A guide for booklovers
Sydney has everything to cater to a diverse range of visitors. There is something for art lovers, foodies and adventure aficionados and bibliophiles alike, with plenty to see and do without going too far from their accommodation in Sydney. For book lovers, this article will offer some travel tips to tell where the best libraries and bookshops are.
5 Excellent Libraries in Sydney for bookworms
Sydney boasts of five libraries that anyone who loves literature should not miss (click in each one to find out more):
- Woollahra Library Double Bay
- Darling Square Library
- Green Square Library
- State Library of New South Wales
- Customs House Library
Opened in 2016, the Woollahra Library in Double Bay is just over the road from excellent Sydney accommodation option, The Savoy Hotel, Double Bay, and it offers more than you might expect. This three-layer structure is an architectural wonder and will delight both the bibliophile and lover of arts. It was designed to attract a broad range of visitors and offers a variety of spaces, activities, programs and resources. It now functions as a study centre, play area, workspace, information centre and record keeper.
The first level was designed to depict a garden. Columns that resemble trees, grass-green rugs and suspended birds made of paper dot the area where children can read, play and do arts and crafts. The wide staircase also serves as a seating area as well as a theatrette for movies and events.
This leads to the second level, where books, magazines, DVDs and newspapers are stacked like one would see in a conventional library. However, most people would probably be surprised to find a tech room where you can use a computer or PlayStation.
The third Level is where students, freelancers and other workers usually settle in, because of its subdued lighting and quieter atmosphere. They can choose to stay at tables with comfortable chairs, booths or in meeting rooms. Visitors are allowed to bring food and drink, encouraging them to stay awhile. A local history section can be found on this level, providing easy access to any document or record one wishes to see.
Opened in late 2019, Darling Square Library is probably the most beautiful public library in Sydney. Located at The Exchange, a magnificent architectural design featuring 20km of irregular wooden threads wrapped around the entire structure.
Darling Square Library was made to replace Haymarket library and is four times bigger than its predecessor. A true bibliophile’s retreat, it houses a collection of more than 30,000 items, a children’s play area, makerspace and meeting rooms. The library offers free Wi-Fi, public computers and quiet reading nooks. A restaurant area on the ground level caters to those who are in need of a coffee break or want to grab something to eat.
Set amongst a central tourism hub, the CBD, Sydney accommodation and universities, Darling Square Library caters to diverse ages, occupations and backgrounds. It is also near Sydney’s waterfront, providing a scenic view each time a person looks outside the windows.
A 3,000 square metre public library, Green Square Library is located at the heart of Australia’s largest urban renewal area, just 11 minutes’ drive from The Savoy Hotel, Double Bay. Set to become home to 60,000 new residents, Green Square has earned a 5-star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.
Part of this library is underground and there is also a green garden where bookworms can sit in to read and study. There are brightly coloured meeting rooms, a double height reading room, a computer lab, a music room for hire, a children’s area, and an outdoor amphitheatre for programs and events. All of these make Green Square Library beneficial to people from different age groups and backgrounds.
Those who come to Sydney looking for a library should not miss the State Library of New South Wales. This, the oldest library in Australia, contains old manuscripts and materials that can’t be found anywhere else. In total, this library houses more than 6 million books.
This is where visitors can find the Mitchel Library Reading Room. Book lovers will have a great time reading in this room with its walls lined in beautiful old wooden bookcases. In contrast, the Bashir Reading Room features colourful desks and natural lighting. Guests are allowed to bring food and water and can use the free Wi-Fi.
Set within one of Sydney’s magnificent historical landmarks, the Customs House Library features traditional and contemporary designs. There is an imposing timber-lined reading room on the second floor reminiscent of days gone by, contrasted by public-access computers and free Wi-Fi remind visitors of the present time.
You can grab something from the library’s collection of more than 50,000 items. Local and international newspapers are also available, as well as photocopying, printing and scanning facilities. In addition, visiting and local bibliophiles can attend regular exhibitions and cultural events all year round.
The Customs House Library is open seven days a week, except during public holidays. This grand Georgian sandstone building becomes more impressive when lit up at night. Best of all, it can be easily reached from any accommodation in Sydney.
Sydney’s Top 3 Bookshops to Visit
Sydney has plenty of amazing bookshops that indulge those who not only want to read books but buy them as well. Packed with literary goodness, these bookshops sometimes come with cunning names. Here are the top three bookshops that one cannot simply miss when visiting Sydney (again, click on each one to find out more):
- Grand Days
- Better Read Than Dead
Who would want to miss Sydney’s most-loved independent bookshop? For more than 40 years, Gleebooks has attracted different types of patrons – from bona fide book lovers to the certified Instagrammer. Just 10 minutes’ drive from The Savoy in Double Bay, the shop’s first floor in Glebe accommodates 200 people and is used exclusively for book signings, author talks and literary discussions.
As Sydney’s most bohemian bookshop, Grand Days also sells vintage clothing, jewellery, wine glasses, handbags and many more. The shop is even more famous for its Grand Nights, a nightly feature that includes music performances, book readings and film screenings.
Another of Sydney’s favourite independent bookshops, Better Read Than Dead, is brimming with books in every genre. A mezzanine floor with a partial glass ceiling that lets natural light in is the perfect spot in this shop for a quick and quiet read. They have several ongoing book clubs, regularly hold author events, and organise international literary tours.
Book Sydney Accommodation at the Heart of the City
There is no reason why you can’t have the best value Sydney accommodation. The Savoy Hotel has 40 rooms and offers a personalised accommodation service. We are located just 4.5km from the city centre and are accessible via buses, taxis and harbour ferries.