Report of Operations

Outcome and Strategies

Performance reporting in this chapter is based on the Library’s outcome and four strategies set out in the Portfolio Budget Statement 2013–14. The Library has one outcome:

Enhanced learning, knowledge creation, enjoyment and understanding of Australian life and society by providing access to a national collection of library material.

In 2013–14, the Library achieved this outcome through its focus
on four strategic directions:

  • collect and preserve Australia’s documentary heritage;
  • make the Library’s collections and services accessible to all Australians;
  • deliver national leadership;
  • achieve organisational excellence.

Strategic Direction One: Collect and Preserve Australia’s Documentary Heritage

The Library collects Australian printed publications under the legal deposit section of the Copyright Act, as well as selected materials in other formats, including oral histories, manuscripts, pictures, maps and e-publications. The Library also harvests and archives a snapshot of the Australian internet domain (.au).

In 2013–14, the Library undertook to:

  • document Australia’s cultural, intellectual and social life by collecting, storing and preserving Australian print and digital publishing, personal papers, pictures, maps and oral histories;
  • inform Australians about their region and their place in the world through the Library’s Asian and other overseas collections.

Major Initiatives

Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement Project

Stage 1 of the DLIR project was completed in January 2014 and Stage 2 commenced in February. Stage 1 saw the implementation of the digitisation workflow component of the digital library core system, a new delivery interface for digitised books and journals, and implementation of the DocWorks system as the optical character recognition and content analysis software. Digitisation of books and journals began in early 2014 using the new system and by the end of the financial year, nearly 500 books, pamphlets and journals had been digitised.

Stage 1 of the DLIR implementation also covered digital preservation requirements. During the year, the Library procured a digital preservation management system, Preservica (formerly known as Safety Deposit Box), which operated in test mode in readiness for production mode in 2014–15. 

Legal Deposit for Electronic Publications

The Library worked with colleagues in the Ministry for the Arts and Attorney-General’s Department in the preparation of a Regulation Impact Statement on a proposed legal deposit scheme for electronic publications. Discussion was held on the content of the proposed legislation and its regulatory impact on publishers.

Move to Digital Collecting 

In 2013–14, the Library transferred more than 200 overseas print serial titles to digital subscriptions, building on the strategic move from print to digital collecting that commenced with the introduction of overseas e-books in 2012–13. The overseas e-book collection continued to grow and now comprises more than 1,550 titles, all of which are available for offsite access by registered Library users. Usage has increased steadily, with an average of more than 160 logins per month, of which almost 60 per cent are offsite via remote access. This change provided improved access particularly for users based outside Canberra.

The Library released the Australian Government Web Archive in March 2014. The archive enables searching and online access to Commonwealth government website content collected by the Library through annual harvests since 2011. It was a timely development as government publishing has substantially migrated online, with a 25 per cent decline in print monographs deposited. The harvesting of content via the Australian Government Web Archive was authorised by a whole-of-government agreement in 2010. The archive will provide access to this content until the later stages of the DLIR project, which will provide integrated discovery and delivery through Trove.

The development of the capacity to manage the acquisition and description of born-digital personal records progressed, with the successful transfer of digital collections of former Senator Bob Brown, historian Rupert Gerritsen and photographer Francis Reiss, and the development of associated policies, workflows and procedures. Digital manuscript systems are being trialled to ensure the continued accessibility and authenticity of digital records transferred to the Manuscripts Collection.

The ongoing shift from collecting film and paper-based photographs to digital photography continues, with 64 per cent of photographic acquisitions in 2013–14 being digital. 

Nearly all of the Oral History and Folklore Collection recordings are born-digital. Taking advantage of this, the Library has been developing systems and technologies which allow the automated or semi-automated ingest of digital audio collection materials and associated descriptive information, leading to improved processing efficiencies. Over the last ten years, the Library has more than doubled its acquisition of audio recordings to more than 1,900 hours in 2013–14, of which 903 hours were acquired by semi-automated ingest.

