

To reach the library, enter via the main center doorway, go up the ramp and the library is in a room straight ahead. 

Please note that there is ramp to enter the library space from the street. This is slightly steeper than universal access requirements, but may be accessible for someone in a wheelchair with assistance.

Unfortunately, there are no accessible bathrooms.

Library hours: Our opening hours are each Thursday-Sunday, 12pm-5pm. Any updates or changes to these hours will be posted on our Instagram

To join: To become a member, and to search and reserve text online you can join the library by following the link, however you may also email us at hello@melbourneartlibrary.org.au to join. 

Returns: We have an after hours return chute that is on the outside door to the building. It is a small wooden box, but please note it may be high for some to reach. Any books can also be returned to the library during opening hours. 

12pm-5pm, Thursday-Sunday

Melbourne Art Library, Naarm
Testing Grounds Emporium,
438 Queen St,
Naarm / Melbourne VIC 3000
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we operate, and respect their enduring connection to country. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

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