Join SMSA Member Community Sydney

Join a community of curious minds, literature lovers, and lifelong learners

Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts Membership

For over 190 years, the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts (SMSA) has been welcoming members to their home in Sydney’s CBD to engage in thought-provoking activities and events.

SMSA is a place for people to meet and share with passion their skills, hobbies and interests with other like-minded members and visitors.

Home to Australia’s longest-running lending library and the Tom Keneally Centre, SMSA members with a thirst for knowledge and a love of literature can relish these resources at their leisure.

Members are invited to enjoy our diverse program of talks, screenings, and special events and join our special interest groups that form such an important aspect of our community.

Discover the Benefits of SMSA Membership

Open your mind with an SMSA Membership

Membership | $35
Annual membership that gives you access to all Member benefits.

Concession Membership | $30
Annual membership that gives you access to all Member benefits. Available for concession card holders.

Student Membership | $30
Annual membership that gives you access to Member benefits, excluding voting rights.

*Memberships are annual, pricing effective from 1 October 2023


How to join Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

We invite you to come visit us in person during opening hours, to tour the venue and learn more about our many social groups and activities. Grab a cuppa from our café and explore our warm and inviting community.

You can then join in person at the Library on Level 2 during opening hours or complete the membership application form online. There is no requirement to book an appointment.



SMSA Members’ Library

The heart of the SMSA, our Library on level 2 is the longest-running lending library in Australia, operating since 1833. Our collection is unique, with our members calling it the ‘best fiction library in Sydney’. You’ll find books on our shelves that you won’t find in other libraries — and our Mystery and Crime section is of particular pride. Our eBooks, Audiobooks and eMagazines are also very popular.

  • A peaceful place in the heart of the CBD in which to wander, read or connect with friends.
  • Borrow up to ten (10) items including two (2) new books, in any combination of books or magazines.
  • Loan period of 8 weeks for books and 2 weeks for new books and magazines.
  • 24/7 access to eBooks and Audiobooks and loans of up to 21 days. Read on your computer, smartphone, eReader or tablet.
  • Download eMagazines using your computer, smartphone or tablet.
  • Beamafilm allows members to stream films and documentaries free to any internet-connected device – PC, smartphone, tablet or even your TV using ChromeCast or Apple TV.
  • Access a range of Sydney, national and international newspapers.
  • Computers, internet, printing facilities and comfortable seating areas are available.
  • Enjoy eating your lunch or having a cuppa at Cuthbert’s, our Member’s café space.
The Tom Keneally Centre

SMSA is proud to be the home of the Tom Keneally Centre. Affectionately known as the TKC, it is Thomas Keneally’s living legacy to Australia, holding books Tom has read and/or used to research his various books. Devoted to Australian literature and history, the TKC regularly hosts literary events such as readings and author talks, and is Tom’s office in the city.

  • Visit the Tom Keneally Centre on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10:30am – 2:30pm
  • Borrow books from the TKC for up to 4 weeks.
  • Explore the ‘red dot collection’ that has hand-written notes by Tom Keneally explaining its significance to him and why it has a place in his library.
Public Talks & Events

The Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts runs a diverse program of talks, screenings and special events, which are open to both members and the public. These are often free or at a reduced cost for members.

  • Be the first to secure tickets to upcoming special events with SMSA Member pre-sales, ahead of general public access.
  • Enjoy talks covering an eclectic mix of history, science, current affairs, art, literature, travel, and more.
  • Attend workshops, classes and musical events.
  • Join us to watch and discuss classic films from Hollywood and across the world.
  • Enrich your life across mind, body and spirit with talks that cover health, wellbeing, lifestyle and other issues that matter to you.
Members’ Activities & Events

In addition to our public talks and events, we also run member-only events throughout the year.

At Other Organisations

We offer members a range of benefits at partner organisations upon presentation of your membership card.

  • Discounts on courses at WEA Sydney.
  • Other discounts and special offers that may become available from time to time with our partner organisations.
SMSA Venue Hire

Our venue hire floor boasts a large Theatre as well as flexible and affordable Meeting Rooms that can be configured according to the hirer’s needs. The Tom Keneally Centre is also available for hire. In line with the School’s values, we offer discounted rates to qualifying not-for-profit and volunteer organisations, including community groups, and SMSA members.


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