Annual Report - Corporate Overview

Annual Report - Role

The functions of the Library are set out in of the National Library Act 1960 (section 6). They are:

  • to maintain and develop a national collection of library material, including a comprehensive collection of library material relating to Australia and the Australian people
  • to make library material in the national collection available to such persons and institutions, and in such manner and subject to such conditions, as the Council determines, with a view to the most advantageous use of that collection in the national interest
  • to make available such other services in relation to library matters and library material (including bibliographical services) as the Council thinks fit and, in particular, services for the purposes of:
    • the library of the Parliament
    • the authorities of the Commonwealth
    • the Territories
    • the Agencies (within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999)
  • to cooperate in library matters (including the advancement of library science) with authorities or persons, whether in Australia or elsewhere, concerned with library matters.

The Library is one of several agencies within the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio with responsibilities for collecting Australian cultural heritage materials and making them available to the Australian public. The Library was part of the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio until 14 December 2012. The Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Simon Crean MP, has responsibility for the Library. The affairs of the Library are conducted by the National Library Council, with the Director-General as the executive officer.

Annual Report - Legislation

The Library was established by the National Library Act 1960, which defines the Library’s role, corporate governance and financial management framework. As a Commonwealth statutory authority, the Library is subject to the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act), which provides the reporting and accountability framework.

Annual Report - Organisation

The Library’s senior management structure comprises the Director-General and six Assistant Directors-General.

Figure 2.1 shows the Library’s organisational and senior management structure.

Figure 2.1 shows the Library’s organisational and senior management structure.

    Director-General Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich
  • Collections Management - Ms Pam Gatenby Assistant Director-General
    • Australian Collections
    • Management and Preservation
    • Digitisation and Photography
    • Overseas Collections Management
    • Serials Collection Management and Standards
    • Web Archiving and Digital Preservation
  • Australian Collections and Reader Services - Ms Margy Burn Assistant Director-General
    • Collection Delivery and Storage
    • Maps
    • Oral History and Folklore
    • Pictures and Manuscripts
    • Reader Services
  • Resource Sharing - Dr Marie-Louise Ayres Assistant Director-General
    • Collaborative Services
    • Database Services
  • Information Technology - Mr Mark Corbould Assistant Director-General
    • Collection Access
    • Collection Infrastructure
    • IT Services
    • Web Publishing
  • Executive and Public Programs - Ms Jasmine Cameron Assistant Director-General
    • Communications and Marketing
    • Development
    • Education and Events
    • Executive Support
    • Exhibitions
    • Publications and Sales and Promotion
  • Corporate Services - Mr Gerry Linehan Assistant Director-General
    • Accountability and Reform
    • Building and Security Services
    • Contracts and Legal Support
    • Finance
    • Human Resources

Annual Report - Corporate Governance

Figure 2.2 shows the key elements of the Library’s corporate governance structure.

Figure 2.2 shows the key elements of the Library’s corporate governance


The National Library Act 1960 provides that a council shall conduct the affairs of the Library. The Council has 12 members, including the Director-General, one senator elected by the Senate and one member of the House of Representatives elected by the House.

At 30 June 2012, there was one vacancy on Council. Appendix A lists Council members and their attendance at Council meetings.

In 2011–12, in addition to general administrative compliance and financial matters, Council considered a range of matters, including:

  • the Library’s Strategic Directions 2012–14
  • the implications and governance of new work health and safety legislation
  • budget trend analysis information
  • potential revenue-raising opportunities from Library activities
  • new acquisitions
  • the Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement (DLIR) project
  • the National Cultural Policy
  • the Strategic Workforce Plan
  • environmental management
  • community language newspaper digitisation
  • the Library’s Asian Collection
  • building works and maintenance plans
  • extension of legal deposit provisions
  • new key performance indicators for 2012–13 for Australian Government arts and culture agencies.

The Council has two advisory committees: the Audit Committee and the Corporate Governance Committee .

Audit Committee

The role of the Audit Committee is to:

  • support the Library and Council members in complying with their obligations under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997
  • provide a forum for communication among Council members, senior managers and internal and external auditors
  • ensure there is an appropriate ethical climate in the Library and review policies relating to internal controls and risk management.

The Audit Committee comprises a minimum of three non-executive Council members. If required, Council may appoint external members to the Audit Committee. The Council Chair and Director-General also attend meetings. Details of Audit Committee members and meeting attendance can be found at Appendix A.

In 2011–12, the Audit Committee considered a range of matters, including:

  • financial statements for 2010–11
  • fraud risk assessment and the Fraud Control Plan 2012–13
  • harmonisation of work health and safety legislation
  • Library trust-account disbursements
  • internal assessment of Audit Committee performance
  • internal audit schedule
  • Australian National Audit Office 2011–12 financial statement audit strategy
  • compliance report
  • internal audit plan
  • internal audits of:
    • management of capital works
    • post-implementation review of the Bookshop stock control system
    • Sales and Promotion and Bookshop annual stocktake
    • control framework maturity assessment
    • GST/FBT compliance and business continuity planning
  • reports on legal services, compliance, fraud management, risk management and business continuity, contract management and training.

Corporate Governance Committee

The role of the Corporate Governance Committee is to:

  • evaluate Council’s effectiveness in its corporate governance role
  • evaluate the Director-General’s performance and remuneration 
  • oversee the development of a list of prospective members for appointment to Council, subject to consideration and approval by the Minister.

The Corporate Governance Committee comprises three non-executive Council members—the Chair, the Deputy Chair and the Chair of the Audit Committee—and has the authority to coopt non-executive Council members.

