Library reopening Monday 1 June 2020. See Frequently Asked Questions here

State Library of NSW reopening — FAQs 

When will you open? 

The State Library will reopen from 10 am on Monday 1 June.  

Initially, only part of the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room, Lower Ground 1,  Macquarie St building and the Mitchell Library Reading Room in the Mitchell building (but not the Special Collections area) will be open to the public, with limited services and reduced hours (10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday). 

What services will be available?  

From Monday 1 June readers and visitors will be able to study, access the free wi-fi (using their own devices) or use one of the Library’s computers. There will be no access to collection material, including the Critics’ Picks collection, at this initial stage.   

We will progressively increase reading room services and opening hours when we are confident it is safe to do so. Providing access to special collections is our next priority, which we hope will be by mid-June. 

Will there be restrictions on numbers? 

Initially, a maximum number of up to 100 people (including staff) will be allowed in each reading room at any one time, as this is the maximum we can accommodate and still maintain safe physical distancing.  

This number will increase as we progressively open up parts of the Library and expand our services. 

Can I come in at any time between 10 am and 6 pm? 

No. We will be introducing an online booking system, with two x 3.5-hour sessions per day in each reading room, available from Monday to Friday. We will be taking online bookings from early next week (week commencing 25 May) and detailed booking instructions will be provided. 

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

  • Morning session: 10 am to 1.30 pm 
  • Afternoon session: 2.30 pm to 6 pm 

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. 

Please ensure to bring your booking ticket with the QR code for entry. This can be a printed copy or displayed on your mobile device. The ticket will be emailed to you after you register for a session. 

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

There will be a small number of computers available for 30-minute time slots for people who cannot book ahead. Members of the public will be asked to queue outside the Library’s Macquarie St building to use these computers. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times. Between each use, a computer’s keyboard and mouse will be cleaned. 

Can I book two people into the same session? 

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

Can I print documents? 

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

Will the Library cafe be open from 1 June? 

Yes, the Library cafe will be open for takeaway food and beverages and will comply with the 10-person onsite limit as per NSW Health orders. 

Will the children’s areas of the Library be open from 1 June? 

The Children’s Library, 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.

When will the galleries reopen? 

The Library galleries will remain closed for the time being. We are planning to welcome visitors back into the Paintings from the Collection exhibition and Amaze Gallery (western wing, Mitchell building) by mid-July. Plans are also underway to launch two new exhibitions. 
We encourage you to visit our new online exhibition, Eight Days in Kamay. The physical exhibition will open when the western wing galleries reopen.  

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 the 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 the NSW Health guidelines for libraries. 

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. 

Can I use the lockers?

No. The lockers will not be available to use.

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

Can I visit the Library shop? 

The Library Shop remains open online, but temporarily closed onsite for the time being. You can continue to order books and fine art prints online.

Please contact the Library Shop via email:

Can I book a venue for a meeting? 

Our venues will remain closed for the time being. We will open venue hire spaces when we are confident it is safe to do so. 

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