Drawing of the west or Swanston Street elevation of the Public Library, Bates Peebles & Smart, 1909
This activity explores the connection between personal stories and significant places. Use reflections and recollections about the State Library's domed La Trobe Reading Room as a starting point for students to make their own 'place story'. These dome recollections are featured on the Library's Dome Centenary website, created to mark the dome's centenary celebration.
This activity is suitable for a wide range of year levels and is not connected to an inquiry unit. This activity would be particularly effective as a pre- or post-visit activity if you are visiting the Library with students.
- Ask students to think of a place that is personally significant to them. Note some examples.
- Introduce students to the dome and the Dome Centenary by showing them the 100 stories section of the Dome Centenary website.
- Ask students to read at least one of the dome stories. Ensure the class reads a cross section of stories.
- Ask students to consider the following questions as they read these stories:
Who is the writer? Is she or he an expert of some sort?
What does the dome mean to the writer?
Was the story about the dome as a physical space, or something else?
Did you learn something new about the dome? What was it? For example, was it about its history, architecture or other element?
- Invite students to share their stories and reflections with the class.
- Ask students to write a 'place story' of their own, for example about a significant place at school or in their neighbourhood.
- Why are certain places important to people?
- Are there any places that are important to more than one person in your class? If so, why do you think this is?
- If you have visited the Library, ask your students as a class to share their dome story on the website.