Appendix A lists the Corporate Governance Committee members. In February 2012, the Corporate Governance Committee met to consider a Council evaluation and, in June 2012,
it met to discuss the Director-General’s performance

Corporate Management Group

The Corporate Management Group (CMG), consisting of the Director-General and the six senior executive service (SES) staff, provides strategic and operational leadership for the Library.In particular, it monitors the achievement of objectives and strategies, oversees budget matters, develops policy, coordinates activities across the organisation and oversees a range of operational issues. CMG meets weekly.

A number of cross-organisational committees advise CMG in key areas, such as workforce planning, asset management, building works, collection development and management, events and education, exhibitions and publications.

Corporate Planning Framework

The Balanced Scorecard continues to be the Library’s principal planning support system, facilitating the integration of strategic, operational and budget planning. Since its introduction in 2000–01, the Balanced Scorecard has proven to be a successful performance management tool accepted by staff and other stakeholders. All scorecard achievements, initiatives and targets are reviewed regularly as part of strategic management planning and monitoring processes.

Risk Management Framework

The Library’s Risk Management Framework continues to provide effective tools for the identification and evaluation of and response to risks that may affect the collection, core business functions and resources and/or strategic decision making. The Library’s Risk Management Register, which is subject to annual review, is central to this framework. The register lists risks to the Library, as well as risk-reduction strategies. These strategies are managed through established procedures and plans, such as the Collection Disaster Plan, the IT Disaster Recovery Plan, the Business Contingency Plan for Critical Building Systems and the Business Continuity Plan.

Risk management within the Library is overseen by the Library’s Emergency Planning Committee, which is chaired by the Assistant Director-General, Corporate Services, and includes SES staff representing all business areas. The committee provides a clear control structure to identify, monitor, respond to and mitigate risks that may affect the Library.

Following completion of Strategic Directions 2012–14, the Library undertook a legal risk-management review to help safeguard the organisation against high-level risks associated with reputation, litigation and professional exposure. Although no major residual risks were discerned, the review was useful for both Trove and the Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement project.

Annual Report - Public Accountability

External and Internal Audit

The Library’s Audit Committee met three times to consider external and internal audit reports.

Australian National Audit Office Reports

Australian National Audit Office reports containing Auditor-General recommendations implemented by the Library during 2011–12 were:

  • Green Office Procurement and Sustainable Office Management (2008–09, No. 25)
  • Direct Source Procurement (2010–11, No. 11)
  • Capitalisation of Software (2010–11, No. 14)
  • The Protection and Security of Electronic Information Held by Australian Government Agencies (2010–11, No. 33)
  • Development and Implementation of Key Performance Indicators to Support the Outcomes and Outputs Framework (2011–12, No. 5)
  • Information and Communications Technology Security: Management of Portable Storage Devices (2011–12, No. 18).
  • Establishment and Use of Procurement Panels (2011–12, No. 31)
  • Development and Approval of Grant Program Guidelines (2011–12, No. 36).

Internal Audit Reports

The Audit Committee considered a number of internal audit reports, as listed on page 23.

Parliamentary Committees and Government Inquiries

The Library made a submission responding to the Attorney-General’s public consultation
paper, Extending Legal Deposit, and a submission responding to the National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper.

Ministerial Directions

Under section 48A of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act), the Minister for Finance and Deregulation (Finance Minister) may make a General Policy Order specifying an Australian Government general policy applicable to the Library, provided the Finance Minister is satisfied the Minister for the Arts has consulted the Library on the application of the policy. No General Policy Orders applying to the Library were made in 2011–12, although Council provided input into a General Policy Order proposing that the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines apply to agencies operating under the CAC Act. The Australian Government general policies that apply to the Library under section 28 of the CAC Act are:

  • Foreign Exchange Risk Management Policy
  • Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines
  • National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry.

Legal Action

A claim that was lodged in the ACT Supreme Court in 2003 on behalf of Wagdy Hanna and Associates Pty Ltd, seeking damages for an alleged disclosure of information in respect of a 1996 tender process for one of the Library’s offsite storage facilities, remains outstanding. The court proceedings were held in December 2008, with Justice Richard Refshauge reserving his decision. The Library is awaiting the judgment.


During 2011–12, no issues relating to the Library were referred to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Australian Human Rights Commission

A visitor has lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission alleging that the Library indirectly discriminated against the person on the grounds of disability. The Library is defending the claim and its actions, asserting there has been no unlawful discrimination.

Freedom of Information

The Library received and granted access to two requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and a third was received on 30 June 2012. 

In December 2011, the Library was advised that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner had closed an application for a review of a Library FOI decision in 2010–11. The commissioner advised that the application was invalid and the matter is finalised.

Agencies subject to the FOI Act are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. Each agency must display on its website a plan showing what information it publishes in accordance with IPS requirements. The Library complies with IPS requirements and a link to the scheme is provided on the Library’s website (

Indemnities and Insurance Premiums

The premiums under the Library’s insurance coverage with Comcover encompass general liability, directors’ and officers’ indemnity, property loss, damage or destruction, business interruption and consequential loss, motor vehicles, personal accidents and official
overseas travel.

The Library’s insurance premium received an 8.8 per cent discount as a result of its performance measured by Comcover’s Risk Management Benchmarking Survey. Under the terms of the insurance schedule of cover, the Library may not disclose its insurance premium price.

The Library continued to be represented at the Insurance and Risk Management Corporate Insurance Forum of cultural agencies, which holds regular meetings with Comcover to discuss insurance issues.

