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.

Entrance to the Main Reading Room
The entrance to the Main Reading Room at the National Library of Australia.

The Main Reading Room on the Ground Floor is our largest reading room, and may be your first stop at the Library.  It is where visitors can access our general collections of published material, including books, journals and newspapers and microforms, from both Australia and overseas. 

To access and view materials from our special collections, you will need to visit the Special Collections Reading Room.  

What can I do in the Main Reading Room ? 

In the Main Reading Room you may: 

  • ask our friendly staff for advice on how we may support your research, including information on the variety of resources we have online and in print
  • Join the Library
  • browse a selection of new books, journals and Australian daily newspapers
  • print scan and photocopy 
  • access free computers and internet 
  • use the study areas, complete with powerpoints and wifi
  • use adaptive technology and accessible desks 
  • browse the collection of reference materials, including First Australians material, Asian language titles and a large selection of language dictionaries
  • read a selection of children's books 

To help us provide a peaceful environment for research, study and learning, and to maintain the health and safety of our visitors, please read our Code of conduct for readers and visitors

When can I visit ?

To prepare for your visit, please check the Library's opening hours . The reading room is closed on public holidays. 

How do I access the collection ?

If you have a National Library login you can request collection material before you visit.  Collection items are delivered to the Main Reading Room on weekdays, and generally take 45 minutes to arrive. Some material such as overseas journals published before 2005 and many Australian and overseas newspapers, are held at our offsite storage facilities and will take longer to be delivered.  Please note that there are no collection deliveries in evenings or on weekends and that delivery times vary throughout the week. Check delivery times before you visit. 

Items are kept on reserve in the reading room for 7 days from date of request.

You can check on the progress of your request by logging into your account on our online catalogue. 

The National Library is a reference library. This means you can use the collection in the reading room but cannot take it home. 

What can I bring into the reading room ? 

You are welcome to bring handbags or small bags (under 300mm square) into the Main Reading Room.  Large bags (over 300mm square), coats, umbrellas and other large objects can be stored in our free self-service lockers on Lower Ground 1.

Please do not leave personal possessions or bags unattended in the reading room. For the safety of our patrons unattended items may be inspected and removed by authorised officers of the Library.   

Water only in a bottle with a tightly secure lid is permitted, in line with our policy on Food and drink in public areas

For further advice and assistance on using our collections Ask a Librarian.