About Us

Welcome to the PMI Victorian History Library Inc.

The Prahran Mechanics’ Institute (PMI) was established in 1854. It is a community owned and run library, specialising in the history of Victoria, Australia. We are a central resource for research into the history of Victoria.

The library has over 40,000 books for loan, many of which are not available for loan elsewhere.

In addition to our extensive lending and reference library specialising in works about Victorian history, we also provide a professional information service for our members and organise educational activities including lectures, seminars and competitions to encourage and facilitate the study of history.

Become a member and discover a wealth of information about the history of Victoria. Joining the library is easy, affordable and open to all.

Want to learn more about our history? Download a copy of the Prahran Mechanics’ Institute timeline. Here are our Annual Reports for 2023, 2022, 2021 and 2020.

The Library is also home to a number of special collections including:

Our Home for the Library

The PMI Victorian History Library is located at 39 St Edmonds Road, Prahran.

The  building  provides:

  • shelf space for the collection
  • seating  for reading and research
  • a public tea room with a  kitchen, urn and microwave
  • a dedicated volunteer work room (the Furneaux Room)
  • a large multipurpose meeting room (the Moss Room) which can be partitioned off to provide another smaller space for meetings, reading and research
  • disabled access
  • some on-site parking (inside the ground floor garage door)


The PMI is incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act (2012). Members are provided with copies of the PMI Constitution and Library Policy on request. View our Strategic Plan and Constitution here.


The Library is administered by a board of seven people, you can meet them by visiting our Meet the Board webpage.

Wanting to renew or reserve library items?

Opening Hours

Tues to Fri: 10.00am–4.00pm
Sat to Mon: Closed

Join the Library

You will be supporting a not-for-profit, community organisation and one of the oldest libraries in Victoria.

PMI Newsletter

Our regular newsletter features information about what is happening at the library, upcoming events and articles about Victorian history.