Social Justice and Equity

The Library serves a culturally and socially diverse community and aims to make its collection accessible to all. The Library’s collection includes material in over 300 languages. Its programs and services are developed with an emphasis on public accessibility and adhere to the principles outlined in the Australian Government’s Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Community. The Library is conscientiously implementing the charter and seeks to provide all Australians with the opportunity to access documentary resources of national significance. In particular, during 2011–12 the Library:

  • provided an introductory program to 75 international students of non-English-speaking backgrounds
  • provided exhibition and education tours for adults and young people with special needs, including Alzheimer’s Australia, Canberra College Year 11 Special Needs Unit and senior citizens groups
  • continued an ongoing customer service training program for front-of-house staff, including mental health awareness
  • supported community projects, including the National Year of Reading, National Reconciliation Week, the Indigenous Literacy Project, National Simultaneous Storytime, Children’s Book Week, Get Reading! and Libraries and Information Week
  • supported the development of youth arts activities through events and education programs
  • offered a range of assistive technologies in the reading rooms to help people with sight, hearing or mobility impairments to access the collection and use the full range of services
  • commissioned Vision Australia to undertake an accessibility audit of the Trove interface; redeveloped the interface to ensure that sight-impaired users are able to fully engage with this service
  • upgraded equipment to support visitors with physical disabilities, including the installation of handrails in the Theatre, the upgrade of wheelchairs and the installation of hearing loops in Library venues
  • hosted a tour for organisations that represent Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, as part of the events marking the second anniversary of the National Apology 
  • developed four short animated online videos about Library services to support user autonomy and to appeal to visual learners 
  • continued to offer small group instructional sessions on topics such as effective web searching and Trove for beginners
  • provided gratis copies of historical photographs to support Indigenous communities celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Gurindji people’s Wave Hill Walk-off and the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy
  • enhanced access to 1,200 photographs relating to Indigenous country and community, with assistance from Pitjantjatjara, Larrakia, Gurindji and Arnhem Land communities, to improve captions describing people, places and activities, including names of language and clan groups
  • continued to digitise photographic material for inclusion in the Pitjantjatjara Council’s Ara Irititja database
  • continued the project to document contemporary Indigenous dance through oral history interviews with first wave dancers, including Monica Stevens, Michael Lesley and Stephen Page, and with other Indigenous people, such as Professor Larissa Behrendt, referendum activist Uncle Ray Peckham and Gunbalanya artist Jimmy Namarnyilk
  • delivered 1,100 oral history interviews as online audio, including ten interviews with ‘Stalin’s Poles’ (Polish-Australians who were refugees in Stalinist Russia), 65 interviews with Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants and six interviews with Indigenous Australians about the effect of the Apology to the Stolen Generations. 

Service Charter

The Library’s Service Charter sets out its commitment to users, the standards of service
that users can expect and the mechanisms for providing feedback or making a complaint. Revised in 2011–12, the Service Charter is available online ( and
as a print publication.

During 2011–12, the Service Charter standards were met as follows:

  • 96.2 per cent of general reference inquiries were answered within standards (target 90 per cent)
  • 93 per cent of collection items were delivered within standards and timeframes (target 90 per cent)
  • the Library’s website was available 24 hours a day for 99.9 per cent of the time (target 99.5 per cent).

The Library welcomes feedback and suggestions for service improvements. Feedback forms are placed throughout the Library and on the website ( In 2011–12, 258 formal compliments and 126 formal complaints were received from users, as indicated in Tables 2.1 and 2.2.

Table 2.1: Compliments Received, 2011–12

Information and
online services
to individuals


  • quality, professionalism, responsiveness and dedication of staff
  • quality and speed of response to inquiries and delivery of collection material
  • quality of reproduction services
  • quality of website

Public Programs activities


  • quality of tours and support for educational visits
  • quality of events program
  • quality of publications
  • quality of exhibitions

Facilities and support 


  • quality of food services
  • quality of Ground Floor refurbishment 




 In addition, several hundred informal compliments were received from users of the Library’s Trove, Australian Newspapers and Copies Direct services.

Table 2.2: Complaints Received, 2011–12

The collection


  • cataloguing information for collection material 
  • collecting of digital format material 
  • online access to collection material

Information and online services to individuals


  • access to e-resources
  • access to research resources
  • delays, misunderstandings and perceived lack of assistance relating to requesting/receiving and discharging material
  • reader registration processing
  • reproduction and inter-library lending fees
  • restricted access to the collection
  • users engaged in noisy behaviour
  • website redesign
  • wireless connectivity problems and slow response times

Public Programs activities


  • content and display of exhibitions

Facilities and support 


  • bag restrictions in reading rooms
  • building works noise and related issues, including reduced access to collection material
  • car-parking availability
  • food services
  • handling of some security incidents
  • space availability in the Main Reading Room during busy periods
  • closure of the reading rooms over the Christmas period




 The Library provided explanations and/or apologies in response to all complaints and undertook remedial action to address them as appropriate. Complaints relating to car parking were referred to the National Capital Authority as the responsible body.

Consultancy Services

The Library entered into 31 new consultancy contracts during 2011–12, at a total actual expenditure of $741,491 (inclusive of GST). Major new consultancies involved the development of software for the Integrated Library Management System interface, the redesign of the Foyer and an energy review of lighting throughout the main building. Appendix E lists the new consultancies with an individual value of $10,000 or more. In addition, 16 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the same period, involving total actual expenditure of $592,545.

