Sport Collections

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are kindly advised that this website includes images, sounds and names of people who have passed.

All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified. Certain words, terms or descriptions may reflect the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written, but are now considered inappropriate in today's context.

Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available

Visiting the library

The State Library of NSW is Australia’s oldest library, with a history dating back to 1826. The Mitchell Building, one of Sydney’s iconic cultural landmarks, was built in 1910. You can learn more about our history here.

We are the custodians of one of the country’s most significant collections of material relating to life in New South Wales and in Australia more broadly. Our collection cuts across formats, viewpoints and subject matters, in an effort to capture the country’s unique history and culture, and the breadth of experience of those who live here.

When you walk in the doors of the State Library of NSW you join over one million annual visitors following in the footsteps of some of the country’s greatest writers, artists and thinkers. 

Before you visit, there are a few things you should know:

Our spaces

The State Library of NSW is comprised of two buildings:

The Macquarie Street Building
The Mitchell Building
  • Built in 1910 and extended in the 1940s, the Mitchell Library building has been an enduring centre of NSW’s intellectual and cultural life for over a century. The Mitchell Library Reading Room includes the Library’s Special Collections area. The Mitchell Building also houses the Library’s Galleries, with a diverse range of permanent and temporary exhibitions

Using our collections

The State Library of NSW collection includes over 6 million items in a range of different formats and media. This means there are a number of ways of accessing our collections, depending on the type of material you are interested in. Here are some things you should know:

Joining the Library
  • With a State Library of NSW card, you can request collection items, book a study room, and, for NSW residents, access a large collection of online databases. If you are not yet a member, you can join here.
  • The State Library of NSW is a reference library. This means that you may not borrow from our collection. You can request certain items through an inter-library loan. Speak to your public, work or university library for more information.
Requesting items
  • You can request most of our books, as well as many periodicals and other printed material, through the Library catalogue by signing in and requesting. You can do this at the Library, from home, or anywhere with access to the internet.
Collecting your items
  • Onsite material is generally available 30 minutes after a request has been placed and will be held under the reader’s surname at the Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room. Library members with Special Collections cards have the option of viewing their items in the Special Collections area of the Mitchell Library Reading Room.
  • It is important to note that some collection material is held offsite. In usual circumstances offsite items are available after 4 pm on the next business day after a request has been placed. Be sure to check the catalogue record of the item(s) you are interested in, which will indicate whether held at the Library or offsite.
Can’t request online?
  • Not all collection material can be requested through the catalogue. For printed material that can’t be requested online, place your request at a service desk in either reading room. Onsite items requested at the desk are subject to the usual 30-minute waiting time.
  • Original material, such as pictures, manuscript items and objects, cannot be requested through the catalogue, and in some cases requires a supervised viewing. The catalogue records of this material will invite you to complete an Access to Special Collections Request form. Our librarians will then be in touch to facilitate access. 
  • Please ensure any Special Collections request is placed at least five business days before you wish to view the material.
  • To improve access to our collections, the Library has an ongoing digitisation program in place. You can view digitised material through the Library catalogue. 
  • Restricting access to original materials that have been digitised helps to ensure the preservation of our collection. Access to digitised originals is considered on a case-by-case basis, and can be requested through the Access to Special Collections Request form.

Ask a Librarian

Need to know more? Speak to one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff members via the Ask a Librarian service.

Video: Sydney Library is Everyman's University

Sydney Library is Everyman's University

Produced by the National Film Board in 1947 and made available through the National Film and Sound Archive.