State Library of NSW

Things to do , Exhibitions Sydney Free
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State Library of NSW

The State Library is essentially two libraries in one: the State Reference Library provides access to five million books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, paintings, architectural plans, relics and extensive online content (eg eBooks) and other media stored over five floors below ground; while the 1910 Mitchell Wing (closed Sundays) holds the world’s greatest collection of Australiana, including James Cook’s original journals and the log book of Captain Bligh.

The latter wing has fine bronze bas-relief doors depicting Aboriginal peoples and European explorers, a grand mosaic and terrazzo vestibule, stained-glass windows and extensive amounts of Australian stone and timber. Its Shakespeare Room is a fine example of mock-Tudor style, with a ceiling modelled on Cardinal Wolsey’s closet in Hampton Court and stained glass windows depicting the ‘seven ages of man’.

Head to the Marie Bashir Reading Room for the popular Family History Service, which offers free courses to help people trace their family history. Head to the Mitchell Library Reading Room for the Australiana collection and to read Captain James Cook's original journals.

Throughout the year, the Library's exhibitions program highlights its large and fascinating collection of historic and contemporary paintings, photos, maps, memorabilia, manuscripts and rare books.

They also host world-class international exhibitions, including the popular annual World Press Photo and exhibitions from London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

Besides this, there's a substantial weekly program of public events (including readings, discussion panels and talks) and free film screenings, and regular free guided tours of both libraries.

There’s also a café, free WiFi and a fantastic book shop.

As of January 2017, and throughout summer, the State Library of NSW will open untl 9pm on Wednesdays as part of the Wednesday Night Culture Night initiative.

Venue name: State Library of NSW
Address: Macquarie St
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 9am-8pm; Fri 9am-5 pm; Sat & Sun 10am-5pm
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