Advertising and Market Research

Advertising and market research in excess of $11,000 for non-recruitment and non-tender services amounted to $72,000 (inclusive of GST), contracted to Adcorp Australia Ltd for newspaper advertising promoting the Library.

Annual Report - Corporate Management

Corporate management activities within the Library aim to maximise service to clients through the realisation of the full potential of staff and other available resources. In 2011–12, activities were focused on the development of requisite people skills, effective management supported by a range of tools and a safe, healthy and sustainable working environment. A major focus has been the main building, which is required to meet access and storage demands associated with a large and diverse national collection and public facility. Through participation in the Corporate Management Forum, the Library also played a part in corporate management across other collecting and portfolio agencies, displaying a supportive, collaborative and cooperative working style to other organisations.

People Management

Last financial year, it was planned that a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) would be in place by mid-2011. A ‘No‘ vote from staff on a draft EA meant that negotiations continued for some additional months. By the end of 2011, the Library had secured an EA that was strongly endorsed by staff and formally approved. The new EA has a nominal duration until mid-2014 and includes a Christmas operations and closedown provision (traded off against a slightly longer working day). The Library also implemented some affordable, modest steps to improve the pay relativity of staff and, importantly, undertook some significant projects to enhance the Library’s effectiveness and efficiency, resulting in the payment of a one-off productivity dividend to staff in June 2012.

Workforce Planning

To complement the Library’s strategic directions, a Strategic Workforce Plan is developed triennially. In this reporting period, the three-year plan for 2009–11 concluded and a new plan for 2012–14 was developed.

The Strategic Workforce Plan (2012–14) identifies three priorities aimed at focusing the Library’s decisions and resources on the increasing workforce demand for digital competencies and technological confidence. They are:

  • building responsiveness to change and emerging digital opportunities
  • building internal capability
  • enhancing career and operational sustainability.

The focus in the final year of the former plan had been on finalising the development and use of consistent selection criteria in recruitment processes, improving workforce diversity, implementing an employment brand for the Library and increasing competency training in web technologies.

As in previous years, the Library’s Workforce Planning Committee met quarterly to review and monitor the relevance and effectiveness of the Strategic Workforce Plan and of particular initiatives. The Library’s Council also considers annually a report on workforce planning and paid particular attention to the progress of the Strategic Workforce Plan, scrutinising the workforce profile data and examining the Library’s employee data in comparison with other Australian Public Service (APS) agencies.

The comparative APS data arises from Library staff who participated in the annual APS Commission State of the Service employee survey. Overall, the results reflected a positive work environment. The results are also monitored by the Workforce Planning Committee and used to inform decisions about Library staffing matters. This year, it was noted that staff showed a high level of job satisfaction, satisfaction with Library management and a strong sense of pride in working at the Library.

Staff Engagement

The Library’s Consultative Committee continues to play an important role, as highlighted during the EA negotiations. The committee monitored the EA’s option to pay a productivity payment to staff upon substantial completion of some strategic positioning projects. Other major issues that the committee considered included:

  • energy and environment management
  • parking arrangements in the Parliamentary Zone
  • a review of IT client support services
  • prevention strategies for bullying and harassment
  • monitoring the number of Individual Flexibility Arrangements, whereby individual members of staff have varying employment conditions relating to remuneration, leave and hours of attendance.


In accordance with the Australian Government’s regime for Principal Executive Officers, the Council determines the Director-General’s remuneration. At 30 June 2012, terms and conditions of employment, such as non-salary benefits including access to motor vehicles and mobile phones for senior executive service (SES) staff, continued under common law contract.

At 30 June 2012, ten non-SES staff had enhanced benefits through Individual Flexibility Arrangements.

Table 2.3 shows the salary ranges for classifications below SES level and the number of employees at each level.

Table 2.3: Salary Ranges below SES Level and Number of Employees, 30 June 2012
ClassificationSalary range ($)Number of employees





EL 1





































As in previous years, all ongoing and long-term non-ongoing staff were required to participate in the Library’s Performance Management Framework, with pay-point progression subject to achieving a satisfactory performance rating.

Fraud Risk Assessment and Control

The Library is committed to the prevention of fraud and takes all reasonable measures to minimise the incidence of fraud in the workplace.

The Library is required to examine and update its Fraud Risk Assessment and Fraud Control Plan every two years: this review was completed in 2011–12. In accordance with the Library’s Fraud Management Policy, staff must be aware of their responsibilities in relation to fraud against the Commonwealth. Fraud awareness training is required to be undertaken by all Library staff and, during 2011–12, training sessions were made available to new staff and to staff who had not attended such training in the past four years.

Fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection procedures are in place which, along with the Fraud Risk Assessment and Fraud Control Plan, meet the Library’s needs and comply with Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.

Ethical Standards

The Library promotes and endorses the ethical behaviour of its employees by informing staff of their responsibilities and reinforcing compliance with APS Values and Code of Conduct. This is undertaken through:

  • references in the EA
  • the mandatory completion by all new employees of an online induction program, which includes an APS Values and Code of Conduct module
  • regular review and feedback under the Library’s Performance Management Framework
  • mandatory participation in fraud and ethics awareness training
  • participation in and promotion of the APS Commission’s Ethics Advisory Service
  • supporting policy and procedures, such as the whistleblowing and fraud awareness policies
  • establishing clearly identified channels and support networks for employees to raise matters of concern.

In addition to the usual reinforcement activities, in 2011–12 the Library offered the workshop, ‘Governance for Senior Leaders’. The Library also invited Annwyn Godwin, Merit Protection Commissioner, to deliver a staff presentation as part of the ‘Focus on Leadership’ seminar series.

