Reader and Visitor Code of Conduct

The State Library has an obligation to implement all reasonably practical measures to ensure the health and safety of its staff and visitors.

Face masks are highly recommended, especially when an appropriate physical distance cannot be maintained. If you are feeling unwell, please do not enter the building.

Policy Statement

This document outlines the behaviour that the State Library of New South Wales expects from its readers and visitors in all public spaces, both onsite and online. It is related to the Library’s policy on Exclusions and Directions to Leave, which outlines the use of library spaces and materials and allows for the exclusion of those who breach Library Regulation 2018 throughout the Library’s premises.

The Library aims to enable full access to its collections, workspaces and services, and active participation in its programs by the whole community. The Library is a shared space where everyone is welcome. Exemptions to restrictions outlined in this policy will be given to individuals who present medical certification of any special circumstances.

Target audience

Readers and visitors to the Library both onsite and online as well as Library staff.

Operational requirements

The Library is committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras have been installed in public areas for the safety of readers and visitors and the security of the Library’s collections and buildings.

 This code outlines the conduct we expect from readers and visitors, both onsite and when interacting with the Library online. It is based on Library Regulation 2018 made under the Library Act 1939 (NSW).

Your responsibilities

  • Treat other readers, visitors and Library staff with courtesy and respect showing regard for their needs, sensitivities and rights. Antisocial behaviour, including harassing other readers, visitors or staff, using offensive language or displaying offensive imagery or signage is not acceptable.
  • Leave the Library when requested at closing time and during emergency procedures, or if directed to do so.
  • Inform Library staff immediately if you become aware of any risk or potential risk to people or property.
  • When copying Library materials, sharing material online, downloading software, films, sound records and broadcasts, you are responsible for observing the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 with respect to materials in copyright.

Readers and visitors who fail to comply with either Library Regulation 2018 or the Reader and Visitor Code of Conduct may be directed to leave the Library and/or be excluded from interacting on the Library’s website. Serious breaches of these regulations may result in exclusion from the Library premises for a period of time and/or termination of the website user account.

Bags and belongings

The following bag restrictions apply:

  • Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room – Bags larger than 30cm x 35cm x 30cm at their full size are not permitted. Readers may apply for an exemption for laptop bags.
  • Mitchell Library Reading Room – Bags are permitted with no size restriction.
  • Special Collections Area (in the Mitchell Library Reading Room) – No bags permitted (including handbags, camera bags, laptop bags).
  • In all other areas – Bags are permitted with no size restriction.
  • Library staff have the right to inspect your equipment, folders, bags or property as you enter or leave the reading rooms. 
  • Belongings are not to be left unattended. Any items left unattended will be removed by Security staff.
  • The Library is not responsible for any loss or damage that may occur to personal belongings.
  • Bags or belongings must not be placed where they may put readers, visitors or staff at risk of injury.
  • Lockers are available for hire for the storage of bags and belongings.
  • Personal devices used in the Library are to be appropriately maintained and safe to use.
  • Power cables must not be placed where they may put readers or staff at risk of injury – eg. across areas where people may walk.

Food and drink

  • To protect the collection, food and drinks are not permitted in areas with Library material. This includes the Exhibition Galleries and Lower Ground 2 of the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room.
  • Food and drinks are not permitted in the Special Collections Area of the Mitchell Library Reading Room.
  • Bottled water is permitted in the Mitchell Library Reading Room and covered drinks are permissible in other areas where signage indicates.


  • Smoking, including the use of vaporizers, is not permitted on Library premises.


  • In the interest of other readers using the Library, acceptable levels of dress and personal hygiene must be met.
  • Footwear must be worn.
  • Clothing and accessories that display offensive imagery/text or that target a group or individual based on race, religion, gender or sexuality must not be worn.

Quiet environment

  • A quiet environment for study must be maintained in the reading rooms.
  • Disruptive behaviour and excessive noise are not acceptable in any public space in the Library.
  • Switch your mobile phone to silent when in the reading rooms. Talking on your mobile phone is not permitted in these areas.
  • Headphones are to be used when listening to music or other multimedia. The volume must be at a level that cannot be heard by other readers or staff.
  • Group discussions and mobile phone conversations may be conducted in the study rooms but must be kept at an acceptable level that does not disturb other readers.

Library equipment and material

  • The State Library of NSW provides free access to the internet through its public computers and wi-fi. Security on the internet cannot be guaranteed. The Library takes no responsibility for any consequences, direct or indirect, arising from readers’ use of particular sites.
  • Damaging or misusing Library equipment, facilities or furniture is not acceptable. This includes disconnecting Library equipment or using it for any purpose other than its intended use.
  • Damaging Library material in any way, such as marking, cutting, attaching adhesive notes and tampering with security tags, is not permitted. Special Collections material must be handled according to Library guidelines.
  • Hiding or removing Library material from the reading rooms is not permitted.
  • Library equipment is for the use of Library material only. Requests to use Library equipment for personal items including microform and CD-ROMs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Internet usage

  • Access to the internet by children under the age of 18 is the responsibility of the child’s parent or guardian.
  • Readers and visitors are not permitted to access, download or print pornographic, offensive or objectionable material, and must comply with the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995 (NSW).
  • Readers and visitors must not in any way breach or infringe copyright. If a reader or visitor repeatedly infringes copyright using Library systems or computers, the Library will terminate reader accounts and access to computers and systems in line with the Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Act 2018 (Cth).
  • Readers and visitors are not permitted to use Library computers or its network for any unlawful or inappropriate purpose. This includes but is not limited to modifying or gaining access to restricted files or data belonging to others, installing software on the Library’s computers, and accessing illegal or prohibited websites. The Library is not liable for the consequences of unauthorised use.
  • Activity logs may be used for troubleshooting and security purposes. The Library may make disclosures of activity logs to relevant authorities where the use of our internet system raises concern that an offence is being, or has been, committed.