Issues and Developments

The Australian publishing community’s uptake of digital publishing has increased significantly over the last two years. The Library continued to receive offers from publishers to voluntarily deposit e-books, with over 100 offers this year. Further evidence was an increase in applications for Cataloguing-in-Publication records for e-books or dual-format publications, up from 4 per cent two years ago to over 25 per cent this year. 

The Library collected some 14,000 Australian print books during the year. A third were from government publishers and the remainder were acquired through the legal deposit provisions of the Copyright Act. Half of the legal deposit books acquired were published by the largest 20 commercial publishers, and the other half by individuals, micro-publishers and organisations. Large commercial publishers have moved rapidly into digital publishing in the last two years, with most large publishers now having digital imprints and publishing digital-only books in Australia. Australia’s highest volume publisher is the romantic fiction imprint Harlequin, which has a strong imprint exclusively publishing Australian authors in digital form. The amount of digital material deposited on physical media continues to decrease, representing the decline of physical media in digital publishing, where online services and direct-to-device distribution is replacing publishing on DVD or CD.

Should legislation for a revised legal deposit framework be passed in the coming year, the Library will work closely with publishers to communicate the proposed changes and prepare for the beginning of a new era in the operation of legal deposit in Australia. 

The Library became the second national library worldwide to have its policy decisions on RDA, the new international cataloguing rules, published in the RDA online toolkit. With the new standard now widely adopted in the English-speaking world, the Library will continue to advocate for the redevelopment of the Machine-Readable Catalogue (MARC) format, so that the intent of the new rules can be fully realised. This will make library catalogue records easier to produce, improve the user searching experience and enable library data to be shared in an open data environment.

In a year marked by the success of the Library’s Mapping Our World exhibition, it was pleasing to obtain donor funding to support two significant map preservation projects. With funding donated through a special appeal, a conservator was engaged to work on a collection of nineteenth-century atlases and maps of Australasia produced by the cartographer Frederick Proeschel (1809–1870). The works were extensively treated, including surface cleaning, fibre analysis, removal of varnish and repair to binding structures. 

The second project focused on the Library’s landmark acquisition in 2012–13 of Joan Blaeu’s Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus, a 1663 wall chart in its original unrestored state. Preservation staff carried out basic stabilisation to allow for its display in Mapping Our World, but additional treatment work is required to ensure the map’s long-term preservation. Following the successful appeal, the next step is to undertake a complete assessment of the map, including historical research and scientific examination to make treatment recommendations. 

The Library acquired many interesting and significant materials during the year. A selection of notable acquisitions is listed in Appendix I.

Performance

Data on the Library’s performance against deliverables and key performance indicators relating to storing, maintaining and cataloguing its collection is provided in the following tables (Tables 3.1 to 3.3) and figures (Figures 3.1 and 3.2).

Table 3.1: Develop, Store and Maintain the National Collection—Deliverables and Key Performance Indicators, 2013–14

 

Measure

Target

Achieved

Deliverables 

Collection items stored and maintained (no.)

6,544,000

6,582,833

Items catalogued or indexed (no.)

54,200

50,398

Key performance indicators

National collection—percentage of collection processing standards met (%)

95

91.70

National collection—percentage of specified storage standards met (%)

95

97.30

 Figure 3.1: Number of Collection Items Stored and Maintained

  Vertical bar graph showing the Number of Collection Items Stored and Maintained.

The target was met.

Table 3.2: National Collection—Storage (%)

Achieved

Achieved

Target

Target

2010–11

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

95.30

95

94

97.30

95

95

95

95

The target was met.

Figure 3.2: Number of Collection Items Catalogued or Indexed

 Vertical Bar graph showing the Number of Collection Items Catalogued or IndexedThe target was not met. Over recent years, acquisition numbers have trended downwards as fewer Australian print publications are produced and acquired and the Library implements its planned reduction of overseas collecting.

