Barr Smith Library

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The Barr Smith Library exterior

The Barr Smith Library is the main library of the University of Adelaide, situated in the centre of the North Terrace campus.


The library was named in honour of Robert Barr Smith who donated £9,000 to buy books. In 1920 his family gave an extra £11,000 in the form of an endowment and in 1928 his son, Tom Elder Barr Smith, gave £30,000 for the Barr Smith library building.[1]

The Barr Smith Library was designed by Adelaide architects Woods, Bagot & Laybourne Smith[2][3][4] and opened on 4 March 1932, with later additions to the main building being built from the 1950s onwards.[1] The present entrance was constructed in 1984.[citation needed]


The library houses Rare Books and Special Collections and University Archives and Recordkeeping. It is also home to large collections across many subject areas including Australian history, politics and literature, English literature, world wars, socialism and fascism, women and gender studies, utopian literature, and food studies. Specialist collections include the Music Collection, East Asian Collection, Yaitya Ngutupira and Recreational Reading. Level 2 of the library is home to the large and opulent Reading Room. The High Use Collection and study spaces on level 3 can be accessed 24/7.[5]


Notable librarians include:



  1. ^ a b "History Of The Library - University Library". University of Adelaide. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Barr Smith library interior". SA Memory. State Library of South Australia. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  3. ^ "History Of The Library - University Library". University of Adelaide. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Series 114: Library building correspondence 1959-79. (University of Adelaide Library Archives)". The University of Adelaide. Rare Books & Manuscripts. Retrieved 17 January 2021. Woods, Bagot, Laybourne –Smith & Irwin. Specification for alterations and additions to the Barr Smith Library for the University of Adelaide.
  5. ^ "Barr Smith Library". The University of Adelaide.
  6. ^ Rilett, Margaret. "Zinnbauer, Helga Josephine (1909–1980)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 18 February 2012 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.

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Coordinates: 34°55′7.67″S 138°36′16.68″E / 34.9187972°S 138.6046333°E / -34.9187972; 138.6046333