Saturday 4 December 2021


The Little River Mechanics’ Institute and Free Library has been serving locals for more than a century and continues to do so, thanks to support from the Andrews Labor Government.

A $12,000 grant from the Public Libraries Funding Program has helped the Institute install audio-visual, projection and theatrical lighting facilities, available for use by local community groups.

Member for Werribee Tim Pallas represented Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane today in a visit to the historic building to see the upgrades underway.

The Little River Mechanics’ Institute was built in 1910 and its heritage library, which operates under community ownership, has been continuously open to borrowers since 1911. It boasts a growing collection of local and rural Australian history books as well as fiction for people of all ages. Regular library events include visits from the local primary school, dance classes, movie screenings, community meetings and art exhibitions.

Mechanics’ Institutes began as a model for free education for workers in Scotland and were soon established throughout the British Empire. They opened in Australia in the early 19th century and were extremely popular, with one in almost every town in Victoria.

Today, 562 remain in Victoria and 10 of them continue to provide library services to their local communities. These 10, including the one in Little River, recently received a share of $100,000 from the Victorian Government’s Public Libraries Funding Program to help them with initiatives like buying new books and equipment.

The Government also provided $30,000 to the Mechanics’ Institutes of Victoria for IT upgrades, collection building, cataloguing and publications.

For more information on how the State Government supports public libraries, visit:
For details about the history of Mechanics’ Institutes and their relevance today, visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane:

“The Public Libraries Funding Program helps our libraries continue to provide locals with high-quality library services and facilities. I’m so pleased that we were able to include libraries at Mechanics’ Institutes as they continue to evolve and support their communities.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Werribee Tim Pallas:

“It’s fantastic to see the Andrews Labor Government recognise the importance of the Little River Mechanics’ Institute and Free Library to the community through the Public Libraries Funding Program.”

“This library has been serving the community for more than a hundred years and continues to provide a vital facility for locals – not just as a place for borrowing books but also as a place to meet, take part in activities and socialise.”