We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

Library, archive and children’s art library

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is home to the Edmund and Joanna Capon Research Library, the National Art Archive and the Ashley Dawson-Damer Children’s Art Library.
A wide passageway between rows of bookshelves stacked with books
Children enjoying the Art Gallery of New South Wales Children’s Art Library designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, photo © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter
A large room with seating, tables and bookshelves
A child lies reading a book in a circular nook

We have some of the country’s most outstanding collections of fine art publications, rare books and manuscripts, reflecting the Art Gallery’s holdings and the broader history of visual culture in Australia.

Over 100,000 books and 1400 periodical titles are available on open shelves for browsing. One in every five items is in a language other than English and many more are bilingual.

Our research files on Australian art, artists and organisations comprise over a million items, from early exhibition catalogues and pamphlets to diverse formats documenting contemporary art practice.

A recent addition is the children’s art library, the first of its kind in Australia.

Beautifully designed, these are spaces for both active engagement and exchange and for quiet contemplation and deeper connection – a place to think, to learn, to be inspired, to breathe.

Find us on lower level 3 of the Art Gallery’s original building, now known as the South Building

  • Opening hours

    Library and archive

    Tuesdays–Saturdays 10.30am – 4pm
    Wednesdays until 6.30pm
    Closed Sundays, Mondays and public holidays

    Children’s art library

    Mondays–Saturdays 10.30am – 4pm
    Wednesdays until 6.30pm
    Sundays 11.30am – 4pm
    Closed public holidays

  • Children’s art library

    Colourful, light-filled and welcoming, the children’s art library has ‘cubby houses’ for reading, tables for engaged learning, and a big comfortable lounge for adults to read with kids, and older children to become absorbed in a book.

    This is a place for young people and their families to drop by any time we are open, to relax and enjoy a collection especially for them, including books about art and artists, books by artists, and books about making art.

    Our growing collections include books in languages other than English and books by First Nations authors and illustrators, as well as books for children living with disability or who have access requirements. A hearing loop is active in these spaces.

    There’s also a regular program of engaging events and activities.

    Note: we’re not a lending library, so books and other materials cannot be borrowed.

  • Using the library and archive Including bookings and online enquiries

    Our library is open to all visitors to the Art Gallery. Reference librarians are available to assist with research and answer enquiries. All resources can only be used onsite, as we are not a lending library. The library has a variety of study areas, including a formal reading room, an archive study room and casual seating.

    No booking is required to access our library or its resources.

    To use our archival collections, researchers must request a booking at least 24 hours before visiting, using our archive access and booking form. Booking requests are subject to confirmation.

    If you live outside the Sydney metropolitan area, you can use our online reference service to make an artwork research enquiry or general reference enquiry.

Events in the library, archive and children’s art library