Marie Bashir Reading Room

Located on Lower Ground 1 and Lower Ground 2 in the Macquarie Street building, visit this reading room to get help using the Library and collections, use a Library computer or find a place to study.

About the room

The Marie Bashir Reading Room extends across two lower-ground levels of the Macquarie Street building.

Here you can find spaces for quiet, individual and collaborative learning, research or relaxation.

We also have dedicated areas where you can research your family history or study for the HSC.

If you need assistance during your visit, please speak to our librarians.

Visiting the Reading Room

You can use the Marie Bashir Reading Room to:

Visit Lower Ground 1 to find:

Visit Lower Ground 2 to find:

  • the Special Materials area, where you can view collection items that are valuable or fragile (entry conditions apply in this area)
  • dedicated spaces for family historians or HSC students.
  • Study rooms 1 to 4

What you can bring into Lower Ground 2

You'll need to be aware of what you can and can’t bring into the Lower Ground 2 level of the reading room.

You can bring:

  • bags smaller than 30 cm x 35 cm x 30cm
  • laptop bags larger than 30 cm x 35 cm x 30 cm – ask security staff to approve them when you arrive
  • books, magazines and other material – complete a form when you arrive.

You can't bring:

  • food and drinks in Lower Ground 2 – this includes bottled water
  • bags larger than 30 cm x 35 cm x 30cm when at full size – you'll need to store them in a free locker.

Security staff at the reading room entrance can answer questions about what you can bring in.


Students sitting at communal tables by the atrium in the reading room

The Marie Bashir Reading Room was first known as the General Reference Library Reading Room and was in the Mitchell Library.

As the Library grew, so did the need for a larger space to house the room. After years of planning, interim solutions, delays and controversies, it moved to the new Macquarie Street building, which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened in 1988.

In 1997 the room was renamed the State Reference Library Reading Room.

In 2011 it underwent a major refurbishment, and the space was redesigned to meet the changing needs of the Library's clients.

With increased natural light, whitewashed walls, neutral colours and an exposed atrium on Lower Ground 2, the room was completely transformed.

The new design included the features that make it so popular today:

  • easier access to the Library’s services and collections
  • study rooms
  • more informal work spaces
  • spaces for HSC students and family historians
  • casual seating
  • more computers.

The State Reference Library Reading Room reopened to the public on 19 September 2011.

It was renamed the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room on 20 October 2014, paying tribute to the former Governor of New South Wales.