Sadie Fullerton

Sadie Fullerton

Published: 18 Sep 2023


The State Library of New South Wales is a fascinating and iconic landmark that holds a wealth of knowledge and history. Located in the heart of Sydney, Australia, this historic institution is not only a library but also a cultural hub and a treasure trove of information. With its grand architecture and impressive collection, the State Library attracts visitors from all over the world.

In this article, we will explore 15 astonishing facts about the State Library of New South Wales that will undoubtedly pique your curiosity. From its humble beginnings to its modern-day significance, these facts highlight the library’s importance as a center for learning, research, and cultural preservation.

Table of Contents

The State Library of New South Wales is one of Australia’s oldest and most important libraries.

Founded in 1826, the State Library of New South Wales is a cultural and educational institution that holds a vast collection of books, documents, photographs, and other significant materials.

It is located in Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales.

Centrally positioned in Sydney’s cultural heart, the State Library of New South Wales occupies a prominent site in Macquarie Street, offering stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Garden.

The library houses over 5 million items.

The State Library of New South Wales boasts a collection of over 5 million items, including books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, photographs, and rare documents, making it a valuable resource for researchers, historians, and the general public.

It is home to the original journal of Captain James Cook.

The State Library of New South Wales proudly preserves the original journal of Captain James Cook, documenting his exploration of the east coast of Australia in This historical artifact provides invaluable insights into the early European exploration of the continent.

The Mitchell Library is the research library of the State Library of New South Wales.

The Mitchell Library, a section of the State Library of New South Wales, specializes in collecting materials related to Australian history, literature, and culture. It houses an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and archives.

The library hosts various exhibitions and events throughout the year.

With a commitment to public engagement, the State Library of New South Wales organizes a diverse range of exhibitions, talks, workshops, and performances. These events provide opportunities for learning, discovery, and interaction with the library’s collections.

It offers free access to countless online resources.

The State Library of New South Wales provides free access to a wide range of online resources, including digitized newspapers, photographs, manuscripts, and other valuable documents. This enables people from all over the world to explore and benefit from the library’s collections.

The library has a beautiful reading room known as the Mitchell Reading Room.

The Mitchell Reading Room, located within the Mitchell Library, is a magnificent space designed for quiet study and research. It features high ceilings, elegant architecture, and natural light, creating a conducive environment for intellectual pursuits.

The State Library of New South Wales offers educational programs for students and teachers.

Recognizing the importance of education, the library provides educational programs tailored to students and teachers. These programs aim to inspire a love for learning and research while utilizing the library’s vast resources.

It houses a dedicated children’s library called the “sl.nsw Kids.”

The State Library of New South Wales understands the significance of nurturing young minds. The “sl.nsw Kids” area is a vibrant and interactive space where children can explore books, engage in creative activities, and discover the joy of reading.

The library offers tours for visitors to explore its magnificent architecture.

Visitors have the opportunity to join guided tours of the State Library of New South Wales, allowing them to discover its architectural highlights and learn about the library’s rich history and cultural significance.

It boasts a beautiful heritage-listed building.

The State Library of New South Wales occupies a stunning heritage-listed building, known for its grand architecture and historical significance. Its majestic entrance, elegant interiors, and striking facade make it a cherished landmark in Sydney.

The library offers access to a wide range of research databases.

Researchers and students can benefit from the State Library of New South Wales’ extensive collection of research databases, providing access to valuable scholarly resources across various disciplines.

It collaborates with libraries and institutions worldwide through its international partnerships.

The State Library of New South Wales actively engages in international collaborations, exchanging knowledge, resources, and expertise with libraries and cultural institutions around the globe. These partnerships enhance research capabilities and promote cross-cultural understanding.

The library offers a range of services for the visually impaired.

The State Library of New South Wales is committed to accessibility. It provides specialized services and resources for individuals with visual impairments, ensuring that everyone can benefit from the library’s vast collection.


In conclusion, the State Library of New South Wales is a treasure trove of knowledge and historical significance. From its stunning architecture to its vast collection of books, manuscripts, and artworks, this iconic landmark truly offers a unique and enriching experience for visitors. Whether you’re a history buff, a literature lover, or simply intrigued by the cultural heritage of New South Wales, a visit to the State Library is a must.Not only does it serve as a hub for research and learning, but it is also a place that celebrates the diversity and richness of Australian culture through its exhibitions, events, and programs. The State Library of New South Wales is not just a repository of information, but also a vibrant cultural institution that continues to inspire and educate generations to come. So, next time you find yourself in Sydney, make sure to pay a visit to this astonishing landmark and immerse yourself in the wonders it has to offer.


1. What are the operating hours of the State Library of New South Wales?

The State Library of New South Wales is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm. It is closed on Mondays.

2. Is there an admission fee to enter the State Library?

No, entry to the State Library of New South Wales is free for all visitors.

3. Can I borrow books from the State Library?

No, the State Library does not allow borrowing of books. However, you can access their extensive collection for research and reference purposes within the library premises.

4. Are there any guided tours available?

Yes, the State Library offers free guided tours for visitors. These tours provide insights into the library’s history, architecture, and significant collections. It is recommended to check their website for the current tour schedule.

5. Are there any age restrictions at the State Library?

There are no age restrictions at the State Library. People of all ages are welcome to visit and explore the collections and exhibitions.