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Our Vision

Message from the State Librarian

I am delighted to share with you our vision for the State Library of NSW to transform this much-loved Sydney landmark into a global cultural destination for all.

We have been working closely with Hassell Studio to create a master plan that will celebrate the heritage of our historic Mitchell Library and provide inspiring public spaces for readers, researchers, students and visitors to access our rich collections and services in new and innovative ways.

Back in 2014 we commenced our plans to refurbish the iconic Mitchell Library building and open up more of its stunning heritage spaces for public use. I am pleased to say that we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of people using and enjoying the Mitchell Library Reading Room and the Friends Room – both refurbished in 2014/15 – and the newly created Gallery Room has proved to be a wonderful space for public programs and special events.

As part of our new master plan, we are about to embark on a program of major works that will see level 1 of the Mitchell building transformed with the creation of new, world-class public galleries.

The Mitchell galleries aim to be the first destination for visitors to our city through a continuing kaleidoscope of free exhibitions. We’re working with leading designers, creative and heritage experts to help us provide exciting new experiences you cannot get anywhere else in Sydney.

Our master plan will also deliver a beautiful multistorey set of circulation galleries on the eastern side of the Mitchell building that will connect the floors of the Mitchell building and lead visitors to the new galleries.

We have secured NSW Government funding to install new lifts and an accessible entrance and undertake some necessary infrastructure works.

Later stages of our vision for the Library will see the realisation of a rooftop restaurant and a new 400 seat auditorium to better cater for our education and public events.

We have been working closely with expert heritage consultants to develop plans to improve access in and around the Mitchell.

The magnificent Mitchell galleries are expected to open to the public by 2018 thanks to generous support from private and corporate benefactors. They will build on our digital excellence, which has been strongly supported by the NSW Government, to bring our extraordinary collection to the people of New South Wales and beyond, by providing a platform for presenting unique items in their historical and cultural contexts.

View our plans here

Alex Byrne
NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive

Our vision

To transform the State Library of NSW into a global cultural destination for all.

We’re creating new, world class public galleries in our historic Mitchell building which will offer the most exciting gallery experience in Sydney, and redefine what it means to be a world leading library.

We’re collaborating with leading designers and creatives to ensure all visitors have the opportunity to access and enjoy this much loved Sydney landmark and the extraordinary riches within it.

Later stages of the overall vision for the Mitchell will see the realisation of a rooftop restaurant and a new subterranean auditorium for public events.

Through inspiring physical and digital experiences, combined with vibrant public, scholarly and educational programs, we are placing our readers, researchers, students and visitors at the heart of all that we do.

Mitchell Building floor plan Ground Floor

Improved access, accessible facilities, new circulation gallery and the relocation of the Sir William Dixson Research Library and Fellows Room.

Mitchell Building floor plan Level One

Circulation gallery to provide access to the new public galleries and current galleries.

Circulation Gallery, Level One (facing north)

Conceptual drawing for proposed Circulation Gallery

Circulation Gallery, Level One (facing south)

Conceptual drawing for proposed Circulation Gallery

Circulation Gallery, Ground Floor

Conceptual drawing for proposed Circulation Gallery

Circulation gallery sectional perspective
Circulation Gallery (Sectional perspective)


Future plans include a 400 seat auditorium and better connection to the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room.


Expanding the current training room into a multi-function space.


Future plans include extending the circulation gallery to Level 3 so that visitors can enjoy the surrounding city views from a proposed rooftop restaurant.


If you have any comments or questions, please email or call 1800 743 436


29 July 2016

  • The development application for some of these works is now available on the City of Sydney website here.

14 October 2016


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