Disability Strategy

The Library remains committed to the principles of the National Disability Strategy and continues to focus on improving access for people with disabilities to employment, programs, services and facilities.

To integrate disability access issues into existing strategic and business planning processes, the Library has developed a Disability Framework. The key elements of the framework include:

  • providing access to information and services
  • providing access to employment
  • purchasing accessible services
  • recognising people with disabilities as consumers of services
  • consulting people with disabilities about their needs.

These elements provide the platform for continuing developments in reader and visitor services, collections management and building and security services.

In 2011–12, the Library advanced the Disability Framework by developing three sub-plans that focus on employment, procurement and services. Each sub-plan contains strategies and actions that support the Library’s objective of improving access for people with disabilities to employment, programs, services and facilities. The sub-plans will also be used for future reporting.

Workplace Diversity

During the reporting period, the Library has taken steps to improve workforce participation in the specific diversity sectors of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people with disabilities. A working group has been established to identify and examine initiatives related to the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The Library also participated in the APS Commission’s Pathways program, which has resulted in a modest increase in the number of staff from Indigenous backgrounds.

A campaign to encourage disclosure of a known disability and the identification of workplace assistance was also undertaken. The campaign resulted in a measurable increase in the Library’s workforce participation rate. An element of this initiative was to encourage staff to seek the Library’s assistance, with reasonable adjustment, contributing to the organisation being a respectful and inclusive workplace.

The Library continued to promote the Mature Age Staff Strategy and encouraged retirement planning and transition-to-retirement strategies as valid choices for staff. Presentations on how to discuss retirement options were undertaken with senior leader groups and an invitation for all staff to consider their transition to retirement options was circulated.

As at 30 June 2012, 71 per cent of staff were female and 24 per cent identified as being from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Work Health and Safety

This year saw the concentrated efforts of Council and CMG to fulfill the Library’s obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and related regulations. In planning for the anticipated new laws, the Library established a Work Health and Safety (WHS) Action Plan based on a legislative compliance review undertaken in May 2011. The plan was used to develop and implement a WHS Management System for the Library. In May 2012, a desktop review by a WHS specialist measured and tested the new WHS Management System. A revised WHS Action Plan for 2012–13 is being developed.

In order to gauge performance against the WHS Management System, the Library reports to Council on a bi-monthly basis and provides a comprehensive annual report at the October meeting.

CMG was briefed on the new WHS legislation and its due-diligence obligations. A comprehensive report was subsequently provided to Council and the Audit Committee. Staff were provided with the opportunity to attend training in relation to their roles and responsibilities under the new WHS legislation. A comprehensive review of WHS policies was undertaken as a necessary component to establish the WHS Management System within the Library, with a particular focus on risk management, confined space, hazardous substances, plant, contractors and first aid. This resulted in the development of policies and procedures for each of these elements for the Library.

The Library’s online system for reporting hazards was enhanced to include incident reporting. The arrangement provides an efficient and effective workflow to meet Comcare’s reporting requirements and to report data and trends to Council, CMG and the WHS Committee. Material Safety Data Sheet software was also implemented to enhance the assessment and control of risks associated with hazardous substances and dangerous goods. The Library’s WHS risk-management processes were revised in response to the extension of the legislative definition of ‘workers’ to include volunteers, contractors and work experience students. An online WHS induction program was introduced. New terms of reference were also introduced for the quarterly meetings of the WHS and First Aid committees.

Training courses that were offered included:

  • manual handling
  • dangerous goods and hazardous substances
  • peer support
  • mental-health first aid
  • building resilience
  • contractor safety for managers.

The offer of in-house influenza vaccination was taken up by 150 staff and 120 staff elected to participate in a health assessment.

The Library continued to offer staff and their families confidential counselling through the Employee Assistance Program. Regular presentations were offered on issues, including finding the right balance in life, retirement, stress management and resilience, to complement and promote this program.

Work Health and Safety Statistics

Table 2.4: Reporting Requirements under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which Took Effect January 2012, and under the Superseded Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991, 30 June 2012

Section 38 occurrences

Notification and reporting of notifiable incidents

There were two notifications


Section 198 directions

Power to direct that workplace etc. not be disturbed

No directions were issued


Section 95 notices

Provisional improvement notices

No notices were issued


Section 160 investigations

Investigations addressing
non-compliance and
possible breaches

There were no investigations


Section 195 notices

Power to issue prohibition notices

No notices were issued


Section 191 notices 

Power to issue improvement notices

No notices were issued


 Note: The sections of the Act referred to in this table relate to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011

During 2011–12, there were no injuries or illnesses that resulted in a claim for workers compensation. This continues the decreasing premium trend evident in 2010–11 and reflected in the declining premium rates as set out in Table 2.5.

Table 2.5: Premiums for Injuries Suffered, 2009–13 (as a percentage of wages and salaries)
Premium rates2009–102010–112011–122012–13

Latest premium rates for the Library*





Premium rates for all agencies combined (for comparison) 





Library premium rates as a percentage of all agencies





 * As amended retrospectively by Comcare

Asset Management

Collection Asset

The collection is the Library’s major asset, on which many of its services are based. The total value of the collection is $1.516 billion.

Plant and Equipment, and Software

The Asset Management Committee oversees the Library’s strategic asset management plan and coordinates operational asset acquisition programs. It also develops and monitors a four-year forward asset acquisition program for strategic planning purposes and an asset disposal program for items reaching the end of their working life. Major asset acquisitions in 2011–12 included the purchase of IT equipment and infrastructure, shelving and equipment and showcases for the Treasures Gallery.