Table 3.3: National Collection—Processing (%)

Achieved

Achieved

Target

Target

2010–11

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

91.30

95

94

91.70

95

95

95

95

The target was not met. Increased staff movements and the resulting need for more refresher and other training has impacted on processing standards.

Strategic Direction Two: Make the Library’s Collections and Services Accessible to All Australians

The Library provides access to its collections for all Australians through services to users in the main building and nationally through online information services. Its reference and collection delivery services are provided to onsite users, and to those outside Canberra, via online services and the digitisation of selected collection resources. The Library also delivers a diverse annual program of exhibitions and events.

In 2013–14, the Library undertook to:

  • harness new and emerging opportunities in the digital environment—including the National Broadband Network with its reach to regional and remote communities;
  • support research and lifelong learning for all Australians by maximising online access to the Library’s collections and services.

Major Initiatives

Digitisation

The books and journals digitisation program entered a new phase in 2013–14 with the implementation of new systems and workflows. This built capacity for the Library to provide digitised books and journals in a contemporary interface. While only a small number of titles were available at the end of the financial year, books and journals content will grow over time, albeit at a more modest rate than digitised newspapers.

The newspaper digitisation partnership with the State Library of New South Wales continued this year with a further 3.6 million pages of newspapers digitised.

In May, the digitisation of the Fairfax Archive Glass Plate Collection was completed. The archive was a gift from Fairfax Media and the cleaning, re-housing, cataloguing and digitisation of the 18,002 items in the collection commenced in December 2012. All items are now accessible via the Library’s catalogue and Trove, as well as the Fairfax syndication website.

Reading Room Integration

Following extensive consultation with stakeholders and user groups, a detailed design for integrated reading rooms was completed in July 2013. Reader Services staff began the planning process to develop and prepare for new service models and access to collections in order to maintain the excellent services expected by onsite users. The Library anticipates maintaining normal operations throughout construction, with minimal disruption to users and visitors.

Issues and Developments

Manuscripts Collection Management

The project to review and improve workflows associated with the development and management of the Manuscripts Collection continued. An online acquisition portal was developed with associated webpages that provide a better experience for donors and greater efficiency for staff managing offers of Manuscripts Collection material. Procedures to manage incoming material were reviewed, ensuring acquisition and registration of new collections is efficient and timely. 

Online Access to Special Collections

The Library continued its focus on increasing the discoverability of and online access to special collections.

In December, catalogued pictures and manuscripts collections became available for online requesting with the implementation of e-callslips. This innovation means that all Library collection materials with a record in the online catalogue can be requested for use onsite from anywhere and at any time. To improve access to maps published in series, digitised graphical indices were created which identify the individual sheets held by the Library. This work has been completed for 1,200 maps series, enabling many thousands of individual sheets to be requested via e-callslips. 

Fifteen per cent of the Oral History and Folklore Collection (6,896 hours of recordings) is now delivered as full online audio from the Library’s website, Trove and other online aggregators, accompanied by time-pointed summaries and transcripts to assist navigation and discovery, where these exist.

Trove

Trove is now the primary means by which Australians discover and access the Library’s collection, and is a gateway to the collections of contributing Australian galleries, libraries, archives and museums. Newspaper digitisation continues to drive Trove’s content growth. However, strong growth has also been achieved for most resource types, especially archived websites, pictures, music and sound. More than 54 ABC Radio National programs, from Bush Telegraph to the Science Show, are available through Trove. 

Small regional museum collections from across Australia were added to Trove, for example those from the Tweed River Regional Museum and the Berrima District Historical & Family History Society. Specialty collections are also represented, with the Harry Daly Museum (from the Australian Society of Anaesthetists) and the Gold Museum of Ballarat added this year. Trove’s new content extends to corporate collections, such as those from the Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation and Australian Pork, and legal collections, including two Australian open access legal journals and a historic run of the Australian Government Solicitor’s Legal Opinions. 

