State Library of NSW reopening — FAQs

  1. When is the Library open?

    The Library, including our two reading rooms, is open every day. Online bookings are no longer required to use the Mitchell Library Reading Room and the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room, however you will need to provide your details on entry for contact tracing purposes, as per the NSW Health checklist for libraries. Please see the Library’s COVID Safety Plan here.

    The reading rooms are open Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 8 pm, and Friday to Sunday (including public holidays), 10 am to 5 pm. The Special Collections area in the Mitchell Library Reading Room will be open until 6 pm Monday to Thursday, 5 pm on Friday, and will remain closed on Sundays.

    The Library café and galleries are open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. 

    The Library Shop is open from 10 am to 5 pm weekdays, and 11am to 5pm on weekends and public holidays. 

    Please read the Library’s special conditions of entry here and Covid-19 Safety Plan.

  2. What reading room services are available?  

    All reading room services are available apart from the study rooms.

    Readers will need to request collection material before 6 pm, Monday to Thursday.

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

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

    Yes, there is a reduced number of seats in the Mitchell Library Reading Room and the Bashir Reading Room to ensure safe physical distancing. The Library will continue to strictly adhere to NSW Public Health Orders.  
  4. 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.
  5. Is the Library cafe open? 

    Yes. The Library cafe is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. If you are sitting down in the cafe, you will need to provide your details for contact tracing purposes, as per NSW Health guidelines.

  6. When will the children’s areas of the Library open?
    The Children’s Library in the Bashir Reading Room is open. The JBF Learning Centre will open for school programs in Term 3.

    For any school booking inquiries, please call the Learning team on (02) 9273 1778 or email
    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.

  7. Are the Library galleries open? 

    Yes, all our galleries are open. Come and visit our Paintings from the Collection (permanent) exhibition and our changing program of new free exhibitions See What's On here.

  8. What safety and hygiene measures are in place? 

    The health and safety of our staff, readers and visitors is always our top priority.

    If you are feeling unwell or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please do not enter the building.

    We are fully complying with NSW Health guidelines to protect everyone who comes through our doors.  

    From Wednesday 3 February, masks are recommended when visiting the Library, especially when an appropriate physical distance cannot be maintained.

    - Hand hygiene facilities are available at each entrance to the Library and in key locations.  
    - Bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap, and instructions on how to wash hands properly are provided.    
    - All hard surfaces in the reading rooms, galleries and other public spaces are regularly cleaned throughout the day.  
    - Study desks, computer keyboards and mouses are cleaned between each use.  
    - Physical distancing measures are in place, with limited seating in reading rooms 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 and visitors will need to sit and stand 1.5 metres from each other, as per NSW Health guidelines for libraries.  

  9. Can I use the lockers?

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

  10. 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. You can also watch recordings of past online events here

  11. Is the Friends Room open to members?  

    Yes, the Friends Room is open Monday to Friday, 10.30 am to 5 pm.

  12. Can I visit the Library shop? 

    Yes, the Library Shop is open from 10 am to 5 pm weekdays, and 11 am to 5 pm on weekends and public holidays. 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:

  13. Can I book a venue for a meeting? 

    Yes, the venue hire team is here to help with planning your future meeting or event. Contact our team via or fill in the enquiry form to find out how we can help plan your event safely.

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