Newsflashes

Newsflash:

The Library's reading rooms are open. Before you visit, please read Visiting the Library. 

State Library of NSW reopening — FAQs

  1. Is the Library open?

    The State Library’s reading rooms are open from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday. All services, including collection access, are now available in both the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room and the Mitchell Library Reading Room. Readers need to book online for one of two daily sessions (excluding the Special Collections area, see question 5). 

    - Morning session: 10 am to 1.30 pm   

    - Afternoon session: 2.30 pm to 6 pm 

    The Library café is open weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm, and the Library Shop is open from 10 am to 6 pm weekdays.  

    We will be reopening parts of the galleries on Monday 13 July (see question 17). 

  2. What reading room services are available?  

    In the Mitchell Library Reading Room, readers and visitors can pre-book a seat to study, access the free wi-fi (using their own devices) and use the Special Collections area. 

    In the Bashir Reading Room, readers and visitors can pre-book a seat to use all of the regular services, including the Family History service, request books and other printed material, use the free wi-fi (using their own devices) and access the Critics' Picks collection and The Children’s Library.  

    Please note: the regular process of booking Library computers and microfilm readers while in the reading room has been reinstated. 

    You will need to place your personal items in the Library lockers before accessing the secure areas in the reading rooms.  

    Readers will be required to put any books they have handled in the tubs provided, and this collection material will be quarantined for 24 hours. 

  3. Are there restrictions on numbers in the reading rooms? 

    Yes, a reduced number of people are allowed in either the Bashir Reading Room or the Mitchell Library Reading Room at any one time to maintain safe physical distancing. The Library will continue to strictly adhere to NSW Public Health Orders.  
     
  4. Can I come in at any time between 10 am and 6 pm? 


    The Library café is open weekdays from 10 am to 5 pm, and the Library Shop is open from 10 am to 6 pm weekdays. 

    If you want to visit the reading rooms, you will need to book online for one of two daily sessions offered from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding the Special Collections area, see question 5).  

    - Morning session: 10 am to 1.30 pm   

    - Afternoon session: 2.30 pm to 6 pm  

    There are 232 seats available to book in the Bashir Reading Room (LG1 and 2), and 90 seats available to book in the Mitchell Library Reading Room (excluding the Special Collections area).  

    Bookings are released at 4 pm on Thursdays for sessions the following week. 

  5. How do I book a session in the Special Collections area? 

    Readers need to book online for a morning and/or afternoon session, from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday.   

    [In the event that you book a morning and afternoon session on the same day, you will be required to vacate the reading room between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm when the room will be closed for cleaning]. 

    There are 8 seats available to book to view original material, 10 seats to view books and other printed material and 4 seats to use the microfilm readers.   

    Access to original material is available to Gold Card Holders only so please have your card number ready when you book online.  

    Bookings are released at 4pm on Thursdays for sessions the following week. 

  6. What do I need to know about using the Special Collections area? 

    You will need to request onsite collection material during your booked session. Onsite collection requests will be ready between 30-40 minutes - sometimes it will take longer during busy periods so please be patient.  

    If you are wishing to access collection material held offsite, please complete the Access to collections form. You will need to allow extra time for the material to arrive at the Library, so please factor this in when booking a session in the Special Collections area.  

    Readers will be required to exit the Library from 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm while the Library is closed for cleaning  

    All collection material handled by staff and readers will be quarantined for 24 hours.  

  7. What do I do when I arrive at the Library for my booked session? 

    Please ensure that you have your booking confirmation with you when you arrive — either as a print-out or displayed on your phone.  

    If you have booked a seat or a computer in the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room, please line up outside the Library’s Macquarie Street building entrance; access in the Bashir Reading Room will be restricted to the Verandah and certain areas in LG1.  

    If you have booked a seat for the Mitchell Library Reading Room, please line up outside the Library’s Mitchell building entrance.  

    Safe physical distancing of 1.5 metres must be maintained at all times, even if arriving at the Library with family or friends.  

    It will take more time than usual for you to enter the Library, especially during inclement weather, so please be patient.  

    Please read the Library’s special conditions of entry here.
     
  8. Why do I have to book online? 

    The purpose of pre-booking online is to manage our restricted capacity, so we can avoid the disappointment of people travelling to the Library and not being allowed in because it is full; and also to avoid lengthy queues outside the building.   