Trove’s value to the Australian community was affirmed by a formal evaluation of user satisfaction. The study by Gundabluey Research confirmed that Trove has a truly national reach with usage generally proportional to Australian population by state, and by metropolitan, regional or rural place of residence. In addition to quantitative information, more than 200 pages of verbatim comments were captured. Those living in rural and regional areas commented that their sense of community identity was strengthened. Comments were also received on the way in which Trove has transformed the research landscape, making it cheaper and easier, opening up new content and enabling new methods of research. The survey has provided a rich seam of information for planning future development.

Work underway in 2013–14 will go a long way towards meeting system improvement needs identified by respondents. A major project to redevelop the Trove newspapers infrastructure was completed, providing much needed capacity and performance improvements, and some search interface updates. A new Drupal-based Trove Help Centre was also introduced.

Trove now has more than 131,000 registered users and averages 66,000 visitors each day, with much higher peaks (243,246 unique visitors on one day in May) when Trove content is posted by users on large social media sites. Trove users also enhance the service, contributing more than 50,000 lists and close to three million tags to date. Text correction by Trove’s digital volunteers has been valued at $22 million or more than 340 work years since Trove’s launch in November 2009.

Information and Research Services

The Ask a Librarian and Copies Direct services continue to be widely appreciated, particularly in regional Australia. Approximately 30 per cent of the use of both services consistently comes from people living outside the capital cities. In the words of our users: ‘Wow! The response to my enquiry was incredibly helpful and prompt. I’m very thankful for the assistance via email, especially as I am not based in Canberra’ and ‘Thank you so much for your efficient and easy to use online service. I have just updated my expired card, and the process was astonishingly easy and quick. The online services are wonderful and tremendously helpful to me’.

The Library continues to find ways to reach new audiences and encourage use of its information and research services by leveraging digital platforms. Ask a Librarian inquiries are now invited through social media channels. The inquiry service also has a presence within the Australian Wikipedia community through links to Ask a Librarian on every Australian-related article in the encyclopaedia. Work to create an Ask a Librarian presence within Trove, in collaboration with state and territory libraries, also continues.

Online Engagement

In 2013–14, the Library redeveloped its blogs (nla.gov.au/blogs) to better showcase the expertise of staff and the richness of the collection. Seven new blogs were created—Behind the Scenes, Trove, Exhibitions, Treasures, Web Archiving, Preservation and Fringe Publishing. Blogging output has increased fourfold with many more parts of the organisation able to tell their own stories and directly engage with the public.

The Library’s main Twitter account, @nlagovau, is now the seventh most followed account in the APS with over 20,219 followers, up from 14th position in June 2013 when comparative records began, making it the most followed national arts-related account. The Library’s Twitter presence was expanded beyond the existing @nlagovau, @TroveAustralia and @LibrariesAust accounts to include @NLAPandora (web archiving) and @NLAjakarta (Indonesian office). The Library’s Facebook account now has 9,439 Likes. Seven new themes were added to the Library’s Flickr Commons account in 2013–14. These included images on topics such as seasonal and lifestyle themes, as well as images of significant collection items such as the Enemark panoramas and the Library’s Underground Australia book. The total number of Library images now available is 634, and the account receives around 2,000 visits per day. 

The Treasure Explorer education website (treasure-explorer.nla.gov.au) continued to promote the Library’s collection by providing online activities and educational material for students, and resources and lesson plans for teachers. The site, which allows students and teachers to contribute socially and engage with Australian history, is also the portal for material featured in the Treasures Gallery. Treasure Explorer attracted 38,578 unique visitors during the reporting period.

