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 2001
02 9242 8555
TTY: 02 9242 8575 (hearing impaired people)

  • What’s on
  • Tech Savvy Seniors - Mandarin Classes @ Customs House
    Wednesday 1 March 2017
  • Book now

    This free 6-part series is designed to help older people gain confidence in basic computer and digital skills. Facilitated by leaders from the Ethnic Community Council, you can learn in Mandarin. Join us for the whole series or pick and choose the sessions that best suit your needs.

    Funded by the Telstra Foundation and FACS, get savvy using our library PCs and dive into the digital world.

    Introduction to computers – Wednesday 1 March 2017
    This workshop will walk you first through the basics of what a computer is, what its components are and how it’s operated.

    Introduction to internet part 1 – Wednesday 8 March 2017
    Become familiar with the internet basics of getting online and surfing the web. Get well acquainted so you can go home, sign up for an internet service and hang out on the www’s yourself.

    Introduction to internet part 2 – Wednesday 15 March 2017
    Growing your know-how from Part 1, we’ll look at ways to make web navigation a breeze as well as seek out video and music add-ons. We’ll make sure you know how to keep yourself safe online and get you going with tips for the best sites to view online.

    Introduction to email – Wednesday 22 March
    Keep connected to family and friends with email. We’ll walk you through setting up a free Gmail email account as well as how to send, read and reply to your emails.

    Introduction to social media – Wednesday 29 March
    Get sharp with social media’s famous three: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We’ll take you through a run-down of which social media to use and when.

    Introduction to iPads – Wednesday 5 April
    We’ll walk you through the techy world of the tablet and get you up and running on this handy device.

    Customs House Library
    Wednesdays, 10am to 12pm

    Wednesday 1 March to Wednesday 5 April 2017

    Wednesday 21 December 2016 from 10am to 12pm

  • Stories of art and identity
    Wednesday 1 March 2017
  • Book now

    Join Joyce Maynge as she gets talking with a panel of LGBTI artists as they spill the stories behind their work and shine a light on the Mardi Gras theme of Creating Equality.

    Joyce Maynge

    As the hostess with the mostess, Joyce Maynge facilitates this lively discussion. Known for her many unforgettable and extravagant Mardi Gras floats, short films and flash mobs, Joyce lends her showy wit in giving a voice to the LGBTI community.

    Jiva Parthipan

    Jiva Parthipan is a director, creative producer and arts-cultural worker based in Sydney and working internationally with theatre, dance, performance, film and inter disciplinary art. Recent credits include Dance Africa Dance, Let It Be and Little Baghdad.Past works include Pakiboy, RENT, FIST, and Autobiography of a Terrorist.

    Liam Benson

    As a multi-disciplinary artist, his work blends performance, photography, video and textiles. Breaking down social understanding of gender, race and culture, he overthrows ingrained ideas, symbolism and pop culture by connecting with diverse communities through an ongoing conversation.

    Deborah Kelly

    Deborah is a Sydney-based artist whose works have been shown around Australia, and in the Singapore, Sydney, Thessaloniki, Venice and TarraWarra Biennales.Her epic collaborative collage portrait project No Human Being Is Illegal (in all our glory) is touring Australian regional galleries until 2018 and her collaboration with Tina Fiveash, Hey, Hetero! won the 2001 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras visual art award.

    Georgia Cranko

    Georgia is an innate social agitator, wannabe poet and incidental artist with a sharp wit and passion for challenging the normative social consciousness. Based on her different opinion and the way she comes to all social issues through her disabled embodiment, she often presents at community events such as Queerstories and at Queer Provocations on carving out nourishing and accessible ways forward in these turbulent times.

    Customs House Library
    Wednesday 1 March 2017 from 7pm to 8.30pm
  • Food fights: bananageddon and the fungus tyranny
    Wednesday 8 March 2017
  • Book now

    City of Sydney Library is teaming up with Inspiring Australia to delve into some cutting-edge research. Over three seasons, we’ll be focusing on three big-impact topics: food, obesity and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills. In this first series, Feeding the World, we’ll be focusing on food and exploring the role science plays in contributing innovative solutions to global issues.

    Plant diseases founded by fungi reduce food production by 10-20% worldwide. These fungi routinely poison food productions, jeopardising the livelihood of farmers, especially in the developing world. Now, these plant pathogens have their toxic sights set on some of our favourites such as bananas, coffee and chocolate.

    Every spoonful of soil shows up billions of micro-organisms; some plant-loving and others which distribute disease. Our two scientists will dissect how researchers and plant breeders can put their heads together to establish new crops which embrace disease-provoking organisms. The big picture is that these smart plants will grow faster and more autonomously, without the need for pesticides and fertilisers.

    Dr Zoe-Joy Newby
    After completing an Agriculture Science degree majoring in Phytopathology, Dr. Zoe-Joy Newby started investigating phytoalexin production in plants in response to pathogen infection. Her PhD researched the impacts of Phytophthora Dieback in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, with her field-based research investigating spatial models of the interactions between plant host, the environmental and the pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi. Dr. Newby started working in orchid research in 2013, looking at mycorrhizal interactions, ecology, genetics and germplasm conservation.

