Be our guest on PeerPod!

PeerPod imagery of recording studio

About two years ago, the Library’s Peer Learning Advisor (PLA) team were looking for a new way to reach out to students and help enhance their student life. As current postgraduate students, they felt they had a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, which could be a useful guide for all students looking to understand and make the most of university life.

Their answer: PeerPod – a bi-monthly podcast series in which the PLAs discuss topics and issues related to student life and share their own stories, experiences and advice.

Since its creation, PeerPod has covered all kinds of subjects, from how to start semester and make new friends, to bouncing back after failing an exam. We’ve heard stories from PLAs and advice from experts, but this year we’d like to add something more. We want students of all levels to join us in the recording studio and share their voices, opinions and experiences!

Do you have a unique insight into student life? Some handy advice that you want to share? Maybe a suggestion for a topic you’d like us to cover?

Email us at and let us know what topic you’d like to talk about as a guest speaker, and why!

Check out PeerPod on our website or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Find out more about the Peer Learning Advisor team and how we can support you.

Overdue fines waived for the new year

Stack of books

To give you a fresh start in the new year, we’ll be waiving all overdue fines on Monday 11 January 2021.

To continue our support throughout the year, we’ll also be suspending overdue fines during 2021. From Monday 18 January 2021, we will no longer charge you for returning an overdue item. However, fines may still be charged on items borrowed from other institutions via Resource Sharing if they become overdue.

Read more about these changes to our fines and fees.

Help everyone get the most out of the Library by practising good library etiquette and always being considerate of others. When you borrow an item, please follow our updated borrowing terms and conditions so that everyone has access to our collections.

If you have any questions, please contact Mark Jamieson, Assistant Manager Site Services ( or Jeff Cruz, Associate Director Site Services (

Library closedown – what you need to know

Sunset behind the Quad

Just like the University of Sydney, the Library will be closed from Wednesday 23 December 2020 to Wednesday 6 January 2021. Here are a few answers to questions you might have about the Library closedown.

When does the Library close?

The Library closes on Tuesday 22 December. Individual libraries and their information desks close at slightly different times (most at 4pm or 5pm that day) – check the exact times on our Library Locations page.

When does the Library reopen?

We’ll be back on Thursday 7 January 2021. You can enter any of our 24/7 spaces (Fisher Library, Law Library, Bosch Commons, Camden Commons or the Quarter) at 8am that day.

All other Library locations (SciTech, Conservatorium of Music and ThinkSpace) open at 10am. We will be returning to our standard out-of-semester hours in January.

Can I enter any Library spaces with my swipe card?

No. All of the Library’s physical locations are closed during this time.

What if I need to return an item?

All borrowed items with due dates that would have fallen within the closedown have been automatically renewed to 7 January 2021, when we reopen.

If you still want to return an item during the closedown, you can do so via our external returns chute in the Fisher or SciTech Library.

Can I use the Library website?

Definitely! If you are a current student or staff member of the University of Sydney, your membership of the Library provides access to our extensive online collections, electronic resources and databases. You can also reserve or renew items.

Can I contact Library staff?

Not during the closedown, as we’re on holiday too. We will respond to queries after 7 January 2021, when we return.

If you need something urgent during this time, please contact Campus Security who may be able to provide assistance during the closedown.

Does the Library have anything exciting planned in 2021?

Yes we do! For starters, we’ll be running the biggest Welcome Week program ever in Semester 1, and launching the new Susan Wakil Health Building Library in February. Be the first to know what’s happening by following us online:

In the meantime, why not listen to our final PeerPod of the year: Episode 19 – PLA Insider – Tips For The Holiday Break! for ideas on what you can do with a summer in Sydney and Australia in general!

From all the Library staff – we wish you a safe and happy holiday and we look forward to seeing you in January.

Goodbye Health Sciences Library

Health Sciences Library

Friday 11 December is the last day the Health Sciences Library in Lidcombe is open to clients. It has been serving students and staff of the Cumberland Campus for more than 50 years.