Publications and Exhibitions

The Library published 20 new books promoting the collection, which were sold through more than 1,550 outlets in Australia and New Zealand and also online. Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia, published to accompany the Mapping Our World exhibition, was reprinted twice within the first three months of release, with over 12,000 copies sold. The Big Book of Australian History by Peter Macinnis was selected as an Eve Pownall Notable Book in the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards. Both An Eye for Nature: The Life and Art of William T. Cooper by Penny Olsen and The Australian Women’s Weekly Fashion: The First 50 Years by Deborah Thomas with Kirstie Clements sold over 75 per cent of the initial print run within the first four months of release. 

The Mapping Our World exhibition achieved success in the Museums Australia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards 2014, winning the exhibition branding section and sharing the exhibition poster award. Mapping Our World attracted 118,264 visitors and was the most successful exhibition ever held by the Library. The Treasures Gallery, the Library’s permanent display of collection highlights, also continued to be popular with the public, with a 39 per cent increase in visitor numbers compared with last year.

Performance

Performance data relating to access to the collection and service to users is provided as follows:

  • Table 3.4 shows deliverables and key performance indicators relating to access to the national collection and other documentary resources during 2013–14;
  • Figure 3.3 compares delivery of physical collection items to users against targets over the past four years;
  • Table 3.5 compares performance against the Service Charter over the same four-year period.

Table 3.4: Provide Access to the National Collection and Other Documentary Resources—Deliverables and Key Performance Indicators, 2013–14

 

Measure

Target

Achieved

Deliverables 

Physical collection items delivered to users (no.)

175,000

178,432

Key performance indicators

Collection access-—percentage of specified Service Charter standards met (%)

100

100

Figure 3.3: Number of Physical Collection Items Delivered to Users

  Vertical Bar Graph Showing The Number of Physical Collection Items Delivered to Users

The target was exceeded, largely due to the increased use of maps by onsite users. 

Table 3.5: Collection Access—Service Charter (%)

Achieved

Achieved

Target

Target

2010–11

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

100

100

99

100

100

100

100

100

The Service Charter standards were met.

Strategic Direction Three: Deliver National Leadership

The Library delivers national leadership by providing a range of IT services to Australian libraries and collecting institutions, and by leading and participating in activities that make Australia’s cultural collections and information resources more readily available to the Australian public and international communities.

In 2013–14, the Library undertook to:

  • provide national infrastructure to underpin efficient and effective library services across the country, and to support Australian libraries in the twenty-first-century digital world;
  • share knowledge and innovation experiences with the Australian and international cultural sectors and collaborate to respond to new challenges and opportunities.

Major Initiatives

Libraries Australia

The Australian National Bibliographic Database is Australia’s largest single bibliographic resource and lies at the heart of the Libraries Australia service suite. The database represents the holdings of more than 1,200 Australian libraries from all states and sectors and reached a milestone of 25 million records in January 2014. This achievement represents 32 years of leadership by the Library, and fruitful national collaboration. 

Use of the Libraries Australia service continues to grow. Work on a major redevelopment of the Libraries Australia search service was completed and made available to members in July 2014. This service is used by 1,200 Australian libraries to support their cataloguing and collection management workflows. The redevelopment included the replacement of the underlying software to deliver improved performance, capacity to support large-scale data quality improvement projects, and a more usable and efficient interface. 

Additional software innovations were completed, including automatic record duplication detection and removal (previously a manual task), and the capacity for Library staff to perform large-scale quality checks and changes that previously required assistance from third-party programmers. The Libraries Australia Document Delivery service also benefitted from a system upgrade to improve functionality and performance for members.

Another benefit to libraries participating in the Libraries Australia service is the global exposure of their collections via WorldCat, the world’s largest aggregator of bibliographic records, and Trove, which combines bibliographic records with digital and full-text resources including Australian newspapers. 

