In 2021 the Victorian Government announced $100,000 in grants from the Public Libraries Funding Program for the 10 Mechanics’ Institutes offering library services.
At the Mechanics’ Institute in Prahran, now known as PMI Victorian History Library Inc, this funding has gone to good use, Chief Librarian Lauren Joffe explained.
"The PMI was awarded $11,400 to re-do the lighting in the main library space to make it easier to use and find library materials. The results are incredible! The lighting is now even and the bottom call numbers on the shelves are clearly visible! A highly successful project indeed."
The upgrade has made a huge difference to library visitors.
"The new lighting has allowed people to be more self-sufficient, as they can now more easily find the items that they want to read – or use for research. Rather than stopping at just one item because they can’t read any of the other call numbers and must rely on staff for assistance, they are now browsing at leisure."
The government also provided $30,000 to the Mechanics’ Institutes of Victoria (MIV) to help with IT upgrades, collection-building and cataloguing, as well as giving their magazine, Useful Knowledge, a facelift.
Read more about the history of Mechanics' Institutes: Mechanics’ Institutes evolving with their communities.