Library reopening Monday 1 June 2020. See Frequently Asked Questions here
Here's some common questions and answers we hope will make your journey around the Library easier.
What are the opening hours of the State Library of NSW?
For comprehensive information about when you can visit us, please see our opening hours page.
If you are visiting the Library on a public holiday be sure to check our opening hours.
How do I get to the State Library of NSW?
The Library is located in Macquarie Street, Sydney at the top of Hunter Street. The Library is situated between the Royal Botanic Gardens and Parliament House.
The closest train stations are Martin Place (200 metres) and St James (450 metres). Wynyard is only a short walk away.
A wheelchair-accessible entrance is off Macquarie Street, opposite Hunter Street. There are lifts in the building and accessible toilets.
The nearest parking station is in Sydney Hospital, located on Hospital Road. If you have a Mobility Parking sticker, you can use the parking spaces at Shakespeare Place, on the corner of Macquarie Street and the Cahill Expressway.
Where do I find lockers?
The lockers are located in the Macquarie Street building and the Mitchell Library building. Find out more about our facilities for bags and lockers.
Where is lost property?
Please visit the Security Desk at the entrance to the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room on Lower Ground Level of the Macquarie Street Building or, alternatively, please visit the Security Desk at the entrance to the Mitchell Library Reading Room on the Ground Floor of the Mitchell Library Building.
Where are the toilets?
Public toilets are located on the ground floor of the Macquarie Street Building and the ground floor of the Mitchell Library Building.
Do you have tours of the Library?
Free one-hour History and Heritage tours for individuals and small groups are conducted on Mondays to Fridays at 10.30 am. Please meet the tour guide in the Macquarie Street Building ground level foyer. Bookings are not required. Tours for large groups must be booked at least 14 days in advance. Please contact the Volunteers Coordinator or see our Tours page for more.
Where are your exhibitions?
The State Library's exhibition galleries are located on our first floor. The galleries are accessible by stairs and lifts in both the Macquarie Street Building and the Mitchell Library Building.
The hours of opening are Monday to Wednesday 9 am to 5 pm, Thursday 9 am to 8 pm, Friday 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.
How many books are in the State Library of NSW?
The State Library's collection contains over 5 million items including more than 2 million books, 1.2 million microforms, 1.1 million photographs, as well as newspapers, maps, architectural plans, manuscripts and other items. The Library’s collection has a reputation as the most valuable library collection in Australia and among the most valuable in the world.
Can I borrow books?
We are a reference library so books you request from the Library's collections can only be read onsite.
You can borrow State Library books from your local public library. Find the closest public library in your area via NSW.net.
Can I get a library card online?
It’s very easy to sign-up for a Library card online.
- For NSW residents, you will receive your Library card number via email (next business day). We will then post the card to you at a later date.
- For everyone else, as online resources and collection items are only be available to you within the Library, you will need to collect your Library card in person when we reopen.
Can I access Library resources online?
Yes. If you’re a NSW resident, you can access most of the Library’s collection of eresources and ebooks, either with a public library card or with your State Library card.
Where do I find collections and original materials in the catalogue?
Our Research and Collections section is an excellent place to start. Whether you’re looking for something specific or are just browsing there are many unique and wonderful collections. You can also Ask a Librarian if you can't find the answer you were after.
What are the Special Collections?
Special Collections include rare books or manuscripts. They are kept in a special area of the Library and you have to request them in advance to see them. You'll need a Special Collections card for access - find out more about how to obtain the card.
How do I find research materials designed for students?
We have specially designed resources for all levels of students. If you're at University, TAFE or college and are looking for specific resources find out more here. If you're a teacher looking for materials for school students , our Learning section is full of useful materials for K to 12 students.
Does the website work on all browsers?
Yes it will, but there may be a few problems with very old browers, especially Internet Explorer and Safari. These problems may be things like pages taking a long time to load, photos and images not visible and big multimedia content like videos and audio not displaying properly. The best thing to do if you encounter any problems is to upgrade to the latest version of the browser.
What are the Stories?
Our Stories section is an exciting new addition to the Library’s website. It takes some of the many great and unique Library collections and then turns them into narrative stories. These can be read as short reads with your morning coffee or there’s more in depth stories you can enjoy over the course of a long train journey. They include such riveting pieces as the turbulent life of Henry Lawson; or the Holtermann collections that thrust you back into gold mining towns in the late nineteenth century. We are adding to the Stories collection continuously so do keep checking in.
I'm having trouble finding things on the website, what should I do?
When in doubt, use the search box at the top and type in the page you're after. For specific questions about items or services try Ask a Librarian.
Where do I go if I wish to donate something to the Library?
If you’re thinking of giving money or a pledge, you will find information on the Give page. If you’d like to donate materials to the Library please go to our What the Library collects page. And don’t forget that if you’d like to donate your time and skills to the Library we’d be very grateful too — these opportunities are available through crowdsourcing projects and volunteering.
How old is the State Library of NSW?
The history of the State Library of NSW Mitchell Library can be traced back to the Australian Subscription Library in 1826.
How old is the Mitchell Library Building?
The Mitchell Library was opened in 1910.
How old is the Macquarie Street Building?
The Macquarie Street Building was opened in 1988.
Where is the Dixson Library?
The Sir William Dixson Research Library is located within the Mitchell Library Reading Room. Please ask for directions at the Security Desk in the Mitchell Library Reading Room.
Where is the statue of Matthew Flinders’ cat, Trim?
There is a statue of Matthew Flinders on Macquarie Street in front of the original wing of the Mitchell Library. The statue of Trim the cat is located on the window ledge behind the statue of Finders.
Where is the Shakespeare Room?
The Shakespeare Room is located on the Ground Floor of the Mitchell Library and is open to the public on Tuesdays from 10 am to 4 pm.
Where is the marble Tasman Map?
The Tasman Map, illustrating the discoveries made by Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642 to 1643 and 1644, is reproduced on the marble mosaic entry floor of the Mitchell Library.
Who does the statue in front of the Mitchell Library depict?
The statue depicts Sir Richard Bourke, Governor of NSW from 1831 to 1837. The statue was erected in 1842 and was the first public statue in Australia.