The total value of plant and equipment at 30 June 2012 was $13.289 million.

The total value of software at 30 June 2012 was $4.102 million.

Land and Buildings

The total value of the Library’s land and buildings has been assessed at $201.945 million, including the main building in Parkes and the repository in Hume. The strategic direction for
the management of the Library’s facilities is guided by the Building Works Coordinating Committee. A 15-year Strategic Management Plan is used to set directions for building works, including an annual maintenance plan and a five-year capital works program, which are reviewed each year by Council.

A Strategic Building Master Plan ensures that building works are consistent with the long-term strategic direction of the Library and underpins Library facility planning and budgeting. The plan was reviewed this year to ensure it adequately reflects the Library’s future strategic directions.

In 2011–12, a number of significant capital expenditure building projects were undertaken, including:

  • commisioning of plant and finalisation works for the Treasures and Exhibition galleries and Main Reading Room refurbishment
  • refurbishment of the Library Bookshop
  • continuation of the Fire and Mechanical Services upgrade project, which commenced in late 2009, with anticipated completion in mid-2013, in response to a review of fire services requirements; key components undertaken during the year included the installation of new mechanical services plant on the lower levels and the pressurisation of fire corridors to create safe and smoke-free exit paths 
  • refurbishment of the Library’s five passenger lifts; elements of the existing lifts were over 
  • 40 years old and required a complete overhaul to ensure continued reliability
  • completion of the initial stage of the Foyer refurbishment, including Building Code compliance works to the marble stairs and restoration of the original marble floor
  • refurbishment of Level 1 office accommodation (approximately 1,750 sqm), providing a modern and flexible office environment.

A number of other capital works projects were finalised, including:

  • refurbishment of the Manuscripts Reading Room, Conference Room and several collection storage areas
  • installation of hearing loops in the Ferguson and Conference rooms
  • installation of a heavy duty hoist in the Level 5 plant room
  • replacement of the Executive Suite air conditioning plant
  • installation of digital CCTV cameras in several previously unmonitored areas.

Heritage Management Strategy

The Library is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List (2004) and is committed to the conservation of the Commonwealth heritage values of the main building. This includes undertaking consultation with recognised heritage specialists prior to undertaking building works in heritage-sensitive areas. In 2011–12, successful projects following consultation included the redesign of the Bookshop and the construction of the Treasures and Exhibition galleries and the new entrance to the Main Reading Room.

A review of the Library’s heritage furniture was undertaken, which provided an updated Heritage Furniture Register. The resulting report provides the Library with recommendations for the future use and management of the heritage furniture collection throughout the main building. Throughout the year, 24 items of heritage furniture were restored by approved restoration contractors.

In compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the Library’s Conservation Management Plan has been reviewed and will undergo a public consultation process in preparation for submission in the second half of 2012 to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

The Library’s Heritage Strategy was reviewed and amended this year, with a report on performance against the strategy to be submitted to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities next financial year.

Security and Business Continuity

The Library’s Emergency Planning Committee oversees all aspects of protective security and business continuity planning. It comprises senior staff with responsibility for corporate communications and the security of staff, the collection, buildings and other assets.

During 2011–12, business continuity policies and procedures were reviewed to ensure their compliance with Australian Standard AS 3745-2010: Planning for Emergencies in Facilities.
The Library has almost completed an update of security procedures for the additional requirements of the recent Commonwealth Protective Security Policy Framework.

Energy Consumption and Environmental Management

The Library is committed to improving its environmental performance across all areas of its operations. To do so, it has devised an Environmental Policy and an Environmental Action
Plan (EAP), which determines the Library’s targets for environmental performance. The Environmental Management System helps to set, implement and review these environmental objectives and targets.

In August 2011, to further enhance performance and awareness, the Environment Management Committee was established to coordinate and achieve the Library’s sustainability aims and targets. The committee meets quarterly to discuss, propose and implement a wide range of environmental initiatives across the Library, as well as to track performance against the EAP. Reports on environmental targets and performance are provided annually to Council.

The Library also aims to incorporate ecologically sustainable development principles into major projects. For example, the office refurbishment on Level 1 incorporated new workstations purchased from a company that aims to reuse, recycle or resell its products at end of life. Additionally, old carpet removed from the site was recycled and new carpets were purchased from a company that offers a take-back scheme at end of life.

In 2011–12, the Library has undertaken a number of initiatives which are expected to result in better waste management, energy savings and a reduction in the carbon footprint, including:

  • completion of an audit of current waste and recycling practices that identified opportunities for improvement, including introducing organic recycling and additional recycling streams to reduce waste to landfill
  • working towards accreditation with the ACTSmart Office program, a best-practice program on managing waste for organisations in the ACT
  • completion of an audit of light fittings and control systems within the main building, which identified opportunities to reduce energy usage by up to 25 per cent; tenders have been called to undertake the refurbishment of three test areas in the first quarter of 2012–13
  • commencement in May 2011 of a trial of broadening the temperature controls of collection storage areas at the Hume repository, with the aim of conserving energy usage and maintaining appropriate storage conditions
  • installation of flow restrictors on kitchen and bathroom taps.

In comparison to the previous year (May 2010 to May 2011), the Library has reduced gas consumption by 15 per cent to 4,805,293 MJ per annum and electricity consumption by two per cent to 6,720,587 kWh per annum. The Library’s water consumption has increased by seven per cent to 15,660 kL per annum. The increase is believed to relate to the high level of building works undertaken during the period. 

