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.


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
  • 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
  • Citizen Science: Feather Map - Customs House
    Saturday 25 May 2019
  • Book now

    The Feather Map of Australia was a national citizen science project which ran from 2016 to 2018. As part of the project, people were asked to collect waterbird feathers from their local wetlands. The feathers collected were analysed to find out which wetlands waterbirds use, how they use them and provide insight into wetland health.

    Australian wetlands are threatened by reduced river flows, flooding, drought, climate change and changes in land use. Wetlands are critical habitats for Australia’s waterbirds, providing places for breeding, nesting, feeding and roosting.

    This app allowed the community to engage in scientific and environmental research to help preserve these precious environments.

    The critical information collected from the project could improve wetland protection and water management, as well as deliver understanding around the ecology and life cycles of waterbirds and waterbird populations.

    This 1-hour event includes background on the Feather Map of Australia project and time for Q&A.

    Dr Kate Brandis
    As leader of the Feather Map of Australia project, Kate is an expert in wetland and waterbirds, as well as the management of water and environmental flows. She also specialises in the analysis of biological samples to address ecological challenges and is a research fellow at the Centre for Ecosystem Science, UNSW.

    Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA)
    Formed in 2014, this member-based community supports, informs and develops citizen science through sharing knowledge, collaboration, capacity building and advocacy.

    This is a free event. Bookings are recommended as places are limited.

    Book tickets to 25 May, 2pm at Customs House Library
    Book tickets to 30 May, 6pm at Ultimo Library

    Customs House Library
    Saturday 25 May 2019 from 2pm to 3pm
  • Tech Savvy Seniors @ Customs House
    Wednesday 5 June 2019
  • Book now

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

    Book in for the small group sessions below:

    Introduction to computers
    This workshop covers what a computer is, it’s 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
    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’s yourself.

    Introduction to internet part 2
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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, 11am to 1pm

    Wednesday 5 June to Wednesday 24 July 2019

  • Macular disease awareness
    Wednesday 5 June 2019
  • Book now

    Did you know that macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Australia? 1 in 7 people over 50 years of age have some form or sign of the disease.

    Over 3 sessions, Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) will provide information about vision loss and macular disease. Find out the risks, how to help prevent them and get , as well as identify risks and share nutritional advice.

    Wednesday 10 April, 11am-1pm: Macular degeneration
    Find out about macular function and signs and symptoms of macular disease and how you can prevent its progression. Learn how to interpret the statistic. and get nutritional and lifestyle advice.

    Wednesday 8 May, 11am-1pm: Diabetic eye disease
    1 in 3 people with diabetes over 50 years of age have some form of diabetic eye disease. Find out what the statistic means, the link between diabetes and eye disease and the positive affect of lifestyle changes on diabetes.

    Wednesday 5 June, 11am-1pm: Macular disease research
    Get updates on the latest research and learn how to interpret the findings. Also find out how you can sign up to participate in clinical trials.

    Meet the facilitators

    Dilini Manthilaka
    As an MDFA education officer, Dilini provides non-clinical support to patients, family members and carers. She draws from her experience working with volunteers at the Cancer Council NSW.

    Natasha Knopf
    As an MDFA education officer, Natasha assists clients via the helpline and presents at education sessions Australia-wide. She’s passionate about promoting good eye health.

    Colette Kinsella
    As MDFA’s national partnership manager, Colette helps via the helpline and those presenting to eye healthcare professionals. She draws from her nursing background and industry experience.

    Booking are recommended for this free series as places are limited.

    Customs House Library
    Wednesday 10 April 2019 from 11am to 1pm
    Wednesday 8 May 2019 from 11am to 1pm
    Wednesday 5 June 2019 from 11am to 1pm

Join the library

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