Due to major building activity at the Library you may hear some intermittent construction noise during your visit. We apologise for the inconvenience and we are grateful for your understanding. Some of our collection is also temporarily unavailable. This means we may not be able to fulfil some requests for deliveries of Library items to the Reading Rooms. At the moment, this includes the Pictures Collections - Hanging Art Works (until September 2024). Please check the catalogue carefully to find out if your selection is impacted. Learn more about these temporary changes.

Special Collections Reading Room

The Special Collections Reading Room on Level 1 is a dedicated space set aside for those readers who are wishing to view and research material from the Library's special collections.  These collections include photographs, artworks, manuscripts, maps, oral history recordings, sheet music, ephemera and rare printed material from both Australia and overseas, including Asian language material. 

Access to all other collection material, including books, journals, magazines, newspapers and microform is made available to readers in the Main Reading Room

Staff of the Special Collections Reading Room can advise you on:

  • Use of special collections for your research.
  • Care and handling requirements for various formats of material.
  • Any special permissions required to access or copy special collections for your research or publication.
  • Use of audio equipment to listen to our Oral History and Folklore collections.

A reference collection curated to support your use of our unique collections is also available. 

To make the most of your research time, read our tips in the Using the Special Collections Reading Room guide. In particular, be aware that: 

  • Special collection material is delivered to the Special Collections Reading Room three times per weekday only: there are no collection deliveries after 5pm on weeknights, Monday-Thursday or on weekends.  Check our collection delivery times before you visit.
  • Items are kept on reserve for 7 days from date of request. Items with special storage conditions are held for 1 day only. 
  • For Special Collection Reading Room opening hours see our opening hours page. The reading room is closed on Sundays

For the security of our special collections, bags cannot be brought into the Special Collections Reading Room. These, as well as coats, umbrellas and other large objects can be stored in our free self-service lockers on Lower Ground 1. 

Food and drink is not allowed, including bottled water.  This is in line with our policy on Food and drink in public areas.  

The Petherick Reading Room is co-located within the Special Collections Reading Room and provides a dedicated space for registered advanced researchers.

For further advice and assistance on using our special collections AskaLibrarian