(current resources, suggest titles, wish list)

You can now borrow books via our online catalogue!

To work within our limited resources and COVID-restrictions, we are launching a contact-less delivery service.Deliveries will be made to Metropolitan Melbourne every Wednesday, beginning October 14.Place your reservations before the preceding Tuesday at 5pm to be included in the delivery run. Borrowing is free, however we invite you to make a tax deductible donation, if possible, to offset our operational costs and support our continued service. 

How to Borrow a book:

  • Visit our catalogue.

  • Sign up for membership (free) via the "Become a Borrowing Member" link.

  • Sign in with the login details sent to your email.

  • Search the catalogue!

  • Reserve up to 10 books you would like to borrow. Make sure to tick the reserves box next to the item you want before clicking 'submit reserve'.


How to Return a book:

  • Books are lent for an initial 3 weeks, with the option of renewing twice for an additional 2 weeks (for a maximum 7 week borrowing term).

  • Staff can collect returns upon delivery of new reservations. Please let us know if there are books to collect when we contact you re: delivery.

  • Otherwise, books may be returned to one of our 'Returns Boxes' around Melbourne. Currently, we are confirming locations in Collingwood and the Melbourne CBD, with more details and additional locations to be announced over the coming weeks. 

  • If you have any concerns or questions, please email us and we'll make arrangements to facilitate borrowing and returning, including organising the pick-up of items. 

Read our Lending Policy for more information. 

Collection Development

Melbourne Art Library's principal aim is to collect key texts on art practice in Australia, South-East Asia and the Pacific. While encouraging interdisciplinary thought, the collection focuses on content pertaining to Art and Design. Complementary to maintaining a local focus, MAL continues to collect theoretical and critical texts published for the broader international arts community.

While not intending to act as an archive, MAL collects ephemeral and unpublished material reflective of the activity and history of arts practice in Australia. By including material which may be missed by other collecting bodies, we hope to represent and record the dynamic and temporal reality of local arts practice in our concepts of 'Australian art history'.

The collection supports the interests of its users, and responds to trends in local discourse and to user suggestions. MAL aims to provide a breadth of perspectives on art- and design-related subjects, and is mindful of the representing artists and voices from a range of backgrounds. 

Selection decisions show an awareness of other institution's collections and aims to provide access to typically hard-to-access resources.

For more information, read our Collection Development Policy.

(An Ever-Growing) Reading List

We want your input! What titles should we add to our collection? What texts do you want access to? What resources do you wish more people had read?

View our current Reading List / Wish List and add your suggestions. 


We are shaped by our curriculums, both formal and informal. We are all part of unconscious echo-chambers, forming narratives and new knowledge from the resources we are exposed to. 


In an attempt to widen our reading lists, to realign our frames of reference, and to listen to those not represented in existing collections, Melbourne Art Library is building (An Ever-Growing) Reading List. 


As a public resource, these lists will hopefully bring some under-appreciated titles to light, and encourage conversations around the importance of curriculums and popular texts in shaping histories and cultural identities. 


This list will also be used as a key resource by our librarians when considering new acquisitions for the MAL collection. We will take particular note of titles that are not currently held in public collections in Melbourne, and those that are suggested multiple times. 


This list has been developed through reaching out directly to contributors and welcoming contributions from the general public. This list will be updated regularly, with titles added in order or submission.


We’d love to hear what texts are important to you. If you have a reading list or title to suggest and add to the list, please let us know!


We acknowledge the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we live, dream, and create. We respect their ongoing connection to country. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land!