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State Library Queensland has Books, Games & Activities for Families

This article shares some of the amazing activities happening at the State Library Queensland!

The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) is a great place to visit with kids. We know what you’re thinking, a library is supposed to be quiet right? And the truthful answer is, the State Library is very quiet in places but due to the library being split across multiple levels there are different spaces to meet different needs.

For families looking for fun, the State Library hosts a heap of free and paid activities where kids can get hands-on, dance, play and socialise with other kids. Importantly, they regularly update their program to respond to families looking for something educational AND fun to do! Plus, the play spaces are vibrant with spots for parents to relax while kids can safely explore the environment and learn!

Visiting the State Library of Queensland with children

Children are always welcome to visit the State Library of Queensland. The Corner is an interactive environment designed just for kids up to 8 years old, with themed book list suggestions, art-making resources, and electronic activities.

Getting to the State Library 

The library is located in the South Bank Cultural Precinct. It’s a short walk from the Cultural Precinct Busway Station or the South Bank City Cat ferry terminal. If you are driving in, parking is available in several nearby car parks for a small fee.

State Library Queensland Accessibility

The State Library of Queensland is fully accessible for families with disabilities and also pram-friendly. Facilities include:

  • Accessible toilets
  • Beautifully appointed carers room
  • Wheelchair accessible desks
  • Hearing aid induction loop
  • Lifts and ramps to all levels
  • Assistance animals welcome when wearing identity cards
  • Cloakroom

Food and drink at the State Library 

You can take your own drinks and snacks to eat in one of the many designated indoor and outdoor ‘food-friendly’ spaces. There’s also a great small cafe, The Library Cafe, offering a range of delicious dishes for young and old and an even better gift shop!

First 5 Forever at State Library 

It’s pretty crazy when you consider that 90% of a child’s brain development happens in the first five years! First 5 Forever is an initiative of the Queensland Government, coordinated by State Library of Queensland, with the primary aim of providing strong early literacy foundations for all Queensland children aged 0-5 years.

The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) provides activities and workshops regularly as part of the First 5 Forever program. We’ve compiled a list of the most fun ways to explore the library with your kids:

Rhyme time on the River Decks

Performance at SLQ
Performance at SLQ

If you’ve got a babe in arms or a little one ready to dance, Rhyme Time is a special time for you and your little one where you can share rhymes, songs, stories and reading in a creative and relaxed environment. You’ll always have a laugh with your child at these sessions which are often high-energy and full of giggles. No bookings required.

Play Time in The Corner

From dress-ups and puppets, cool construction kits and sensory toys, each of our play kits has been specially selected to inspire children (and babies!) of all ages to explore their senses, come up with games and get creative. Step away from your regular routine and the distractions of home into a space just for you and your family or invite your friends for a special play date! Play Time takes place daily from 11am to 12:45pm. No bookings required. These are great hands-on, interactive sessions where kids can use their imagination and grow their social skills. Find out more on the State Library website.

Baby Play in The Corner

Baby play corner
Baby play corner

Head along to a free Baby Play session, designed for babies 0-12 months (not yet walking) and their parent/carer. These sessions focus on baby-paced play, rhyme and shared story in a way that supports you as your baby’s most important educator – with plenty of opportunity to learn and grow together. Baby Play takes place every Monday and Friday at 10am. No bookings required. Find out more on the State Library website.

The Parlour

Drop into The Parlour anytime between 10am and 5pm daily to explore browsing the collection of books perfect for families. There are plenty of comfy places to sit, plus amazing city views: A perfect place to relax and share stories with family and friends.

First 5 Forever online

SLQ First 5 Forever
SLQ First 5 Forever

The First 5 Forever program also offers a great online offering with lots of fun activities for you to download and participate in.

For details of all the upcoming workshops, events, and activities in the SLQ First 5 Forever program, click here.

Workshops for kids at State Library Queensland

The State Library of Queensland hosts a range of activities and workshops for families throughout the year, but especially during school holidays. Most workshops are free to attend but require bookings so check the details to be sure you don’t miss out!

School holiday activities at State Library Queensland

state library kids' activities
Kids’ activities at SLQ

You can always rely on the State Library of Queensland to provide some of the best school holiday workshops in Brisbane. From STEM activities and robotics to craft, music, and performance. Be sure to check out their What’s On guide!

