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
  • What did you say: How accents challenge our hearing
    Wednesday 2 May 2018
  • Book now

    City of Sydney Library, together with experts Western Sydney University, present a series of 3 practical talks for older people. Join discussions about refining non-verbal communication skills, and learn strategies to manage the impact of ageing on brain function and hearing. Find out how to enhance communication in noisy situations, and hear experts outline the latest research findings.

    Variabilities in speech, such as accents, can be challenging. At this second event in the series, Sonya Prasad explores how changes in sensation, understanding and cognition that occur with ageing, make understanding variabilities in speech even more difficult. How can we adapt to these challenges?

    We will also learn about older adulthood and how, as we age, we can get better at recognising emotions like happiness from faces and voices. Simone Simonetti will share with us the effect of aging on this skill and will discuss ways to improve this ability, and, hence, interpersonal communication.

    Sonya Prasad
    Undertaking her PhD at the MARCS Institute, Sonya focuses on how we process variability in speech. This includes perceiving accents and looking at factors that facilitate this understanding.

    Simone Simonetti
    As a PhD candidate at the MARCS Institute, Simone tries to understand the difference in cues that younger and older adults use to discriminate emotion including the face or frequencies for voices. She is also investigating the differences in brain processing of emotion across the age groups.

    The Multisensory Communication research program
    WSU’s MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development investigates how information from our senses contributes to communication. Studying how sensorial information is combined, represented and actioned, they aim to make speech perception more robust.

    This free event is suitable for older people, their carers and relatives. Bookings are recommended.

    Customs House Library
    Wednesday 2 May 2018 from 1pm to 2pm
  • Tech Savvy Seniors @ Customs House
    Wednesday 2 May 2018
  • Book now

    This free series funded by the Telstra Foundation and FACS. The workshops are designed to help older people gain confidence in basic computer and digital skills.

    Book in for 1 or more of the small group sessions below:

    Introduction to computers – 2 May
    This workshop covers what a computer is, its components and how it’s operated. You’ll learn to use a mouse and keyboard and then road test your skills to create your first document.

    Introduction to internet part 1 – 9 May
    Become familiar with how to access and surf the web so you can go home, sign up for an internet service and hang out on the www yourself.

    Introduction to internet part 2 – 16 May
    We’ll look at ways to make web navigation a breeze and seek out video and music add-ons. You’ll leave knowing how to keep yourself safe online and tips for the best sites.

    Introduction to email – 23 May
    Keep connected to family and friends with email. We’ll walk you through setting up a free Gmail email account and how to send, read and reply to your emails.

    Online shopping and banking part 1 – 30 May
    From booking a holiday to buying groceries, we’ll take you through the process of buying something and how to stay safe banking and shopping online.

    Introduction to online shopping and banking part 2 – 6 June
    Following on from part 1, find out how you can save time paying bills online and learn how to browse, buy and sell using websites like eBay and about payment options like PayPal.

    Introduction to social media – 13 June
    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.

    Customs House Library
    Wednesdays, 10.30am to 12.30pm

    Wednesday 2 May to Wednesday 13 June 2018

  • What did you say: The impact of background noise on hearing
    Wednesday 6 June 2018
  • Book now

    City of Sydney Library, together with experts from Western Sydney University, present a series of 3 practical talks for older people. Join discussions about refining non-verbal communication skills, and learn strategies to manage the impact of ageing on brain function and hearing. Find out how to enhance communication in noisy situations, and hear experts outline latest research findings.

    At this second event in the series, Michael Spikmans introduces Western Sydney University’s MARCS Institute. Highlighting the importance of non-verbal communication, he explores facial expressions, vocal affect and eye-gaze behaviour, ending with a live demonstration of the latest facial recognition software.

    Do you find it hard to hear conversations in restaurants or other noisy places? Changes in hearing sensitivity and cognition make understanding speech with background noise challenging. Julie Beadle will explain why it’s hard and what can help, including 2 experiments demonstrating how visual cues and other communication strategies can help.

    Michael Spikmans
    Holding a Bachelor of ICT and a Master of Science in Communication and Information Sciences, Michael is now a PhD candidate at the MARCS Institute. Here, he investigates whether non-verbal signals are tell-tale signs of the mental states associated with misunderstanding.

    Julie Beadle
    A PhD candidate at the MARCS Institute, Julie collaborates with the Australian Hearing Co-operative Research Centre. Together they investigate how attention and memory are used in understanding speech in challenging listening situations.

    The Multisensory Communication research program
    The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development investigates how information from our senses contributes to communication. Studying how sensorial information is combined, represented and actioned, they aim to make speech perception more robust.

    This free event is suitable for older people, their carers and relatives. Bookings are recommended.

    Customs House Library
    Wednesday 6 June 2018 from 1pm to 2pm
  • 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

Last updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2018