Free access to online reading material from SUP!

book covers

Sydney University Press have compiled some of their favourite free reading material from their own open access collection and from around the world. There is history, Australian poetry, classic children’s picture books and much more to choose from!

SYDNEY OPEN LIBRARY

In our Sydney Open Library, you’ll find all of SUP’s open access books, including history, biography, politics, literary criticism, public health and more, all free to read.

AUSTRALIAN POETRY LIBRARY

Created by the University of Sydney and the Australian Copyright Agency, the Australian Poetry Library hosts tens of thousands of poems by Australian writers, plus recordings of poets reading their work.

INDIGENOUS MUSIC OF AUSTRALIA

Several books in our Indigenous Music of Australia series have companion websites, where you can learn about the music of Indigenous communities and stream audio and video recordings of musicians performing their songs

Book cover: Fighting Nature by Peta Tait

From Sydney Open Library:

Throughout the 19th century, animals were integrated into staged scenarios of confrontation, ranging from lion acts in small cages to large-scale re-enactments of war. Fighting Nature is an insightful analysis of the historical legacy of 19th-century colonialism, war, animal acquisition and transportation.

Book Cover: Singing Bones - ancestral Creativity and Collaboration by Samuel Curkpatrick

From Indigenous Music of Australia:

Manikay are the ancestral songs of Arnhem Land, passed down over generations and containing vital cultural knowledge.

Singing Bones foregrounds the voices of manikay singers from Ngukurr in southeastern Arnhem Land, and charts their critically acclaimed collaboration with jazz musicians from the Australian Art Orchestra, Crossing Roper Bar. It offers an overview of Wägilak manikay narratives and style, including their social, ceremonial and linguistic aspects, and explores the Crossing Roper Bar project as an example of creative intercultural collaboration and a continuation of the manikay tradition.

The Library is your safe space.

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With the start of semester, and the Sydney 2020 Mardi Gras Program, the Library is proud to launch our LGBTQIA+ Liaison Officer role.

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The Library’s LGBTQIA+ Liaison Officer is here to offer support to staff and students who need help.

If you need support, contact your Library LBTQIA+ Liaison Officer.

  • Be referred to support services including counselling services
  • Connect with supportive communities within the University including the Pride Network and Queer Action Collective.

The Library is also proud to be part of the Welcome Here Project. The Welcome Here Project supports businesses/organisations throughout Australia to create and promote environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) communities. You may notice Welcome Here Project stickers at the entries of all our Library sites.

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Contact your Library LGBTQIA+ Liaison Officer at librarypride.support@sydney.edu.au

New Library Hours & Extended Online Support for 2020

UPDATE***** 25/03/2020

Library spaces have closed and services have changed.

To prioritise wellness within the university community, all University Library sites on all campuses are closed from today, 6pm, Wednesday 25 March 2020 until further notice. This includes all 24/7 Library spaces.

For more information on the University Library’s response to COVID-19 and to learn about the library support available to you, please see our COVID-19 Support webpage: https://library.sydney.edu.au/help/covid-19/.

  • The Library will remain open online and continue providing support for research and study. A Chat Now service will be available Monday–Thursday 8am–10pm, and Friday 8am–8pm.
  • Additionally, the Library’s extensive electronic collection of more than 1 million scholarly ejournals and eBooks are available 24/7 from any global location.
  • External library return chutes will remain open at Fisher, SciTech and Health Sciences libraries.

We look forward to seeing and helping you soon online!


Starting Monday 24 February 2020, opening and information desk hours during semester will change in some Library sites.

We will also expand our online support available to staff and students through our live online chat service, Chat Now. From Semester 1, Chat Now will operate from 10am-10pm Monday to Thursday, and 10am-8pm on Fridays.

Chat Now is the Library’s live online chat service which enables clients to ask questions and talk to Library staff in real-time. The extended hours mean clients can access support when they need it most, wherever they might be: in the library, at home or anywhere in the world!

Changes across sites include the following:

Fisher and Law Libraries

Fisher and Law Libraries will remain open to staff and students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, Library information desks (and equipment kept behind the desk) will close at 8pm, Monday to Friday.

