100 reasons to visit State Library of Queensland

If for whatever reason everybody in Queensland woke up tomorrow with complete memory loss, State Library would be our single greatest resource for remembering who we are, where we came from, and where we’re heading.

As such, since 1896 it has been Queensland’s most important building.

But even if that doesn’t happen, here are 100 other reasons to visit State Library of Queensland (in no particular order).

State Library of Queensland. Photo by Jon Linkins.
State Library of Queensland. Photo by Jon Linkins.

1. To charge your phone

The Infozone on the ground floor has free-to-use phone charging lockers. Explore our exhibitions and come back to a charged phone.

2. To visit the Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery

This is an exhibition space that showcases the diversity and depth of State Library’s Heritage Collections.

3. To work on a group project

There are a number of spaces and facilities around State Library that are designed for group work and discussion. Meeting rooms, whiteboards, or even just a space where you can talk and work with others are available for your use.

4. To study in silence

The silent study area on level 4 is your favourite area if you need to concentrate hard. Not suitable for group study.

5. To use PressReader 

PressReader is a freemium app that provides access to major newspapers and magazines around the world. However — our library is a hotspot — which means you can download everything you want without being charged if it’s via our wifi to read later at your leisure at home.

6. To learn design and fashion

A carefully curated collection of books and magazines located in the design lounge on level 2. The collection is organised into five key categories: Public Places, Better Living, Communication, Design Thinking and Fashion.

7. To ask our staff a question 

Not sure about something in our catalogue or how to use some of our facility? Our staff want to help you use the resources you need.

8. To see the Red Box

Unique river and city views from a glassed-in deck. Used for readings, performances and weddings and is a great space to study. Available for hire.

9. To learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures

Explore a selection of significant historical collections, photographs and oral histories celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history in Queensland.

10. To visit the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame

Located within the John Oxley Library, this display recognises those who have made a significant contribution to Queensland through their business achievements. An initiative of the QUT Business School, State Library of Queensland and Queensland Library Foundation.

11. To learn from the best

Our Talking Ideas series of live events feature the world’s best authors, thinkers and commentators.

12. To access law databases

Gain access to Australian legal resources including Carters Criminal Law of Queensland, Halsbury’s Laws of Australia, Building Regulation Australia and Practical Guidance series.

13. To get your book signed

Purchase a book and get it signed at one of our many author events.

14. To use the River Decks

Purchase a book and get it signed at one of our many author events.Enjoy a spectacular view of the Brisbane River while you enjoy your lunch, have a coffee or put your feet up with a good book.

15. To do some printing 

Use your free membership card to operate one of the many printer/scanner machines in the library.

16. To practice piano 

We have a piano room with a genuine bona fide piano in it, available for you to book out!

17. To learn about the items in our heritage collection

The Marica Sourris and James C Sourris AM White Gloves Room and the Heritage Collections Learning Room are spaces for groups to explore State Library’s Heritage Collections in workshops, talks and meetings.

18. To learn employable skills

A State Library membership gets you free access to Lynda.com — an elearning subscription service that includes over 5,500 courses and over 136,000 video tutorials.

19. To browse our books

Our information collection actually consists of resources in all subjects. We have books, magazines, videos, art books, and audio collections freely available for you to engage with.

20. To access a Justice of the Peace

There are several Justices of the Peace who work at the State Library of Queensland. Ask at reception or call ahead to book a time.

21. To draw inspiration from our Design Libraries

The Asia Pacific Design Library is a unique hub where you can access publications, lectures, exhibitions, research, and more.

22. To visit kuril dhagun

A place for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to meet, and for everyone to learn about unique Queensland Indigenous cultures, through exhibitions, events and digital programming.

23. To do some scanning

You can scan documents for free here!

24. To access government publications

Read Parliamentary Papers or the debates of the Legislative Assembly and other government releases.

25. To take your health into your own hands

We have a big selection of books and resources on health, fitness, and psychology.

26. To take something home

We’re a library! If you are a Queensland resident with a free library membership you can borrow books, music scores, paintings, and other surprising things.

27. To learn Hendrix

Our collection of sheet music covers jazz, pop, rock, rap, blues, country, folk, ‘golden oldies’, Broadway, show, vaudeville, music hall, songs from musicals, songs from films and community songs. All songs in our popular songbooks catalogue are searchable by title online.

28. To explore our exhibitions 

We have a number of exhibition spaces, and a number of exhibitions on at any one time.

29. To find an old newspaper article

State Library of Queensland’s newspaper collection includes online, microfilm and paper editions of Queensland, interstate, national, and international newspapers.

30. To use our meeting rooms 

We have community meeting rooms with Brisbane River views, available for free bookings.

31. Access JSTOR on site

JSTOR is a highly selective digital library of academic content in many formats and disciplines. The collections include top peer-reviewed scholarly journals as well as respected literary journals, academic monographs, research reports from trusted institutes, and primary sources.

32. To borrow staples, pens, pencils

…or spare paper, or some tape, or a staple remover, or eraser — for all your one-off stationery needs, we can usually help you out. If instead you want some stationery to call your very own, including keep-cups, you can visit our Library Shop!

