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Become a volunteer at the Library

Volunteering at the Library

Volunteering at the State Library

Volunteers play an important role at the Library and are appreciated for giving so generously of their valuable time. They bring their rich experience, enthusiasm and knowledge, helping us gain new perspectives and forge links between local communities and our collection.

Volunteer Roles

There are two main types of volunteer tasks: front-of-house, or behind-the-scenes. Front-of-house tasks include a variety of guided tours, speaking to community groups, hosting exhibitions and assisting with events. Behind-the-scenes tasks are varied but include sorting collection material, transcribing our original manuscript material and providing administrative support.

New Opportunities for digital volunteering

With the Library’s new purposely built transcription tool, volunteers can help make this happen through transcribing our digital material of diaries, letters, manuscripts and records as well as editing and correcting transcriptions material. Like any great Library, we want to share our collections and need to fast track our digital collection offerings to a global audience. 

Through this crowd sourcing project, you can make a great difference. Learn More 

Contact us

Although our team is currently at capacity, we welcome your expression of interest to be part of our volunteer community.  For more information please email .


Benefits for our volunteers

State Library Volunteers receive:

  • Invitations to social outings and exhibition previews
  • Regular coffee mornings featuring presentations from State Library staff, curators and guest speakers
  • Training to deepen your knowledge and appreciation of the Library’s collections and programs
  • Quarterly editions of SL Magazine and What’s On
  • Service Award badges 
  • Access to a new fully equipped heritage Volunteer Room
  • A discount of 10% at the State Library Shop and Café Trim

Volunteer Events

Two men and 1 woman in Santa hats and singing

Friends Christmas Party


Friends Christmas Party 2014
Group of people sitting on chairs listening to man talking at lectern
National Volunteer Week 2014
Woman looking at collection items
National Volunteer Week 2014
Two women drinking cups of tea and talking
National Volunteer Week 2014
Man presenting a bouquet of flowers to woman
Dr Alex Byrne presenting flowers to Nancy Tuck
Several women sitting on chairs and smiling
Nancy Tuck 100th birthday party
Three women with Christmas tree behind them
Volunteers Christmas Party 2013
Two women and a man sitting down and holding flowers
Volunteers Christmas Party 2013
Man and two women sitting on chairs
Volunteers Christmas Party 2013
Three women sitting round a laptop at a desk in Friends Room
Volunteers Morning Tea April 2013
Two men in large room with bookcases behind them
Volunteers Morning Tea April 2013
Man and woman with drinks in crowded room
Volunteers Christmas Party 2012
Two men and a woman holding wine glasses in crowded room
Volunteers Christmas Party 2012



Hear from our Volunteers

Shakespeare Room host

 "People are really taken aback by the Shakespeare Room," says long standing volunteer Cleo Lynch who conducts regular hosting of the room.  “For who believes this elegant, intimate space exists in the Mitchell …. with its book-lined shelves, ornate wooden carvings and plaster ceiling.” Visitors from overseas often comment that they haven’t seen a tribute to Shakespeare like this, and locals are surprised it has been here since 1942.

Transcription of over 500 WWI diaries

“Working with the diaries and letters gives me a sense of satisfaction that I can help bring their stories to a much wider audience, who can now also get to know these young men through the words they wrote about their experiences.”  -Barbara Manchester

“I have been transcribing WWI diaries for some time and feel privileged to be part of this project, a very significant one for both the Library and Australia. I have found it fascinating from two aspects.”  -John Brooker

Several new volunteers became hosts in the Library’s new exhibition rooms for Lynley Dodd:A Retrospective, a touring exhibition from Tauranga Art Gallery, New Zealand, showing the career of the bestselling illustrator and author of Hairy Maclary. 

“I enjoy introducing the Library to a new generation of visitors and showing people that a library isn’t just a place of books.” -Georgia Maccan. 

During the recent Mitchell Library Reading Room refurbishment, new volunteer Anne Munroe noted the variety of reasons people visit the Mitchell Library Reading Room.

“I met students studying for the HSC and spoke to an abundance of tourists from whom we accepted flattering comparisons to fine libraries around the world, including the Library of Congress in Washington DC.  Members of the Society of Women Writers came past on their way to a meeting and told tales of brushes with fame with well-known authors in the Library.”

A highlight for Jayne Chapman is also the people she has met as a volunteer, especially the travellers.  “Often the Library is ‘part of a to-do list in Sydney ’ for visitors from England, New Zealand, and Asia, but sometimes they have come to find their family history.”