After 8pm, you can chat with Library staff online via Chat Now until 10pm, Monday to Thursday.

To provide more support to students on Sundays, the Fisher Information desk will open from 9am-5pm each Sunday. This means staff and students in Fisher and Law Libraries can get more in-person support Sunday mornings at the Fisher Information desk. However, the Law Information Library desk will be open on Sundays from 1-5pm.

  Monday-Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Fisher & Law Libraries 24/7 24/7 24/7 24/7
Fisher desk 8am-8pm 8am-8pm 9am-5pm 9am-5pm
Law desk 8am-8pm 8am-8pm 9am-5pm 1pm-5pm
ChatNow 10am-10pm 10am-8pm

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Members of the public, Alumni and community borrowers only have access to this space during information desk hours.

SciTech Library

SciTech Library will remain open to staff and students 8am-10pm, Monday to Thursday, with extended hours on Fridays. However, the SciTech Information desk (and equipment kept behind the desk) will close at 8pm, Monday to Friday.

After 8pm, you can chat with Library staff online via Chat Now until 10pm, Monday to Thursday.

  Monday-Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
SciTech Library 8am-10pm 8am-10pm 9am-5pm 1pm-5pm
SciTech desk 8am-8pm 8am-8pm 9am-5pm 1pm-5pm
ChatNow 10am-10pm 10am-8pm

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Members of the public, Alumni and community borrowers only have access to this space during information desk hours.

Nursing Library

Nursing Library will now open at 9am, Monday to Friday.

  Monday-Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Nursing 9am-7pm 9am-5pm
ChatNow 10am-10pm 10am-8pm

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Health Sciences and Conservatorium Libraries

In response to feedback from you, there are no changes to opening or information desk hours at the Health Sciences and Conservatorium Libraries.

  Monday-Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Health Sciences 8am-9pm 8am-6pm 10am-5pm 1pm-5pm
Conservatorium 8am-8pm 8am-6pm 10am-5pm
ChatNow 10am-10pm 10am-8pm

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Chat Now

We will extend Chat Now hours to provide you with live online support when you need it most! You can now chat live with Library staff with any questions you might have from 10am -10pm, Monday to Thursday and 10am-8pm on Fridays.

  Monday-Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
ChatNow 10am-10pm 10am-8pm

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All these changes will be implemented from Monday 24 February 2020.

For more information on Library site and opening ours, visit the locations & opening hours page on our website.

Staff and student questions, suggestions and feedback can be made through the Library’s Suggestion & feedback form

Art & Technology Now: Gestural Robotics Workshop

With Vaughan Wozniak O’Connor in collaboration with ThinkSpace presents: Art & Technology Now: Gestural Robotics Workshop.

Vaughan Wozniak O’Connor, Fitbit Studies (detail). Laser etched site materials. 2020

How can robots draw? Could this change the way we think about the handmade? Join artist Vaughan Wozniak O’Connor, in a workshop that discusses art, technology and the blurry line between digital and physical. In this one hour lunchtime workshop, Wozniak O’Connor will discuss his use of biometric and geospatial tracking technologies to produce artworks.

Held across the University of Sydney’s Think Space and USU’s Verge Gallery this workshop will provide background to Wozniak O’Connor’s research and entail a demonstration of emerging approaches to drawing, across robotics and digital fabrication.

Vaughan Wozniak-O’Connor’s exhibition Geospatial Atlas will be on display at Verge Gallery from 13 February-20 March 2020

Join the Art & Technology Now: Gestural Robotics Workshop Wednesday 11 March, 1-2pm at ThinkSpace.

Places are limited, register online to secure a place.

Rare Bites: Free lunchtime talks uncovering Library’s hidden treasures

Rare Bites is a series of 30 minute lunchtime talks held monthly during semester. Each talk features an expert speaker spotlighting specific Rare Books and Special Collections resources that are part of their field of study.

The series gives the opportunity for staff & students to learn about some of the treasures and lesser-known gems within Rare Books & Special Collections.