Recycling at the Library has also increased significantly. Cardboard recycling has increased by seven per cent to 22,020 kg and paper recycling has increased by six per cent to 38,405 kg per annum. Significantly, commingle recycling has increased by 55 per cent to 10,580 kg per annum, as a result of incorporating more waste into the commingle stream. Organic recycling commenced at the end of the year, with 267 kg being recycled during the trial period.


The Library maintained a focus on cost-effective contract management and procurement practices that are consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and supplemented by the Library’s guidelines. The Library utilised the Australian National Audit Office’s Better Practice Guide: Developing and Managing Contracts (February 2012) to assess and update its processes and for guidance. Procurement and contract templates were reviewed to ensure they continue to meet government good practice and are simple and straightforward to use. The revised templates took particular heed of the new WHS legislative responsibilities.

The major procurement activity undertaken by the Library during the year related to the Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement project and involved a two-stage approach: firstly, releasing an open Request for Proposal to inform the marketplace about the nature and scope of the Library’s requirements, to encourage innovative solutions, to clarify the Library’s expectations and to eliminate inappropriate bids; and secondly, providing a select Request for Tender to the bidders shortlisted from the first stage. The procurement drew interest from both domestic and international suppliers. 

Other large purchasing activities involved the acquisition of motorised mobile shelving units, the refurbishment of a staffing area on Level 1 and the tender for cleaning, recycling and labour. The Library did not enter into contracts of $100,000 or more that did not provide for the Auditor-General to have access to the contractor’s premises.


In 2011–12, the Library operated nine grant programs.

Community Heritage Grants

The Library awarded 82 grants of up to $15,000 each to assist community organisations to preserve and manage nationally significant cultural heritage collections. Financial support and assistance for this grants program were received from the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport Office for the Arts, the National Archives of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.

Harold White Fellowships

The Library funded seven fellowships for established writers and researchers to spend up to six months at the Library researching collection material in their areas ofexpertise. Fellowships were awarded to Associate Professor Chi-Kong Lai, Professor Jim Davidson, Dr Lyn Gallacher, Dr Luke Keogh, Dr Anthony Lawrence, Professor Satendra Nandan and Dr Tim Sherratt. Honorary Fellowships were awarded to Dr Andrew Selth, Dr Mary Eagle and Professor Craig Reynolds.

Japan Fellowships

Awarded to established scholars and writers to spend up to six months at the Library researching Japanese collection material, the fellowships are funded through the Harold S. Williams Trust. One fellowship was awarded to Dr Gary Hickey.

Japan Study Grants

Funded through the Harold S. Williams Trust, these grants support scholars in Japanese studies who live outside Canberra to undertake research in the Library’s Japanese and western languages collections for up to four weeks. Grants were awarded to Ms Kumiko Kawashima, Dr Chiaki Ajioka and Dr Miyume Tanji.

National Folk Fellowship

With assistance from the National Folk Festival, the Library funded a four-week residency for Ms Emma Nixon and Mr Chris Stone to research original source material and to prepare a festival performance.

Norman McCann Summer Scholarships

Funded by Mrs Pat McCann, the Library awarded three scholarships of six weeks to young Australian postgraduate students Ms Michelle De Stefani, Ms Alexandra Dellios and Mr Jon Piccini to undertake research on topics in Australian history or literature. Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Library was able to offer an additional scholarship, which was awarded to Ms Fiona Scotney.

Seymour Summer Scholarship

Funded by Dr John and Mrs Heather Seymour, this scholarship of six weeks supports research, preferably in biography, by a young Australian postgraduate student. The scholarship was awarded to Mr Robert O’Shea.

Kenneth Binns Travelling Fellowship

Funded by Mrs Alison Sanchez to commemorate her father, Kenneth Binns, Chief Librarian of the Commonwealth National Library from 1928 to 1947, the fellowship supports travel for professional development by Library staff in the early stages of their career. The 2012 fellowship was awarded to Ms Erika Mordek.

Friends of the National Library Travelling Fellowship

Funded by the Friends of the National Library of Australia, the fellowship provides a significant professional development opportunity for a Library staff member. The 2012 fellowship was awarded to Ms Anne Xu.

Cooperation on Corporate Management Issues within the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport Portfolio

The Corporate Management Forum consists of senior executives with corporate management responsibilities from agencies in the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio and a small number of non-profit agencies. The forum considers issues in the areas of human resource management, financial management, procurement, IT and facilities management, with a view to achieving economies of scale, sharing experience and encouraging best practice.

The forum met four times during 2011–12. The matters considered by the forum included:

  • the Commonwealth financial accountability review
  • new WHS requirements
  • capital planning and funding
  • collection storage
  • energy management
  • risk management and insurance
  • enterprise agreements
  • staff training
  • key performance indicators for Australian Government arts and culture agencies
  • shared services.

Annual Report - Information Technology

Information technology (IT) is used by the Library to facilitate and support the development of new online services and to ensure that these services are cost-effective, reliable and responsive. A focus of recent years has been on developing software to support collections held in Australian libraries and other collecting institutions through the Library’s discovery and access service, Trove. The Library has also commenced a major project to replace systems used to build, preserve and deliver its digital collections. The Library uses IT to support its website and other web-publishing activities. The required IT and communication infrastructure is provided in-house.


