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If you love books and reading, enjoy hearing talks and lectures or taking part in social activities and special events with other members — Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts (SMSA) is the place for you!

When you join SMSA, you are joining an organisation that has been serving the community in Sydney since 1833. Our Library is the longest-running lending library in Australia, with a large and unique fiction collection including resources in the Tom Keneally Centre.

We value lifelong learning, offering a diverse program of talks, screenings and special events covering all sorts of interesting topics.

A peaceful space in the heart of the CBD in which to wander, read, learn or connect with friends, and with a wide range of online resources, SMSA welcomes new members from Sydney and beyond.

Discover the benefits of Membership

When you join the SMSA community you become part of an organisation that’s been proudly supporting Members for 190 years.

Ordinary Membership — $30
Concession Membership — $25
Reader’s Ticket — $25 (Students only)

Memberships are annual and are due for renewal by 31 December each year.

Come in and visit us before joining, join in person at the Library on Level 2 during opening hours or online.

SMSA Members’ Library — Level 2

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 — Level 3

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 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.

Join and borrow today

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