33. To study in the Poinciana Lounge 

An open space overlooking the Brisbane River, perfect for solo study. Available for hire.

34. To find Queensland writers and their works

Your state library is a legal deposit library, which means that we collect works published in Queensland and by Queenslanders.

35. To learn about the First World War 

Over 57,000 Queensland men and women served in the First World War 1914-1918. State Library of Queensland houses many collections relating to the experience of Queenslanders during the Great War.

36. To have lunch on the Maiwar Green

Come make use of the outdoor public space located between the Gallery of Modern Art and the State Library of Queensland.

37. To entertain children 

Children from birth to 8 years (and their folks) are invited to come down to The Corner and play their way through our interactive environment. Art making, facilitated play, sharing stories and creative conversations, children can interact with artists and each other to creatively engage wherever their interests take them!

38. To learn about Queensland people, places and events.

The John Oxley Library will give you resources on people who have lived, worked, and loved in Queensland.

39. To book a boardroom meeting

The State Library of Queensland Boardroom — with views across the Queensland Cultural Centre and South Bank Parklands — is available for hire.

40. To visit the Talking Circle

This space has a significant cultural history and features an oval firepit, which can be hired for presentations or storytelling.

41. To find the answer to a question

Our reference librarians are responsible for providing helpful information in response to questions posed by users of the library.

42. To meet State Librarian Vicki McDonald

Our State Librarian and Chief Executive Officer has worked in rural and metropolitan libraries, and library experience at all levels. She’s a strong advocate for the value of libraries and the continual development of new services and skills, and gives quality recommendations on good Scandinavian crime fiction.

43. To do some quiet study

Find a quiet space for research; use a computer; print, copy or scan; browse collections, or view a film.

44. To get music scores

We have the complete works of important composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, as well as works of lesser-known composers. We collect classical, jazz, pop, rock and folk music. Scores also include large sets, with performing parts for concert bands, stage bands, full orchestras, string orchestras and multiple copies for choirs.

45. To use a computer

We have free computers for everybody to come and use.

46. To become a master chef

We have a wide range of cook books for fun, and business/start-up resources for those starting a restaurant or similar business for profit.

47. To host or attend an event in Auditorium 1

Auditorium 1 is our largest meeting space and home to many free talks and events. It seats 264 people, and is available for hire.

48. To stream movies on Kanopy.com

Kanopy is an on-demand streaming video platform for public libraries and universities that offers viewers a large collection of award-winning films and documentaries, which you can access for free with your membership.

49. To look up estate maps

State Library has an extensive collection of Queensland estate maps.

50. To use the bathrooms

We have several regularly attended to bathrooms available for the public.

51. To read writing on writing

State Library of Queensland’s collection contains literary criticism, analysis and reviews of international and Australian authors. You can find commentary about literature of all types, from different countries and time periods.

52. To attend a workshop

Take one of the various workshops hosted at the State Library of Queensland.

53. To learn how to preserve your photos or documents.

State Library of Queensland offers free conservation clinics several times a year run by our in-house conservators (a team of experts who have very suspiciously not seemed to have aged at all over the past 20 years).

54. To use an office 

Our Business Studio is a space for business-driven projects (especially entry level startups and entrepreneurs), and features specialised resources, bookable group work spaces and heaps of places to plug in your laptop.

55. To gain legal resources

Get access to Practical Guidance titles, including checklists and forms.

56. To donate to State Library

By donating to the Queensland Library Foundation you help State Library go above and beyond base funding to provide services to the community. Donors are invited to a range of behind the scenes events and experiences to help them appreciate the work of State Library and the impact of their donation. All donations of more than $2 are tax deductible and every dollar goes towards our projects. Purchases made through the Library Shop also directly help State Library of Queensland.

57. To learn how to rescue your damaged books

Queensland is prone to humid and stormy weather. Cyclones and floods are becoming increasingly common in the summer months. Our conservation experts have gathered together the most effective methods to ensure the long-term preservation of your precious family objects: books, diaries, pictures, and photographs.

58. To see our collection of treasures in person

State Library houses a number of unique items and collections representing different aspects of Queensland’s social history and contemporary stories.

59. To use Queensland’s best free wifi

It’s fast, it’s free. You don’t even have to go to a page and click “accept” or anything.

60. To read a newspaper

Find and read today’s Queensland newspapers and papers from capital cities around the country.

61. To hear some new music

All major genres and periods of music are represented in our sound recordings collection. These include early music, popular, classical, romantic, modern, musicals, jazz, blues, rock, world music and spoken word.

62. To put your bags down for a bit

We have a free cloakroom for visitors. You can drop your bags and backpacks off with us while you enjoy the space.

63. To learn the language of the area

We support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the revival, documentation and preservation of traditional languages. Additionally, content such as word lists and other resources help to raise awareness and promote Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

64. To gain access to family history tools like Ancestry.com

Free access to Ancestry.com (and other services) if you are physically at the library.

65. Access ProQuest on site

ProQuest Central is the largest single periodical resource available, bringing together complete databases across all major subject areas, including Business, Health and Medical, Language and Literature, Social Sciences, Education, Science and Technology, as well as core titles in the Performing and Visual Arts, History, Religion, Philosophy, and includes thousands of full-text newspapers from around the world.

