Pop Culture Club

graphic for Usyd-Library-PLAs-Pop-Culture-Club

Let’s be honest: this pandemic is the worst! Everyone is stuck at home and the already challenging task of meeting new friends at uni has been taken to a Final Boss level of difficulty!

We’ve been listening to you

We know you want to meet people, so the Library’s PLA team are starting a club and membership is FREE!

Usually, we’d bring the party to you in the Library with free Coffee & Croissants, but the pandemic has forced us to stay virtual! So instead we told the Library about our brilliant idea. The conversation went something like this:

PLA team: Hey Library, we really miss hanging out with students on campus

Library: Yeah, us too

PLA team: RIGHT!? Anyway, we wanna make a club for students to meet up on Zoom

Library: Cool, a Book Club sounds gre…

PLA team: NO! Not just a Book Club! A Pop Culture Club!


PLA team: Let us explain…

What is the Pop Culture Club all about?

We’re talking movies, tv shows, books (NOT for your course), comics, manga, anime, podcasts, games, basically everything we’re doing to help pass the time in lockdown.

When are we meeting up?

On the third Tuesday of every month, in the afternoon when classes are pretty much done and you have nothing else to do, jump into a Zoom with the PLAs and other students from all over the University to talk about stuff that has nothing to do with class and everything to do with having fun.

Use this link to register and join us online, or click on the button below.

There are also zoom backgrounds to download from the registration page!

See you in the Club!

Enabling discovery: cataloguing the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections

Sydney Digital Collections Usyd Library

In a time where Library space is at a premium and print collections are increasingly making way for digital, Rare Books and Special Collections stand out as unique points of difference within university libraries and offer a multitude of opportunities for creative and innovative educational experiences and original research.

The University of Sydney Library’s Rare and Special collections comprise manuscripts and books spanning millennia, from over 2000 B.C. to the current day, and encompassing literary, cultural, scientific, and religious thought across the globe.

Ethel M Richmond bequest

Ethel M Richmond’s generous bequest to the University Library has enabled a large-scale project to catalogue these collections, making them searchable and discoverable to researchers worldwide.


In 2017, a sketch of the Virgin and Child, since attributed to the Italian Renaissance artist Giorgione, was found in the back of a 15th Century edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy along with a contemporary inscription giving Giorgione’s age and the exact date of his death.

This previously unknown information allows Giorgione’s career timeline to be rewritten, and the addition of a new drawing to the small oeuvre of this enigmatic artist is of significance to art historians worldwide.

Who knows what other tantalising revelations are waiting to be revealed through this cataloguing project?

Sydney Digital Collections

In addition to cataloguing, the Library has a concurrent digitisation program that provides open access to high quality digital versions of significant historical and cultural treasures, via Sydney Digital Collections.

Lockdown Discoveries Series

Lockdown Discoveries is a series of blog posts and an exhibition created and curated by the Rare Books & Special Collections Cataloguing Project Team to highlight some of the weird and wonderful items they discovered whilst working from home during the 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown.

The exhibition showcases highlights from the Graham Science Fiction collection, handpicked and curated by the RBSC Cataloguing Project Team. The exhibition has been temporarily paused for the 2021 stay at home orders and will reopen when it is safe to open the Rare Book reading rooms once more.

Explore the links below to learn more about the cataloguing project, the discoveries and resulting exhibition.

Lockdown Discoveries: Part 1

Lockdown Discoveries: Part 2

Lockdown Discoveries: Part 3

Cataloguing the Graham Science Fiction Collection

Lockdown Discoveries Exhibition

Palm Leaf Manuscript

R U OK? Day

R U OK? Day graphic
R U OK? Day graphic

This Thursday, 9 September is R U OK? Day. It’s a national day of action, to remind ourselves that every day is the day to ask, “are you OK?” if someone in your world is struggling with life’s ups and downs.

This year it’s more important than ever to check in with our friends and colleagues. There are some great activities you can join in through the University and lots of online resources to help you have those conversations with people around you.

Speed Meet and Chat

Friday 10 September 2:00 – 3:00pm

One of the toughest things about studying remotely during the pandemic is how hard it is to meet new friends!

For R U OK? Day the Library is hosting a special edition of our excellent socialising event Speed Meet and Chat!

Register here to join the fun!

Virtual Dance Workout Session

Thursday 9 September 9:00 – 9:30am

As an educator, Dr Ehssan Sakhaee focuses on balancing engagement and performance with overall wellbeing. Start the day by joining Dr Sakhaee for a 30-minute virtual dance workout. You’ll need a space of at least 2m squared.

Dr Sakhaee also runs regular online meditations.

For more information and to register for the Zoom event use this link.

R U OK? Day ‘lunch’ webinar

Thursday 9 September 12:30 – 1:30pm

Join the hosts and guest speakers in this online event to learn when and how to ask R U OK?, so you can have a conversation that could change a life.

You might laugh, you might cry but most importantly you’ll feel empowered because asking, “Are you OK?” when someone’s struggling with something big, something small, or nothing at all, shows them you care.

To register for the Eventbrite event use this link. If you can’t attend you’re encouraged to register and receive a recording of the event.

R U OK? Day x Ther-E-Paws

Thursday 9 September 4pm

Having ruff time? Need some paws-itivity? Join FASS Student Representatives and staff for Ther-E-Paws, an online therapy dog event discussing mental health and wellbeing.

Come along to de-stress, have discussions about mental health, meet our esteemed furry and four-legged guests, and introduce us to your own pets!

To register for the Eventbrite event use this link.

The R U OK? Day official website guides you through the steps you can take in starting a conversation and then how you can respond if that person needs help. There are also Zoom backgrounds and posters to download.