Trove

As the centenary of the First World War approaches, the value of the Trove application programming interface (API) in making Australian collection data available in re-usable forms has been realised through a number of projects undertaken by third parties across Australia and the world. The War Herald website displays each day’s war-related news from a century ago, drawing in content through the Trove API. On a much larger scale, Europeana has redeveloped its portal to First World War resources and now includes a federated search across collections from Europe, America, New Zealand and Australia, using the APIs of Europeana, Digital Public Library of America, DigitalNZ and Trove. This is an excellent example of the role played by aggregators such as Trove in offering the world an entry point to Australian collections.

The Library has taken a leadership role in showcasing the possibilities afforded by API access to large cultural datasets. After several years of advocacy and direct outreach to library audiences at workshops and conferences, Australian libraries are beginning to experiment with making their content available through multiple interfaces and developers continue to develop experimental interfaces to Trove content. These innovative uses of the Trove API are now featured in an application gallery as part of the new Trove Help Centre. Among them are TroveNewsBot, which was nominated for the 2014 Digital Humanities Awards, and Paper Miner, an experimental maps-based interface to Trove content developed by the Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre. Serendip-o-matic, a new tool for the exploration of cultural collections around the world, includes content sourced from Trove.

Trove continues to provide aggregated access to Australian research material and access was improved this year with one new repository added. Harvesting of this content has also been improved, and records are now tagged with Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council research identifiers where appropriate. This enables easier discovery of publicly funded research, and opens up new possibilities for exposing open access resources. For example, ePress open access books from the University of Technology, Sydney, can now be found in Trove and two new open access journals have recently been added.

National and State Libraries Australasia

The Library continues to work collaboratively on a range of projects aimed at transforming and aligning services offered by national, state and territory libraries so that the needs of Australians for access to library services in the digital age can be better met.

The Library is leading the NSLA Digital Preservation Group, which will drive digital capability development over the next decade or more. During the year, the group developed a joint statement on digital preservation, defined a matrix outlining the most important components of digital preservation systems, and developed a model for a technical registry and format library for NSLA libraries.

The Library is leading the NSLA Storage Management Group, which shares best practice in library storage through work such as developing a costing tool, standards, policy and practice. The Library also co-led projects on managing and providing access to very large collections of pictures and maps.

International Relations

From March 2014, Trove staff participated in regular teleconferences with content aggregator counterparts at Europeana, Digital Public Library of America and DigitalNZ. These meetings offer a significant opportunity to share knowledge and expertise, and learn from the experiences of Trove’s peer services on topics as diverse as business models, service impact assessment, managing rights, harvesting and metadata. 

Throughout the year, Library staff engaged in 88 initiatives to strengthen ties with other countries. These ranged from formal visits by ambassadors, politicians and senior colleagues from other cultural institutions to participation in conference programs as speakers, presenters or panel members, providing advice and sharing knowledge and expertise across a range of Library services, initiatives and activities. The Library also hosted visits by international colleagues and undertook visits to other international libraries and cultural institutions.

Issues and Developments

This was the first year in which cloud-related changes impacted on the Library’s role as a metadata aggregator.

Traditionally, individual libraries and other cultural organisations have installed and run a dedicated ILMS or CMS, and managed their own data storage, backup and security. Cloud-based systems have changed this paradigm, with systems and data managed by third parties and customers using web-based interfaces to interact.

The effects of these changes are apparent in both the Libraries Australia and Trove environments. Two cloud-based ILMS are in use by Libraries Australia members: one for large research libraries, and the other for small- to medium-sized libraries. While fewer than 40 of the 1,200 members have implemented cloud-based systems to date, considerable effort has been required to manage the significantly different data flows from these systems. The change has required investment of staff time and expertise, and processes are not yet fine-tuned, but the Library is nevertheless confident that the advent of these systems will, in time, improve the coverage and currency of Libraries Australia data. 

At least one cloud-based CMS, with capacity to share museum and gallery data using standards-based protocols, is now in use in Australia, resulting in a steady stream of small- and medium-sized museums and historical societies adding their collections to Trove. 