The Cumberland College of Health Sciences was established at Lidcombe in the 1970s. It officially became part of the University of Sydney, and known as the Faculty of Health Sciences in 1989-90. The Health Sciences Library was a central part of the campus, a place not only to study and research, but an active, bustling place to meet, network and share ideas.

The Health Sciences Library will be remembered as a great place to work, with a very unique character. As one of our staff explains: “There was always a buzz and vibrancy about the space and the students. The Physiotherapy and Exercise Science students were often doing hands-on work (literally) – massages and manipulations on the plinths/physio tables. It was quite a close-knit campus, set within lovely gardens and trees, which added to the Library’s special feel.”

The Health Sciences Library will merge with the Nursing Library and relocate to the new Susan Wakil Health Building Library, opening in February 2021.

Remembering the Library …

Watch this virtual tour of the Health Sciences Library from eight years ago.

Photo gallery

The Library to suspend overdue fines in 2021

Books on a shelf in the Library

We know how challenging 2020 was and we want to make sure 2021 is your most successful year ever! To support students and staff in the new year, the Library will be suspending overdue fines in 2021. From Monday 18 January 2021, we won’t charge you for returning an overdue item and we’ll waive all overdue fines on your account.

We do want to make sure all students and staff have access to items that are in demand, so you should still return your items on time, especially those in our 2-hour collection and items that are recalled by another person. If you do have an item that is overdue, you won’t be able to borrow another item or renew any of your items until the overdue item is returned. We’ll send you due-date reminders to your University email address, and you can always check MyAccount for a list of your loaned items and their due dates.

If you have an item that is long overdue, we’ll mark it as lost. This means we’ve assumed you’ve lost the item, and you’ll be sent a lost item bill. If the lost item isn’t returned, replaced or paid for within three months, it may attract additional academic sanctions. For more information, please see our updated guide on fines and fees.

Help everyone get the most out of the Library by practising good library etiquette and always being considerate of others. When you borrow an item, be sure to follow our updated borrowing terms and conditions so that everyone has access to our collections.

If you have any questions, please contact Mark Jamieson, Assistant Manager Site Services (, or Jeff Cruz, Associate Director Site Services (

Celebrating International Day of People with Disability

International Day of People with Disability logo
International Day of People with Disability logo

As the Library celebrates International Day of People with Disability (which is today!), we’d like to tell you about some easy steps anyone can take to contribute to a more accessible world. Here are our 5 top tips. If you’d like to add any of your own, feel free to comment below!

  1. Increase the accessibility of the videos you make for people who are deaf or hearing impaired, by including captions.
  2. When presenting, don’t rely on visuals from your slides: explain everything audibly.
  3. When creating documents, make them as accessible as possible by using informative text for descriptive images, and Word’s ‘Headings’ feature to produce consistent, hierarchical styles. For more tips on producing accessible documents, read this resource produced by the Victorian Government.
  4. Design webpages with all users in mind. For example, use “alt text” for text-reader compatibility (see instructions below), describe your links, and make your page usable without a mouse – that is, make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  5. Explore the various resources available to aid accessibility, from apps such as Be My Eyes, to the Library’s own Assistive Technology rooms, which contain specialist software and hardware for users registered with University Disability Support Services.

How to add alt text

Informative images must have alternative (alt) text applied. Alt text should be accurate, succinct and provide information that isn’t already provided in the surrounding text.

To apply alt text to images:

  • Right-click on your image, select “Format picture”, then click “Alt text”.
  • Add your description.

For decorative images, Word doesn’t provide the ability to enter a null alt attribute. Add ‘decorative’ as the alt text or a brief description, such as “image of a middle-aged man sitting on a park bench”.

Find out more

Learn more about the Library’s accessibility resources including our Assistive Technology rooms, a campus-wide access map, and links to the University’s Disability Support Services.

Assistive Technology lab screen magnifier