Opportunity binge

Sydney Rare Book Week: explore the treasures of the library


An aged document with text and a black-and-white photograph of buildings.

The Cosme Agreement, a summary of the organisation and management of the communist Cosme Colony, established in Paraguay in the 1890s by a group of Australians.

A 15th century book about witchcraft. A rare comic featuring the first appearance of Spider-Man. A first edition of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica once owned by Newton himself. The University of Sydney Library is celebrating the wonders and curiosities of its collection during Sydney Rare Book Week, 25-29 October.

Hosted by the State Library of NSW in collaboration with institutions across Sydney, this year’s virtual program includes free daily talks about books, memorabilia, historical records and collecting.

“Our rare books collection is a treasure trove of more than 170,000 items, encompassing the precious, the beautiful and the downright weird,” said Julie Sommerfeldt, manager of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Sydney Library. “We can’t wait to welcome people back to see the collections in person but, in the meantime, there is plenty to explore in our Digital Collections, which offer access to more than 6500 books, manuscripts, photographs, letters and more.

“Our collections have items from many different cultures, countries and periods in time, reflecting the richness of human experience. Rare Book Week gives us an opportunity to make people aware of the treasures that exist in this city that are available to everyone.”


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