Winter Night

On Saturday 29 June join SLQ in staying up after dark for Winter night – a special nocturnal program with illuminated inflatable animals, games, light projection, music and more. Bring a picnic rug to enjoy the sunset from Maiwar Green or pick up some delicious wood-fired pizza available from 4pm. 

Make your mark

Whether you’re drawing, doodling or dressing up, this is your chance to experiment with line and shape, light and shadow, to create imaginary worlds; every mark tells a story and every dot creates a masterpiece. Explore sensory black and white activity stations and shadow play.

  • When: 10am – 12:30pm daily, no bookings required

Scavenger hunt

Are you a keen explorer? Are you a master of puzzles? Do you love a challenge? Yes? Then get excited and jump into our scavenger hunt. This interactive onsite experience gets you collecting clues and completing challenges to uncover top-secret library spaces, discover cool activities and explore the history and culture of our great sunny state. 

  • When: 10am – 3pm daily, no bookings required

Nylon Zoo

Step into the whimsical world of the Nylon Zoo, where imagination knows no bounds. Inspired by the graceful flight of birds, the delicate flutter of butterflies, and the mysterious swoop of bats, children are invited to pop on handcrafted costumes and embark on an enchanting costume parade. Free event but places are limited so be sure to book.

  • When:
    • Wed 26 June 10am-3pm
    • Thurs 27 June 10am-3pm
    • Fri 28 June 10am-3pm
    • Sat 29 June 10am-7pm

Deaf in dance family tour

Celebrate the people and passion behind the Deaf Indigenous Dance Group (DIDG) and feel the beat as you explore dancer portraits that have been adorned with words and drawings by the artists themselves, alongside digital stories and a focus on accessible design. Free activity.

  • When: Sat 29 June 5pm-5:30pm

Song circle by the fire with Mama Tun

Join Mama Tun, a proud Torres-Strait and Aboriginal woman for an evening of weaving, music and songs around the fire in kuril dhagun – a special spot that overlooks Maiwar (the river) twinkling city lights. Free activity.

  • When: Sat 29 June 5pm-7pm

Tagtool projection (recommended for ages 8+)

Calling all aspiring animators and creative families! Step into the world of digital artistry with our exciting drop-in activity creating live projections using an iPad and Tagtool app. Free activity.

  • When: Sat 29 June 5pm-7pm

State Library Queensland is always worth a visit

There’s just so much to do at the library! One option is settling in with a good book or magazine in one of the many air-conditioned spaces on offer. Alternatively, why not venture out onto one of the many deck areas overlooking the river for some privacy and let your boisterous little ones let off some steam. The quality of books is unmatched and there truly is something for all ages at the State Library. Plus it is definitely kid-friendly.

It’s a great spot to take a break when exploring GOMA or South Bank which are often much busier. We highly recommend a trip to the State Library next time you’re in the CBD.

If you can’t make it into the city here are some great articles to help your little one grow:

We’ve also compiled a comprehensive list of free things for toddlers to do in Brisbane where you can apply your First 5 Forever learnings.

If you love books then you will also love the Lifeline Bookfest.

The closest libraries to State Library Queensland are:

Previous State Library events

World Science Festival Brisbane

Calling all budding scientists and self identified nerds. It is time to geek out with the return of one of the most exciting festivals of the year, the World Science Festival Brisbane. From Friday 15 to Sunday 24 March 2024 this extraordinary event, hosted by Queensland Museum will feature a mix of free and ticketed events, family-friendly activities, talks, debates, and conversations that will illuminate the wonders of science.

Flip-o-Rama

Explore a world of cardboard structures and flipbook characters.

Using only cardboard, scissors, markers and a few quirky photos, you’ll learn how to create your very own unique characters, each with its own distinctive look and personality. Then, with a flick of your wrist, you’ll bring your characters to life as you create a giant flipbook, Flip-o-Rama.  For ages 3 – 12 years, Monday to Friday 10 am to 12 pm. Cost: Free

Audioplay

In this unique action-adventure experience, kids will be immersed in the rich story world of The Turners, based on Mick Elliott’s book series of the same name. For kids aged 6 – 12 years, Monday 26 – Friday 30 June 2023 10 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 3 pm. Cost: Free

Toolshed tinker

Toolshed tinker is the ultimate experience for young builders, artists, and designers who want to let their imaginations run wild.  For kids aged 6 – 12 years, Monday 26 – Friday 30 June 2023 10 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 3 pm. Cost: Free

