Libraries are truly magical places. As a kid, one of my favourite activities was trooping off to the local library every week with my dad to borrow a stack of Agatha Christie’s. As an adult, discovering cosy reading nooks around the city has become an equally big interest. Thankfully, Sydney provides ample opportunity to escape into a world of books and away from the noise of the city. Whether you’re after a modern and snazzy ambience or something more classic and old-world, here are 9 of the finest libraries in Sydney that will make any bookworm weak in the knees.
1. State Library of New South Wales
The oldest library in Australia and perhaps one of the finest in the world, the State Library of NSW is a brilliant refuge in the heart of the city. On site you can get your hands on age-old materials and manuscripts, free wifi, a super cool cafe and walls upon walls filled with books.
2. Woollahra Library Double Bay
The Woollahra Library has a super unique and fresh feel to it. Filled with real indoor plants and three levels of lush reading spaces perfect for post-pandemic times. As soon as you enter the library, you’re met with a huge vertical garden and hanging plants cascading from above. It’s a true sight for sore eyes and very convenient given that it houses a play area, study centre and a work space.
3. Green Square Library
The Green Square Library has become quite the Instagram sensation thanks to THAT wall. But what you might not know is that the library is both award winning and underground. With it’s glass wall exterior you can see a sprawling view of the sky as you study or work. And on the inside, you have everything from a green garden to an uber cool café to an amphitheatre. Talk about a complete package.
4. Surry Hills Library
The Surry Hills Library is a fine example of modern architecture and has rightfully won a number of accolades over the years. I mean, who doesn’t love a giant glass wall? Spanning over two floors with plenty of light and a comfortable, modern vibe, it’s the ideal library to retreat to for some work or study.
5. Darling Square Library
Another piece of fascinating architecture akin to a bird’s nest, the Darling Square Library is a thriving hub of innovation and learning. Spanning two floors of the Exchange Building, the library houses a collection of over 30,000 books along with many study spaces, a dedicated children’s area and meeting rooms. The swanky library also comes with free Wifi and public use computers. Win-win.
6. Marrickville Library
When it comes to libraries in Sydney, Marrickville packs quite a punch. Combining a quaint, traditional charm with a contemporary design, the library comes with a landscaped garden and endless coffee thanks to the Double Roasters café. Grab your favourite new book and enjoy this quiet space in the suburb of Marrickville.
7. Customs House Library
Why would you want to work from home when you could work from a heritage listed building? Often counted as one of the finest libraries in Sydney, the Customs House Library is the perfect place to get lost into with a book in hand. At the Grand Reading Room, you’ll find shelves stacked with books and harbour views aplenty.
8. Paddington Library
Part of the Woollahra Council, the old Paddington Town Hall is now a library, and if you’re in the area, be sure to pop in for a visit. The library comes with cosy little nooks and spacious areas to peruse the books. Located in the middle of the business strip on Oxford Street, the Paddington Library allows visitors a moment of respite behind it’s distinctive Victorian building.
9. Parramatta Square Library
The Parramatta Square Library is a new fixture on Parramatta Square tentatively set to open it’s doors this April. And from what we see, it promises to be the ideal place for bookworms in Sydney. With all the futuristic vibes, the state of the art library comes from French firm Manuelle Gautrand Architecture and Australian firms DesignInc and Lacoste + Stevenson. The library is set to be a hub for creative spaces complete with cafes, an extensive book collection, digital resources and exhibition areas.