Customs House Library

Customs House Library

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Harbourside heritage

Located in one of Sydney's finest historical landmarks, the Customs House Library spans 3 levels and highlights the building's contemporary and traditional design features. It houses a collection of more than 50,000 items and is open 7 days a week.

To become a member complete an online application or fill in a form when you next visit. It is free to join if you are a NSW resident.

You can download accessibility information for Customs House Library.

Opening hours

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

Features

  • Relaxing lounges on the ground and first floors invite you to sit down and absorb the building's unique atmosphere.
  • Beautiful and quiet grand reading room on the second floor.
  • Large selection of local and international newspapers and magazines.
  • Free wireless internet.
  • Public access computers.
  • Scanning, printing and photocopying facilities.
  • Access to many high quality databases.
  • Regular exhibitions and cultural events.
  • Collections in Japanese and Korean.

Loans, returns and renewals

You'll find library catalogue computers on the ground, first and second floors. Loans desks are located on levels 1 and 2. You can borrow up to 30 items for up to 3 weeks.

Returns can be made up until 11.30pm on the ground floor.

Renewals are available online (with your library card number) or you can send an email to library@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au. You can also telephone or drop in to the branch.

Contacts

Customs House Library
31 Alfred Street
Circular Quay NSW 2000
02 9242 8555
TTY: 02 9242 8575 (hearing impaired people)

  • What’s on
  • Stella Schools: Girls Write Up
    Monday 25 June 2018
  • Book now

    Part of the Stella Schools program, this all-day festival of writing is for any teenager who has felt limited by gender. Understand how language can be used to liberate and empower.

    The innovative program of talks, interactive panels and practical workshops explore the relationships between language, gender and power. The sessions also explore the effects of unconscious bias on our sense of self. The festival elevates voices and stories that have historically been devalued or marginalised. All participants have the opportunity to discover their own creative voice, gaining skills and the confidence to use it.

    Creative thinkers and emerging leaders will share how they use writing to define their identities and shape the world around them.

    The 2018 line-up so far includes Young Adult (YA) author Erin Gough, Winnie Dunn and Phoebe Grainer from Sweatshop, a literacy movement based in western Sydney and BuzzFeed editor and YA author Jenna Guillaume.

    Suitable for all teens. The same program will run on both days. Bookings essential.

    Customs House Library
    Monday 25 June 2018 from 8.30am to 3.30pm
    Tuesday 26 June 2018 from 8.30am to 3.30pm
  • Late Night Library: Moreblessing Maturure and her mum
    Thursday 19 July 2018
  • Book now

    This is the second event of a 3-part series presented with Carnival of the Bold. Join an intimate and entertaining conversation between theatremaker Moreblessing Maturure and her mother Sibusisiwe Maturure, recounting her pursuit of a creative career.

    Moreblessing Maturure

    Moreblessing is a Zimbabwean/Australian stage and screen actor, with a wealth of experience in writing, devising, directing and producing. As a writer, she crosses from the poetic, dramatic and analytical, developing her work with Playwriting Australia, ATYP, and Sydney Theatre Company’s Emerging Writers Group. Moreblessing has also worked with Information and Cultural Exchange Centre to develop screen projects. She is the founding Creative Director of FOLK Magazine, a platform dedicated to showcasing artists of colour and their work.

    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, with many parents 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 mum 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?

    Other events in the series:

    Benjamin Law and his mum
    Frida Deguise and her mum

    Customs House Library
    Thursday 19 July 2018 from 8pm to 9pm
  • Late Night Library: Frida Deguise and her mum
    Thursday 23 August 2018
  • Book now

    This is the last event of a 3-part series presented with Carnival of the Bold. Join an intimate and entertaining conversation between comedian Frida Deguise and her mother Kawkab Dakiz, recounting 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 mum 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?

    Other events in the series:

    Benjamin Law and his mum
    Moreblessing Maturure and her mum

    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

Last updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2018