Customs House Library

Something for everyone

The Customs House Library is located in the heart of vibrant Circular Quay – the major hub for Sydney’s city workers, visitors and international tourists. Custom House is a dynamic and exciting public space that includes a grand atrium, helix staircase, exhibition spaces, restaurants and bars. 

Customs House is one of Sydney's finest historical buildings, yet it hosts one of the most stylised contemporary libraries in Sydney. It has bold, modern furnishings as well as traditional library spaces, spanning over 3 levels. Features include a beautiful and quiet Grand Reading Room, comfy lounges on the ground floor and the largest range of local and international newspapers and magazines in any Australian public library.

The library is a great place to relax, meet friends, read or research, and it has free internet access via library computers and free wifi. It is open 7 days a week.

31 Alfred Street
Circular Quay NSW 2000

02 9242 8555
TTY: 02 9242 8575

Opening hours

  • Monday to Friday: 10am–7pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 11am–4pm
  • Closed on public holidays.

Accessibility

Loans, renewals and returns

  • You can borrow as many as 30 items for as long as 3 weeks.
  • You can renew items online (with your library card number) or you can send an email to library@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.
  • You can also call us or visit the branch.

Community languages

  • Japanese books
  • Korean books
  • Chinese newspapers
  • Fijian newspapers
  • French newspapers
  • German newspapers
  • Italian newspapers
  • Japanese newspapers
  • Korean newspapers
  • Spanish newspapers
  • Chinese magazines
  • Italian magazines
  • Japanese DVDs and CDs
  • Korean DVDs and CDs
  • What’s on
  • Tech Savvy Seniors @ Customs House Library
    Wednesday 15 August 2018
  • Book now

    This free series is designed to help older people gain confidence in basic computer and digital skills. From searching to surfing, they’ll discover how to browse the web, use an iPad, set up an email address and reconnect with friends on social media.

    Older people can get savvy using our library PCs and dive into the digital world.

    Introduction to computers – 8 August
    Introduction to internet – Beginners – 15 August
    Introduction to email – Beginners – 22 August
    Introduction to the Internet – Intermediate – 29 August
    Introduction to email – Intermediate – 5 September
    Introduction to online shopping – 12 September
    Introduction to online banking – 19 September
    Introduction to social media – 26 September
    Introduction to iPads – 3 October

    Sessions are free, run for 2 hours and cater for 8 people. Bookings are essential as there are loads of keen learners.

    Funded by the Telstra Foundation and FACS.

    Customs House Library
    Wednesdays, 10.30am to 12.30pm

    Wednesday 8 August to Wednesday 3 October 2018

  • Late Night Library: Frida Deguise and her dad
    Thursday 23 August 2018
  • Book now

    Missed out on a ticket? Come along and join our walk-up queue. We open all empty seats 5 minutes before the event starts. Hope to see you there!

    Join an intimate and entertaining conversation between comedian Frida Deguise and her father Mohammed Daguize. They’ll recount her journey in a pursuit of creative career.

    Frida Deguise

    Dubbed Australia’s only female, Islamic comic wearing a hijab, Frida is a mother of 4, Lebanese and Muslim and totally a wog bogan, also known as wogan. She wears a Metallica shirt and makes fun of hiding explosives in her hijab – just your average Muslim girl next door. She has been described as a comedian who is “fighting the most serious topics in the world with laughter.”

    About the series

    Every parent wants the best for their child, often placing high expectations on their future plans. It’s not uncommon for parents to discourage their kids from exploring their artistic side, instead encouraging them to pick ‘safer’ career options like medicine, law or business. Creative practices are often seen as just a hobby.

    These attitudes can be more prevalent in families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Many parents are concerned about steady employment. While the challenges of working in the creative industries are well known, many artists have excelled.

    In this engaging series, we meet 3 of these artists and explore their journeys. Sitting down with their parents for a chat, they’ll be sharing their ups and downs, and the role that their family and culture has played.

    How were their aspirations received and did they need to convince their parents to support their choice? How did they overcome any discouragement? Do they have any words of advice for aspiring artists or parents from diverse backgrounds?

    Customs House Library
    Thursday 23 August 2018 from 8pm to 9pm
  • National Young Writers Festival launch
    Friday 31 August 2018
  • Book now

    Each year, National Young Writers Festival (NYWF) brings together Australia’s most innovative young writers. Working in new and traditional forms, their writing varies from zines, comics, blogging, screenwriting, and poetry to spoken word, hip hop music, journalism, autobiography, comedy, songwriting and prose. The festival presents writing in its broadest sense through panels, discussions, workshops, launches, performances, readings, installations, and more.

    NYWF gives young writers a place to present their work, share ideas, to learn about the industry meet with like-minded people.

    Find out what’s happening at the festival and enjoy live readings and performances from Sweatshop writers Winnie Dunn, Monikka Eliah and Shirley Le.

    The festival runs from 27 to 30 September 2018.

    Bookings are recommended. Suitable for ages 16 years and over.

    Customs House Library
    Friday 31 August 2018 from 7.30pm to 9pm
  • Unstick how you sit
    Thursday 20 September 2018
  • Book now

    Do you sit for prolonged periods and feel stiff at the end of the day? Join our interactive sessions to explore the Feldenkrais Method, a guided practice for movement habits.

    Each session introduces the Feldenkrais Method. Then, a practitioner will share their area of expertise in an interactive format, followed by a Q&A.

    Support your spine, Thursday 20 September

    Healthy hips and how to turn, Thursday 4 October

    From your head to your body, Thursday 18 October

    Shift tension from your shoulder blades, Thursday 1 November

    Relaxing your hands to focus your thoughts, Thursday 15 November

    Reinventing the chair for self-care, Thursday 29 November

    This series has been initiated by Moving in Tune. The Feldenkrais practice is run by Shona Lee, who is also a remedial massage therapist devoted to teaching balance and coordination and better distribution of movement throughout the whole body.

    The information provided in this workshop series is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. It has neither been intended, nor should be construed as, professional medical advice.

    This event will be Auslan interpreted.

    Customs House Library
    Fortnightly on Thursdays, 1pm to 2pm

    Thursday 20 September to Thursday 29 November 2018

Join the library

Membership is free for NSW residents. Complete the online application form and enjoy borrowing up to 30 items for 3 weeks.

Last updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2018