Library website  

The State Library of NSW website shares information and other content about the Library and its collections and activities, and delivers services for the interest, enjoyment and research needs of readers and visitors. 

The Library is not responsible for, nor endorses, any content that a member of the public contributes to the Library’s website or any other websites linked from the Library’s website. More information is available on the Library website disclaimer

Removal of any content from the Library’s website is at the Library’s discretion.  

The Library, as a member of National and State Libraries Australasia, has endorsed a position statement on copyright and public requests to take down content from the Library website and/or collections. Should you wish to make a Take-down request, please contact the Library’s Senior Advisor, Office of the State Librarian, by post or via the Library’s online feedback form.  

Library social media community guidelines  

The State Library of NSW’s social media channels share information and content that inspires, interests and engages the people of NSW and beyond, drawn from events, programs and exhibitions at the Library, stories from the collection, and the knowledge of our staff.   

The channels facilitated by the Library are created as spaces where community members feel valued. The Library encourages users to join in the discussion, ask questions and share ideas. 

To ensure the Library’s online platforms are safe, respectful and inclusive, the Social Media Community Guidelines apply to all users on, or engaging with, the Library’s social media channels.  

You must not use the Library’s online channels to:  

  • Post content that is insulting, threatening or hateful towards anyone. This includes the use of profanities, obscenities, explicit material and discriminatory language.  
  • Abuse, defame, insult or intimidate anyone. The Library will not tolerate any form of cyberbullying or harassment.  
  • Post any misleading, deceptive or false information regarding the Library’s activities, where factual information exists and is publicly available.  
  • Share personally identifiable information about yourself or other community members.  
  • Spam, advertise or promote any commercial businesses.  
  • Post content that is an infringement of intellectual property rights, including copyright.  

The Library’s social media channels are actively moderated, and the Library reserves the right to hide, delete or report posts or comments determined to be in breach of the above guidelines. Should an individual continue to breach these Social Media Guidelines, the Library reserves the right to block that individual from posting to the State Library’s social media accounts entirely and without notice.  

The State Library’s social media accounts are monitored between 9 am to 5 pm AEST weekdays. If you have an urgent query, please call +61 2 9273 1414 or email 

Unattended children

  • The Library offers a range of services that support the information, literacy, education and recreational needs of young people. However, the Library does not provide care facilities as part of this service. Children under 12 must not be left unsupervised in the Library in accordance with the Library’s Child Safe Policy (in development). Unsupervised children can be at risk in any public place including libraries. Library staff do not supervise children and there is a risk that unattended children may leave the Library at any time, hurt themselves or be approached by strangers.


  • Only registered assistance animals can be brought into the Library. Proof of registration may be required.

Photography and filming

  • Permission from Library staff is required before taking professional photographs or filming in the reading rooms and exhibition areas. Flash photography is not permitted.
  • Identifiable images of people should be avoided in photographs or films, without their permission.


The Library’s Executive Committee members are responsible for leading the implementation of this policy ­– including its conformity to legislative and other compliance requirements – communicating this policy to managers and supervisors, and other relevant activities in implementing the policy.

Managers and supervisors are responsible for managing processes relevant to this policy and communicating this policy to staff.

Staff are responsible for understanding and complying with this policy.

Records and privacy management

Formal records are made of security incidents or a reader or visitor’s refusal to cooperate with staff enforcing the Reader and Visitor Code of Conduct and Library Regulation 2018.

The Library will maintain records of incident and investigation reports in accordance with the requirements of the State Records Act 1998 and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and the Library’s Privacy Management Plan.

Incident and investigation reports and related information are treated as confidential and limited to authorised staff. The Library may disclose personal information in instances where another Act or law authorises us to do so.

Further information about privacy can be obtained from the Library website at

Related key legislation and policy

Most relevant legislation:

  • Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995
  • Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
  • Library Act 1939
  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998
  • State Records Act 1998
  • Work Health & Safety Act 2011


  • Policy on exclusions and directions to leave
  • Website Terms of Use
  • Privacy Management Plan
  • Security Systems Surveillance Policy
  • Smoke-Free Workplace Policy


Version: 5.1
Last Amendment: December 2022
Approved by: Executive
Policy owner/sponsor: Executive Director, Library & Information Services
Branch contact: Coordinator, Information & Access

Policy No: PD/5
Record No: 52789
Date approved: 5 July 2022
Next review: 6 July 2025