    Dr Jonathan Plett
    Dr Plett’s focus on the connection between plants and microbes has led him around the world, working with leading researchers in the field. Dr Plett’s screening tools continue to push the envelope by selecting highly disease-resistant crops. This trial by choice smoothes the way for sustainable agricultural practices.

    Bookings recommended as places are limited.

    Customs House Library
    Wednesday 8 March 2017 from 6pm to 7pm
  • CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap film screening
    Wednesday 8 March 2017
  • Book now

    As part of our celebrations for International Women’s Day, we invite you to get comfy, sit back and take in this important documentary.

    Women make up a tiny 30% of technology workers in Oz and we want to help to close the gap by increasing awareness. With such a poor representation of women in this space, at the heart of this film is the glaring question of ‘why?’

    With blinkered perceptions defining what a coder looks like, girls are being culturally primed to believe that science and technology are a man’s domain. CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, is a doco that delves into the reasons why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) became gendered. Looking into what we as a society have to gain by lifting these limitations, we can see the mutual reward in getting more women and minorities to code.

    Here at the library, we’re prioritising digital technologies and we want to make sure all parts of our neighbourhood come along on the journey with us. This film unmasks the scarcity of American female and minority software engineers and picks apart the causes for this gender gap.

    Suitable for all ages, this free screening runs for 1 hour. Bookings are essential as places are limited.

    Customs House Library is wheelchair friendly with a lift and an accessible toilet.

    Customs House Library
    Wednesday 8 March 2017 from 5.30pm to 6.30pm
  • City of Sydney’s Young Change Agents program: 14-18 year old
    Monday 10 April 2017
  • Book now

    If you see challenges as opportunities, then this entrepreneurial incubator is right up your alley. Create a social start-up by exploring activities like ideation, videography and pitching in these savvy sessions. Team up with other young people as you use critical thinking and communication to champion your teamwork.

    During the free two-and-a-half day workshop, you’ll exercise your brain towards social change. Bring your passion and entrepreneurial eye and apply your vision with a technology focus. You must be able to attend all days of this workshop.

    This will be a fast-paced program where you’ll be teaming up for brainstorming, games, art, drama and videography as you shape a business that makes a difference. When you’ve polished your idea, show off your concept for change in front of a panel of industry leaders in a final pitch session – parents are welcome to attend. Keep your eye on the social change prize as you strive to win best start-up. Create and build a business to empower people and put some wonderful in the world.

    Come as an individual and you’ll be supported to form groups in the program. If you already have your own group, come along as a team – bookings of up to 6 people are available.

    This workshop is facilitated by staff from the organisation: Young Change Agents with assistance from City of Sydney staff.

    • All equipment and materials are provided.
    • Please bring your own snacks, lunch and a waterbottle.
    • Whether you’re coming solo or in a group, make sure you book for this free program as places will fill fast.
    • Parental permission will be required to attend this workshop.
    • All participants must attend all two-and-a-half days for this workshop.
    • To attend this event you must be between 14-18 years old.

    For more information feel free to email us at libraryprograms@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

    Customs House Library
    Monday 10 April 2017 from 9am to 4pm
    Tuesday 11 April 2017 from 9am to 4pm
    Wednesday 12 April 2017 from 9am to 1pm
  • City of Sydney’s Young Change Agents program: 10-13 years
    Tuesday 18 April 2017
  • Book now

    If you see challenges as opportunities, then this entrepreneurial incubator is right up your alley. Create a social start-up by exploring activities like ideation, videography and pitching in these savvy sessions. Team up with other young people as you use critical thinking and communication to champion your teamwork.

    During the free two-and-a-half day workshop, you’ll exercise your brain towards social change. Bring your passion and entrepreneurial eye and apply your vision with a technology focus. You must be able to attend all days of this workshop.

    This will be a fast-paced program where you’ll be teaming up for brainstorming, games, art, drama and videography as you shape a business that makes a difference. When you’ve polished your idea, show off your concept for change in front of a panel of industry leaders in a final pitch session – parents are welcome to attend. Keep your eye on the social change prize as you strive to win best start-up. Create and build a business to empower people and put some wonderful in the world.

    Come as an individual and you’ll be supported to form groups in the program. If you already have your own group, come along as a team – bookings of up to 6 people are available.

    This workshop is facilitated by staff from the organisation Young Change Agents with assistance from City of Sydney staff.

    • All equipment and materials are provided.
    • Please bring your own snacks, lunch and a waterbottle.
    • Whether you’re coming solo or in a group, make sure you book for this free program as places will fill fast.
    • Parental permission will be required to attend this workshop.
    • All participants must attend all two-and-a-half days for this workshop.
    • To attend this event you must be between 10-13 years old.

    For more information feel free to email us at libraryprograms@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

    Customs House Library
    Tuesday 18 April 2017 from 9am to 4pm
    Wednesday 19 April 2017 from 9am to 4pm
    Thursday 20 April 2017 from 9am to 1pm

Last updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2017