    Online booking also allows us to collect visitor information, as required by NSW Health, to enable effective contact tracing if required — this information will only be used for that purpose and will be deleted after 28 days.   

    The purpose of having two sessions* is to ensure that more people have the opportunity to use the Library and to enable a full clean of the reading rooms between each of the two sessions.  

    * Readers wishing to access Special Collections have the option to book one or two sessions per day. 

  9. What if I don’t have access to a computer to book online?  

    There are a small number of computers (4) available for express 30-minute use from 10.30 am to 6 pm weekdays (excluding public holidays). To access these computers, please queue outside the Library’s Macquarie Street building.  

    Safe physical distancing of 1.5 metres must be maintained at all times, even if arriving at the Library with family or friends. 

    Between each use, a computer’s keyboard and mouse will be cleaned.  

    Please read the Library’s special conditions of entry here.

  10. Can I book two people into the same session? 

    No. There is a limit of one person per online booking. 

  11. Can I still access the Library's adaptive technology?  

    Yes, if you have booked a session in the Bashir Reading Room, you will be able to use the adaptive technology and hearing loops that are available. Library staff are on hand to provide assistance.

  12. Can I order digital copies of Library collection material?

    Yes, digital copies of collection material can be ordered here

    Express orders for some special collection items and/or large volumes of items may not always be possible. Once an order has been placed, a Library staff member will get in touch with you to confirm that your timeframe can be met. 

  13. Can I print documents? 

    Yes, print services are available in the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room. 

  14. Is the Library cafe open? 

    Yes, the Library cafe is open for takeaway food and beverages and will comply with the onsite capacity limits as per NSW Public Health orders. 

  15. When will the children’s areas of the Library open?

    The Children’s Library is now open. You will need to book a seat in the Bashir Reading Room to access this space. The JBF Learning Centre and the Family Room will remain closed for the time being. You can continue to access our free activities and learning resources on the Library’s website.

  16. When will the Friends Room be open to members? 

    The Friends Room will remain closed for the time being. 

  17. When will the galleries reopen? 

    The Library’s galleries in the western wing of the Mitchell building will reopen on Monday 13 July where visitors will be able to view Paintings from the Collection and the new exhibition, Eight Days in Kamay.  

    The galleries in the eastern wing of the Mitchell building are set to reopen with the popular World Press Photo exhibition on Saturday 15 August.   

  18. What safety and hygiene measures are in place? 

    The health and safety of our staff, readers and visitors is always our top priority and we will be fully complying with NSW Health guidelines to protect everyone who comes through our doors. 

    - Hand hygiene facilities will be available at each entrance to the Library and in key locations.  
    - Bathrooms will be well stocked with hand soap and paper towels, and instructions on how to wash hands properly will be provided.  
    - All hard surfaces in the reading rooms will be thoroughly cleaned between each session. Between each use, a computer’s keyboard and mouse will     be cleaned.  
    - Physical distancing measures will be implemented, with queuing systems in place and signage clearly displayed.  
    - Single-use headphones will be made available to users who might need them and don’t have their own.  

    All readers will need to sit 1.5 metres from each other, as per NSW Health guidelines for libraries.  

    All collection material handled by staff and readers will be quarantined for 24 hours.

  19. Can I book a study room? 

    Study rooms are not available due to health restrictions as all readers must sit 1.5 metres from each other while in the Library. 

  20. Can I use the lockers?

    Yes, the lockers in the Mitchell building and the Macquarie Street building are now available. Readers and visitors are asked to use the disposable wipes to clean the lockers before and after use. 

  21. When will I be able to attend talks and workshops at the Library? 

    Public programs and learning activities will continue to be delivered online for the time being. See what's on here

  22. Can I visit the Library shop? 

    The Library Shop is open 10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday. Customers are encouraged to minimise the handling of shop products.  

    You can continue to order books and fine art prints from the Library shop online.  

    Please contact the Library Shop via email: library.shop@sl.nsw.gov.au

  23. Can I book a venue for a meeting? 

    Our venues will remain closed for the time being. The venue hire team is here to help with planning your future meeting or event. Contact our team via venue.hire@sl.nsw.gov.au or fill in the enquiry form to find out how we can help with your event once it is safe to reopen our venue spaces. 

Further updates about the operations of the Library will be published here and on our social media channels. 

Further official information and advice on COVID-19