Holiday fun scavenger hunt 

Are you a keen explorer? Are you a master of puzzles? Do you love a challenge? If you answered yes, then get excited to jump into our scavenger hunt. This interactive onsite experience will have you collecting clues and completing challenges as you uncover top secret library spaces, discover cool activities and explore the history and culture of our great sunny state.  For ages 6 – 12 years, Monday to Friday from 10 am to 3 pm. Cost: Free

Culture Weave

Join Nadine Foley, a local Whadjuk and Balladong teacher from Culture weaveopen_in_new for a fun-filled morning of yarning and weaving! Monday 26 June 2023, 10 – 11 am. Cost: Free, booking required.

Claymation Creation

Get ready to unleash your creativity! Join Bazil Grumbleopen_in_new for a fun-filled adventure as we combine clay, storytelling, and stop motion animation to bring your ideas to life. In this hands-on maker workshop, you’ll learn how to craft your own characters using colourful clay.  For ages 6 – 12 years, Tues, WEd and Thurs from 10 am to 12 pm. Cost: $20.

Fri 6 – Sun 15 Jan 2023 – Little Big Things 

Create using colourful modelling clay. Recommended ages 6 – 12. 

Sat 7 Jan 2023 – Native animal sculptures

Build your own native animal sculpture. Recommended ages 6 – 12. 

Sun 8 Jan 2023 – Creator Space – dot painting

Explore the art of dot painting. Recommended ages 6 – 12.  

Mon 9 Jan 2023 – Hand stamp a tea towel

Design and make your own tea towel. Recommended: Ages 6 – 12. 

Wed 11 Jan 2023 – Build a wooden cam toy

Build your own wooden cam toy. Recommended ages 8 – 12.  

Fri 13 Jan 2023 – Summer fun with fonts

Design your own font. Recommended ages 6 – 12. The alphabet comes in all shapes and sizes.

Sat 14 Jan 2023 – Design a travel journal 

Create your own travel journal Recommended ages 8 – 12.

The Great & Grand Rumpus | 11 December 2021 – 10 July 2022

Imagine a world where one-eyed creatures can shoot laser beams and cows are taller than giraffes – in the land of imagined things at The Great & Grand Rumpus, anything is possible. This summer step into a wild world of wonder, wackiness and whimsy. Explore large cardboard sculptures scaling more than 4.5 meters high and watch as they are brought to life by interactive digital projections.

Get hands on and craft your own mythical creation at The Great & Grand Rumpus. The land of the rumpus is a haven for makers, creators and artists alike. Allow your inner child to experience the limitless imagination of make-believe places and see how over 1000 innovative storytellers just like you have crafted and sculpted mythical worlds and creatures based on ideas workshopped by kids over the last 18 months.

The Great & Grand Rumpus brings the nonsensical to life, the unreal to reality and LOUDNESS to the Library! 

Deadly Threads | Until 10 October 2021

In Deadly Threads, see over 190 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designed singlets, t-shirts, polo shirts, and jerseys. From colourful sporting jerseys to protest and artists’ shirts, Deadly Threads looks at how the shirts have helped people freely express views, support community, show allegiances and champion causes.  Read more here.

Entwined: plants and people | Until Sun 14 November 2021

Entwined: plants and people explores our intrinsic relationship with plants through photography, illustrations, immersive projections, and historical objects.

In this State Library of Queensland exhibition, Entwined displays the works of award-winning creatives as they document and reinterpret plant life in modern Australia.

Entwined also digs into State Library’s rare botanical collections, exploring historical and contemporary stories in the process.

See how our lives are experienced and, at times, defined through our interactions with plants across social, emotional, scientific, and creative endeavours.

Enjoy in-person tours of the exhibition to deepen your connection to plants. Alternatively, you can join a workshop or talking event to continue the broader conversation of plants and people.

Photo of author

Regina Gleeson

Regina is a fan of finding 'things to do with kids' in South East Queensland (specifically Brisbane and surrounds). As the Listings Editor of the popular Families Magazine (2013 - 2020), she was instrumental in hunting down and finding all the best things to do for families and sharing that information with her audience. She is extremely community-minded and makes it her personal mission to contribute content that is low cost (or free!) and suitable for families. This thirst for knowledge and desire to experience the things she writes about makes her an irreplaceable member of the team. Now working for blogs as a free-lancer, she contributes around raising two smaller humans and working with many, many more.

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