Whether you are a culture lover looking to visit an exhibition or a researcher uncovering new knowledge in our 10-million-items-and-counting collection, whether you need a gift from the Bookshop or a coffee at Bookplate, or whether you are tuning in to the National Library online, we’ve got something for you to explore this summer.


We look forward to welcoming you to your National Library over the summer.

The Library is open from 9am to 5pm daily (except Christmas Day). Between Thursday 24 December 2020 and Sunday 3 January 2021, the Library will be operating on summer opening hours, so be sure to check these when planning your visit.

You do not need to book to visit the Library, however, visitors are required to sign in using the Check In CBR app.

Exhibition galleries

Our exhibition galleries are open every day (except  Christmas Day) from 9am. Entry is free and you do not need to book a ticket.

Discover how artists have documented, interpreted and celebrated Australian architecture and the built environment in our Australian Dreams: Picturing Our Built World exhibition, on show until 31 January 2021.

Ellis Rowan was almost 70 years old when she travelled to New Guinea to paint the region’s Birds of Paradise and wildflowers. There, she created numerous pictures of the region’s Birds of Paradise (Paradisaeidae) – 13 of these watercolours are now on display in the Birds of Paradise: Ellis Rowan in New Guinea exhibition, open through to 8 March 2021.

Our Treasures Gallery regularly changes its displays, so make sure to catch a few of the Library’s most unique items while you can. Our Treasures Gallery tours will be returning from Monday 4 January 2021! Come face to face with remarkable items from the Library's collections, as our volunteer guides give voice to their stories. The tours are free, but booking is essential.

School holiday activities  

Tree house? Beach shack? Tiny home? What comes to mind when you think about your dream building?

Join our diorama-building workshop this summer to test your model-building skills and learn some new ones! Inspired by our current exhibition Australian Dreams, and distinct from school project 'shoebox' dioramas, these are more in line with the techniques used in scale model making, miniatures and tabletop gaming.

Aimed at young people between 10 and 15 years of age, these activities will take place in January 2021. Visit our What's On page for more information and booking details.


Browse the Bookshop’s Christmas Gift Guide, with suggestions from our specialist range of Australian fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature titles, including the complete range of books produced by NLA Publishing. Explore the bookshop in person and online.

Note: We cannot guarantee delivery by Christmas for online orders placed after 10 December.

Reading rooms

Between Friday 25 December 2020 and Friday 1 January 2021 (inclusive), all reading rooms will be closed. The reading rooms will reopen on Saturday 2 January 2021.

For more information on opening hours and collection delivery times, please check our summer opening hours.

Bookplate cafe

Bookplate is open from 9am to 3pm every day (except Christmas Day), with reservations accepted for the indoor dining area only. For information on enjoying a COVIDSafe visit to Bookplate, please refer to our guidelines.


Even if you can’t make it to the National Library over summer, there are plenty of ways to explore the collection as part of the #NLADigitalCommunity.

Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell filming their author talk for Searching for Charlotte

Watch, read and listen

The National Library is the home of your stories.

Navigate to the Stories page on our website to uncover a variety of Australian stories including:

You’ll be surprised by what you find, with a diverse selection of curated content for all ages.

You can also experience our current exhibitions online:

Watch the Australian Dreams online tour

Watch the Birds of Paradise online tour


The holidays are fast approaching, but the National Library’s Digital Classroom never takes a break. Discover free online-learning resources aligned with the Australian Curriculum and broken down across primary and secondary year levels for easy access.

Alternately, catch up on one of our webinars from this year, such as Family History for Beginners:

You can find all of our webinar recordings on our YouTube page.


Whether you are looking to uncover your family history, research your favourite subject or learn something new, explore the Library online via Trove, the National Library catalogue and eResources.