Behind the scenes

A capital idea

Decorated initials — artworks in themselves — have a long history.

Reconstructing the Holtermann: the world's largest collodion glass-plate negatives

What do you do when one of the world’s largest wet-plate glass negatives, weighing over 30 kilos, smashes into hundreds of pieces?

Following the river

Darug people share a deeper story of Dyarubbin, the Hawkesbury River.

The Gatherings Order 

A behind the scenes look at the new podcast series exploring the last great influenza pandemic in 1919.

Curating Eight Days in Kamay

In 1770 the Gweagal people of Kamay (Botany Bay) discovered James Cook and the Endeavour. The Library’s new exhibition explores the eight days that followed.

‘Unprecedented’: the Library through two pandemics

The extraordinary events of the past few months are unprecedented in our lifetimes, but the response to the Covid-19 pandemic contains echoes of the 1918–19 influenza outbreak. The Library is one of many institutions following the lead of our forebears.

The Library at war: 1939–1943

While the Nazis had conquered Western Europe in 1940 and threatened Britain’s very existence, the State Library had continued on much as it had before the war.

150 years ago: the Free Public Library

A vital public institution.

Living language: Aboriginal languages in New South Wales

A major exhibition opening in July at the Library will celebrate UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Mitchell or burn: the Thompson family papers

Sifting through the ‘glorious clutter’ of the Thompson family papers offers a sense of early Sydney life and insights into several significant local families.

Behind the scenes in our new galleries

We’ve almost doubled our gallery space to show more of the Library’s collection and give exhibition visitors a chance to make their own connections.

Arresting gaze

A compelling portrait of a young colonial woman has been given new life.