66. To visit the The Australian Library of Art 

We document the fine arts in Australia including the arts and crafts of the book.

67. To see what others are viewing

There is a large interactive screen in Reception that lets you see what items and articles people are currently using from our library (via Unstacked: http://unstacked.slq.qld.gov.au/).

68. To discover your family history

Come use our family history resources and collections (Including Tindale Genealogical collection and Margaret Lawrie Collection), and research guides to assist you in your search.

69. To pick up something from The Library Shop

Literally Australia’s best State Library of Queensland shop. Quirky, intelligent, joy-sparking books and gifts — and your purchases directly help State Library.

70. To get membership

We are the only State Library of Queensland on the planet and you have an opportunity to become a member for free even if you aren’t a Queensland resident.

71. To use the reference collection

The reference collection can’t be borrowed, but if you want to use our reference books and encyclopedias for your research we can help you out.

72. To grab a drink

Free water fountains are available onsite, while the Library Cafe and Coffee Stop at The Edge does coffees and drinks.

73. To see our “History and Art of the Book” Collection

Rare and fine books — includes works illustrating the development of English colour printing during the 19th century, a representative collection of English and American private presses, and showcases examples of fine book production and designer bookbindings.

74. To donate to our collection

You are welcome to donate material that you believe passes our criteria for what we preserve.

75. To hear piano music

A pianist plays music on our grand piano for you to study by in the Poinciana Lounge on the first Friday of the month.

76. To attend the Brisbane Writers Festival

The Brisbane Writers Festival holds over 150 events at State Library of Queensland each year, showcasing brave, intriguing and thought provoking local and international writers.

77. To use our carers room

Our carers room is decked out with all the standard facilities, including a television and toys.

78. To borrow some power-tools

The Brisbane Tool Library runs in partnership with the State Library of Queensland. It’s a not-for-profit organisation that is sustained by the voluntary contribution of its members. You can borrow hand tools, power tools, and other things like camping and sporting equipment.

79. To catch up on the minutiae of government 

We’ve got Queensland Votes and Proceedings going back to 1860.

80. To host or attend an event in Auditorium 2 

This is a popular space for talks and small conferences, film screenings and workshops. It seats 105 people and is available for hire.

81. To find some Australian literature

Trace the development of Australian literature from its beginnings to the present. Our Australian literature collection is significant, and we also collect works by contemporary Australian authors.

82. To visit the State Library of Queensland Gallery

An international standard gallery space, the slq gallery is home to our major exhibitions, and is available for hire.

83. To meet staff member Willie Prince

Queensland track and field champion and 2000 Paralympic torchbearer Willie Prince is a constant warm and well-recognised presence at State Library of Queensland. A proud Kalkadoon person, Willie is very proactive in both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the disability sector.

84. To give your assignment an upgrade

Bring in your task sheet and the librarians will help you access resources that will make your work a breeze.

85. To book a training room

We have spaces designed for large training sessions available to be hired.

86. To read a magazine

Our magazine collection covers many different publications.

87. To take advantage of our proximity to other cultural must-sees

State Library of Queensland is situated between the Queensland Art Gallery and the Modern Art Gallery, and is right in the middle of Brisbane’s cultural precinct. Why not pop in on the neighbours while you’re here?

88. To see our Artists’ Books Collection

We boast one of Australia’s largest and best publicly available collections of artists’ books. It consists of around 1700 works featuring both Australian and overseas artists.

89. To use the Queensland Terrace 

This versatile function space features exquisite six-metre mirrored ceilings, Chillagoe marble floors and a remarkable collection of vintage tea cups.

90. To join the Queensland Writer’s Centre

QWC exists to support the creative and professional development of writers through events, courses, one on one assistance, and to showcase the work of Queensland writers locally, nationally and internationally.

91. To see our law collection

We have a wide selection of books and resources for students and enthusiasts.

92. To find a book

Our information collection has books, magazines, audiovisual material, music and eresources with Australian and international content.

93. To get help navigating our specialist collections

State Library has specialist librarians specifically trained and educated to better understand the users and resources of a particular subject area.

94. To collect a book

From the comfort of your own home you can select books from our catalogue to be waiting for you on your next visit.

95. To learn a language

State Library has books, courses, and other resources to help you learn a number of different languages, as well as books and newspapers in languages other than English.

96. To see our school holiday programming

State Library has books, courses, and other resources to help you learn a number of different languages, as well as books and newspapers in languages other than English.

97. To find award winning works

We keep the winners and nominees for the Queensland Literary Awards, and for past competitions like the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. Come and read our collection of award-winning books and poetry.

98. To be rejuvenated by our air conditioning

Who ever said libraries weren’t cool? Not me. Each floor is climate controlled for the comfort of our clients and to protect our books and artworks.

99. To get access to our ebook databases

Your free State Library membership gets you access to many databases for books, newspapers, magazines, and journals.

100. To take in the view 

Turn up for Queensland’s most relaxing view. It can’t be beat — and we’re experts on Queensland.

Guest blogger: Michael, Visitor Services