Semester one talks include:

Mary Brunton’s Discipline – bad girls and moral tales 

In Discipline (1814), the Scottish novelist Mary Brunton created one of the first intentionally flawed heroines in anglophone fiction. Ellen Percy’s fictional autobiography tracks her development from spoiled, selfish schoolgirl to respectable wife and mother, as through suffering and dedicated effort her character is transformed. Arguably the inspiration for Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse, Ellen’s fictional journey is as moral as it is physical, combining traditions of spiritual autobiography with the tropes of sentimental literature.    

Discipline’s literary impact is only now being recognised, but we can see the influence of the unlikeable Ellen Percy in Austen’s ‘heroine whom no one but myself will much like’. In this talk I discuss the process of restoring Brunton’s novel for the Chawton House Novels series and explain how this remarkable novel went overlooked for so long. 

Dr Olivia Murphy works on British literature and culture of the long eighteenth century, with a particular interest in women’s writing, novels, and the relationship between literature and science. She is the author of Jane Austen the Reader: The Artist as Critic (2013), the editor of Mary Brunton’s 1814 novel Discipline (2018) and the co-editor of Anna Letitia Barbauld: New Perspectives (2013) and Romantic Climates: Literature and Science in an Age of Catastrophe (2019). She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the English Department at the University of Sydney.  

When: Wednesday 11 March, 2020 1:00 – 1:30pm

Location: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Places are limited, register to secure a place.

Lurid: Crime Paperbacks and Pulp Fiction Exhibition

There has long been a thirst for cheap, mass produced depictions of violence and crime narratives in popular culture from eighteenth century crime ‘broadsides’ sold at public executions and nineteenth century ‘penny dreadfuls’. Rare Books and Special Collections holds an extensive collection of Detective Fiction encompassing twentieth century crime novels as well as pulp fiction series.

A selection of detective fiction on display at the Lurid: Crime Paperbacks and Pulp Fiction Exhibition


Lurid: Crime Paperbacks and Pulp Fiction showcases these books and their cover designs. For instance, the mid-century, green-saturated period of Penguin crime literature paperbacks demonstrates the ‘Marber Grid’, with two-thirds of the layout allowing for striking modernist illustration and bold graphic design. There is power in the simplicity of these designs with their limited colour palette, elements of photomontage, collage, drawing and geometric pattern, and use of sans serif font.

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A selection of detective fiction on display at the Lurid: Crime Paperbacks and Pulp Fiction Exhibition

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At the other extreme of the literary spectrum, there are the garish, titillating and often misogynistic designs that adorn pulp fiction covers. The racy titles and compositional elements of femme fatales and wanton dames, gangsters and gumshoes, and occasional homoerotic imagery, were designed to catch the eyes of disposable sleaze readers (and latter day criminologists).

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A selection of detective fiction on display at the Lurid: Crime Paperbacks and Pulp Fiction Exhibition

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Lurid: Crime Paperbacks and Pulp Fiction reveals and revels in a sense of each genre’s distinctive design, whether highbrow or lowbrow, and the visual impact of these compact, accessible and affordable publications.

This exhibition has been curated by Dr Carolyn McKay. Dr Carolyn McKay is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney Law School where she teaches Criminal Law, Civil & Criminal Procedure and Digital Criminology. She is co-Deputy Director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology. Carolyn is recognised for her research into technologies in justice, specifically her empirical research into prisoners’ experiences of accessing justice from a custodial situation by audio visual links. Her qualitative study based on one-to-one interviews with prisoners provided evidence for her PhD thesis as well as her recently published research monograph,The Pixelated Prisoner: Prison video links, court ‘appearance’ and the justice matrix (2018) Routledge. Carolyn has published and presented in relation to other technologies and served on the 2019 NSW Law Society Legal Technologies Committee. She has been appointed to the 2019-2020 NSW Bar Association Innovation & Technology Committee. Carolyn has been a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford 2019 and for 3 months at the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Spain 2013-14. Carolyn has previously consulted on anti-dumping trade disputes and indirect taxation, working in both Sydney and Tokyo, and she also has a digital media/visual arts practice.

Visit Lurid: Crime Paperbacks and Pulp Fiction from 24th February- 20 June 2020 , level 3 Fisher Library & SciTech Library