Library Opening Hours

Our Live Chat services are changing leading up to the Labour Day Weekend.

Throughout the 2021 lockdown, the University has maintained safe places to study on campus, including at the Fisher and Law Libraries, the Quarter, Camden Commons, and the Carslaw Learning Hub. During the upcoming mid-semester break and in the lead up to the long weekend, University and Library staff have been given two days concessional leave, so that they can take a well-deserved break. 

The changes for each location and Live Chat are as follows:

Fisher and Law Libraries
Open from: 12pm – 8pm, Thursday 30th September – Monday 4th October

The Quarter (Postgraduate coursework students), Camden Commons, and Carslaw Learning Hubs
Open from: 6am – 11pm, Everyday

Library virtual services will be unavailable Thursday 30th September and Friday 1st October.
Live Chat normal hours of operation will resume from 5 October – check out our hours here.

You can still get online assignment support or help through our online subject guides.  

You can also submit a question and receive an answer by email; however, there may be a delay in our response during this time and we appreciate your patience. 

Respecting Custodianship

Australian landscape featuring beautiful clouds

by Dr Antonia Mocatta

The University of Sydney Library exists on unceded Aboriginal lands. To demonstrate commitment to fostering an environment of respect and truth telling, the Library and its staff acknowledge and respect the ongoing connection Aboriginal peoples have to these lands, and the knowledge and practices that have allowed these lands to be holistically and sustainably maintained.

We are committed to embedding culturally competent practices across our Library services, collections and spaces. The following article is a guide for those who would like to understand more about the cultural context around the tradition of acknowledging Country, and to build confidence in presenting an Acknowledgement in a culturally competent way.

The Differences Between a ‘Welcome to Country’ & an ‘Acknowledgement of Country’

What is a Welcome to Country?

For thousands of years, protocols have existed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture for welcoming visitors to Country. Permission needed to be requested and granted for visitors to enter Country belonging to another group. Once permission was granted, the host group would welcome their visitors and offer them spiritual protection and safe passage during their time on Country.

Today, this tradition is continued in a symbolic way though the Welcome to Country ceremony that usually occurs before the start of a formal event. This can take several forms including speech, singing, dancing and smoking ceremonies.  A Welcome to Country is usually delivered by the Traditional Owners of Country, and typically by a prominent member of that community or an Elder who has the authority and knowledge to deliver a Welcome.

What is an Acknowledgement of Country?

An Acknowledgement of Country can be delivered by non-Indigenous people or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are not in a position to deliver a Welcome to Country. Delivering an Acknowledgement provides anyone the opportunity to show their awareness of respect for the Traditional Owners of the land they are on, and their continuing relationship with that land.

When Should a Spoken Acknowledgement of Country be Delivered?

An Acknowledgement of Country can be delivered before meetings, gatherings or events even if the content of the proceeding event does not relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture or history. An Acknowledgement of Country can be delivered by anyone, Indigenous or non-Indigenous.

What Should be Included in an Acknowledgement of Country?

There is no set script for an Acknowledgement of Country.

In formal meetings or when you are unsure what to say when delivering an Acknowledgement, you may opt to use the University of Sydney’s official Acknowledgement (below).

Before we begin the proceedings, I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet: the Gadigal* people of the Eora* Nation. It is upon their ancestral lands that the University of Sydney is built.

As we share our own knowledge, teaching, learning and research practices within this university may we also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever within the Aboriginal Custodianship of Country.

*The Gadigal people of the Eora Nation are the traditional owners of the lands in Sydney, including the Camperdown campus. Find out and use the name of the people and Nation of the land that you are on.

In less formal settings such as internal meetings or gatherings, as a demonstration of respect, you should personalise your Acknowledgement and share what it means to you to work on Country. Doing this can demonstrate your genuine respect for Country.

Before delivering any Acknowledgement, you should learn what Country you are on, who its Traditional Custodians are, and how to pronounce the name of their community, and the historical context for the area (refer to the AIATSIS map).

Consider including the following elements when preparing a personalised Acknowledgement of Country:

  • Name and acknowledge the nation, people, or language group of the land you are on (refer to the AIATSIS map)
  • Refer to particular aspects of Country in the area – are you in the desert, on an island or there any local sacred or historical sites
  • Identify the continuing connection of the Traditional Owners to that land
  • Recognise that First Nations sovereignty was never ceded
  • Pay respects to their Elders and any First Nations people present
  • Thank them for caring for Country over thousands of generations
  • Talk about what it means to you to be on Country.

You may wish to deliver an Acknowledgement in Gadigal language.  For guidance on content and pronunciation you can watch the video below in which Professor Jakelin Troy shares with Dr Rosemary Grey how we can acknowledge Country in Gadi language.

Visit our collections

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2021, the University of Sydney Library showcased items from the collection that have been published by Sydney University Press, focusing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and cultural heritage. Read the article here.

To mark National Reconciliation Week 2021, and the nearly three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process, the University of Sydney Library featured highlights from the collection by First Nations authors. These can be found through Library search either online, in our physical collection or at the Wingara Mura Research Centre.
Read the article here.

Tell us what you think

image of Library website feedback module

We’re working to improve the library website and need your opinion. You may notice little messages asking for your feedback on some pages of the Library website. If you can, we’d love for you to take a moment to tell us what you think.

Letting us know what you like or don’t like about the website and sharing your ideas for how we can make it better will have a direct impact on the improvements we make in the future.

There’s no need to wait for a little feedback message to appear, you can send us feedback at any time about the Library or our website using our suggestions and feedback form.

We look forward to hearing from you soon and are excited to keep making the Library website even better for you.