In 2011–12, the Library released an application programming interface (API) for Trove. The API provides an efficient mechanism for others to reuse the almost 300 million information resources for research and analysis and to build new online services. The Library also completed a project, funded by the Australian National Data Service, to extend Trove’s infrastructure, thereby improving the discovery of researchers and research organisations and the data they produce and manage. In 2011, The Australian Women’s Weekly spotlight site was released. The site is a trial interface for searching and browsing The Australian Women’s Weekly in Trove.

The Library also undertook a range of IT development activities aimed at improving its services and operations. These included changes to Copies Direct, which introduced a shopping-cart facility for users ordering copies of collection items, and an updated service providing online access to time-coded oral history transcripts, audio and summaries.

During 2011–12, social networking and mobile computing were areas of active innovation at the Library, including:

  • Joining Flickr Commons, an online space where cultural institutions from around the world can post images from their collections alongside over six billion photographs submitted by the public. The Library has subsequently seen a vast increase in use of these images compared to when they were only accessible through our website. We have also received valuable information about our images through tags and identification of places and people, sometimes verified using our digitised newspapers. 
  • Developing a Mobile Strategy to guide the introduction of mobile services.
  • Releasing mobile catalogue apps for both Apple and Android smartphones. During the first weekend after release, the iPhone catalogue app was ranked as the number one educational app in the Apple appstore.
  • Increased use of social networking blogs to engage with the wider community, including Handwritten: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Treasures from Staatsbibliothek zu BerlinPage Turners and Paddy’s Kitchen.

Infrastructure and Services

In 2011–12, the Library’s digital collection increased in size by approximately 24 per cent and has now exceeded 1.5 petabytes of storage (see Figure 2.3). The major contributor to storage growth was the digitisation of Australian newspapers (see Figure 2.4). Australian newspapers (65 per cent) dominate the storage requirements, followed by archived web pages (19 per cent) and oral history recordings (7 per cent). 

Figure 2.3: Growth in Digital Collection Storage, January 2003 to June 2012

Figure 2.3: Growth in Digital Collection Storage, January 2003 to June

Figure 2.3: Growth in Digital Collection Storage, January 2003 to June 2012 Data in Table Format
Jan 0313
Jun 0316
Jan 0423
Jun 0432
Jan 0545
Jun 0551
Jan 0671
Jun 0677
Jan 07116
Jun 07122
Jan 08230
Jun 08305
Jan 09503
Jun 09572
Jan 10759
Jun 10917
Jan 111184
Jun 111266
Jan 121475
Jun 121566

Figure 2.4: Digital Collection Storage by Material, 30 June 2012

Figure 2.4: Digital Collection Storage by Material, 30 June 2012

Figure 2.4: Digital Collection Storage by Material, 30 June 2012 Data in Table Format
MaterialPercent (%)
Sheet Music1%
Oral history7%
Web archive19%
Australian newspapers65%

The Library also supports substantial infrastructure to enable the discovery of, and access to, its own and other collections. Figure 2.5 shows the growth in use of the Library’s webservices since 2000. Driven by the use of digitised Australian newspapers, Trove continues to experience strong growth in web activity.

Figure 2.5: Use of Web Services, 2000–11

Figure 2.5: Use of Web Services, 2000–11

Figure 2.5: Use of Web Services, 2000–11 Data in Table Format
Trove         310786118432481402584501330
Australian Newspapers        12419924753068053492511164152829364
Catalogue        21380115753068053492511164152829364
Australian Research        4669967837279335336907541796652
NLA Wiki      13800671209476510307014570262637406633850650
Libraries Australia    140918335227438156141581195239839213358983264255337246316177290817167
Digital Objects  5512896118133812198499931656145527598456921662088580428169505931178137380222568807
Music Australia  1663678459639665851221087914873097272953021165818131465406629803493584738262 
Picture Australia512230411899241198850362954302148973346485209759395273412894131681320018599632106006257694532898 
PANDORA  26059087274878246076409754577585616042202901206833306760314740454337879541724615 
Library website2904496879275403127625128177199968215584053224246870269718229281328169295036959380569508438628282559229937 

In accordance with the Australian Government’s Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy, Trove underwent an accessibility audit by Vision Australia. Following the successful completion of this work, Trove meets Level AA Success Criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, thereby allowing more users to fully engage and participate with the service.

Reliable IT infrastructure is essential to the Library’s digital storage and access services. Table 2.6 shows the year’s average availability of nine key service areas. The target availability of 99.5 per cent was met for all services, except Libraries Australia, which experienced outages due to performance issues with the software component licensed by the Library and also because of storage system problems. A project to replace the software module has commenced and the storage system will be replaced in 2012.

Table 2.6: Availability of Nine Key Service Areas, 2011–12
ServiceAvailability (%)




File and print












Digital Library



Corporate Systems



Document Supply



Libraries Australia






Under its asset management program, the Library continued to replace and upgrade IT infrastructure.

Important developments in the reporting period included:

  • completion of the software procurement phase of the Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement project
  • provision of additional storage capacity to support the growth of the Library’s digital collection and to enable a copy to be held on spinning disk, in keeping with efficient collection management and preservation processes
  • decommissioning of Picture Australia and Music Australia, as part of the transition to Trove
  • decommissioning of the general applications Solaris server, in response to the Library’s continuing transition to Redhat Unix as the preferred web-application delivery platform, which changed how a number of smaller legacy web-based services were delivered
  • procurement and configuration of equipment for an offsite Disaster Recovery Site to improve IT business continuity (email and web services) in the case of localised outages.

An energy sustainability review of the Library’s computer room identified a number of energy reduction measures that can be implemented in subsequent years.