Public libraries in New South Wales

Last updated:  26 March 2024

There are over 360 public libraries in New South Wales. Libraries are run by NSW councils with each council developing library services tailored to their local communities.  

Public libraries are safe and welcoming spaces providing free access to collections, services, programs and information technology, as well as opportunities for social interaction and inclusion. There are areas for people to study, spaces to sit and read and places for people to engage with others through public programs.  

Public libraries have collections of books, magazines, DVDs, ebooks and audio books for children and adults. Books in over 40 languages are available from the State Library of NSW through all public libraries.

Free access to the internet is available in public libraries and public library members can connect to online content from home using their library card.

Library staff assist people with their inquiries and develop and deliver a wide range of programs for children and adults.

If you would like to find out more about what you can find at your local public library, please contact them directly. 

Find a NSW public library

Use our interactive map to find addresses, contact details and websites for NSW public libraries.

Find a library

NSW public libraries by the numbers

Source: NSW Public Library Statistics 2022-23
364 public library buildings30 mobile libraries2405 staff5.5 million questions answered
2.8 million members13.1 million virtual visits22.8 million visits in person3,823 public internet computers
1.6 million internet sessions7.7 million wifi sessions12.8 million collection items1.9 million new items added
35.9 million loans613,131 community language loans89,697 public programs1.4 million program attendance


  • A public library is defined as a library building that is provided by a local council in accordance with the Library Act 1939, open 10 or more hours a week, operated by paid staff and offering a range of library services and collections.
  • Library usage figures for 2021/22 were significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in lower than usual figures for many services.

You can find detailed statistics in our annual statistical reports

Support for public libraries

The New South Wales state government provides public libraries with over $40 million in financial support through the Public Library Funding Strategy. These funds are administered by the State Library of NSW and distributed to local councils annually.

The State Library of NSW partners with local government to deliver a statewide network of public libraries. Through the Public Library Services team, the State Library provides public libraries with:

  • advice on delivering and developing library services, collections, programs and building design
  • access to a range of internet connectivity services and equipment
  • access to statewide services and programs including Find Legal Answers, Drug Info and Tech Savvy Seniors
  • access to statewide collections and resources including indyreads (ebooks and eaudio) and bulk loans of books in community languages  
  • access to professional development opportunities including seminars, workshops and a dedicated online training portal.