Performance

The following tables and figures show performance data relating to the Library’s goals for collaborative projects and services.

Table 3.6 shows deliverables and key performance indicators in relation to providing and supporting collaborative projects and services in 2013–14.

Table 3.6: Provide and Support Collaborative Projects and Services Deliverables and Key Performance Indicators, 2013–14

 

Measure

Target

Achieved

Deliverables 

Agencies subscribing to key collaborative services (no.)

1,441

1,425

Records and items contributed by subscribing agencies (no. in millions)

44.06

29.87

Key performance indicators

Collaborative services standards and timeframes (%)

97

99

Figure 3.4 depicts the changes over the last four years in the number of agencies subscribing to key collaborative services.

Figure 3.4: Number of Agencies Subscribing to Key Collaborative Services

  Vertical bar graph showing the number of Agencies Subscribing to Key Collaborative Services

The target was not met, due to the closure or amalgamation of an increasing number of state and Commonwealth government libraries during the year.

A comparison over the past four years of the number of records contributed by subscribing agencies is provided in Figure 3.5.

Figure 3.5: Number of Records and Items Contributed by Subscribing Agencies

 Vertical Bar graph showing the Number of Records and Items Contributed by Subscribing Agencies

The target was not met. The anticipated number of newspaper articles contributed to Trove was not achieved. During the year, one of the subscribing agencies scaled back its newspaper digitisation activity to meet adjusted priorities.

Table 3.7 shows performance against the standards and timeframes for collaborative services.

Table 3.7: Collaborative Services—Percentage of Specified Service Standards and Timeframes Met (%)

Achieved

Achieved

Target

Target

2010–11

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

96.60

98

98

99

97

97

97

97

The target was met.

Strategic Direction Four: Achieve Organisational Excellence

The Library aspires to develop the full potential of its staff to achieve the Library’s vision; integrate social and environmental goals into its governance and business operations; diversify its funding sources to support the need to deliver collections and services to all Australians; and maximise returns on government and private sector investment by managing financial resources effectively.

In 2013–14, the Library undertook to provide its staff with:

  • a work environment that promotes career development, work–life balance, and work health and safety;
  • the opportunity to participate in, and contribute to, sound governance arrangements and effective financial management.

Issues and Developments

Strategic Workforce Plan 

In 2013–14, activity focused on three priorities aimed at building staff capability, responding to change and developing digital competency and confidence in staff. The internal mentoring program was successfully reinvigorated, a diversity work experience program was developed, and a reflective senior leadership forum was established to assist with career sustainability and to help deliver major strategic initiatives and projects across the Library. The implementation of the Library Leadership Development Resource Kit and the launch of the Library’s Indigenous Employment Strategy were both proud and significant achievements. The introduction of the Interim Arrangements for Recruitment to the Australian Public Service has impacted the Library’s ability to manage staffing levels smoothly in 2014.

Work Health and Safety Management

The Library prioritised improving workplace health and safety. As well as implementing stronger governance regimes linked to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, there was a focus on training and awareness of issues including work–life balance, stress management and resilience, risk management, dealing with hazardous substances, working with contractors and first aid. The Library consolidated its work health and safety systems and processes. 

Environmental Management

In 2010–11, the Library set three-year targets for a reduction in electricity (-10 per cent), gas (-10 per cent) and water (-10 per cent) consumption. As a result of initiatives implemented, the Library achieved all of its targets except for water consumption. Electricity consumption was reduced by 15 per cent and gas consumption was reduced by 26 per cent. Water consumption was not able to be accurately measured due to a faulty ActewAGL water meter. While no target was set for a reduction in paper consumption in 2013–14, usage has decreased by 42 per cent since 2010–11.

The Library also commenced measuring waste to landfill over the period and has set new targets for the next three years for a reduction in electricity, gas, water and paper consumption, and waste to landfill. The major focus over the period will be to review climate control parameters for the collections and factor the required changes into the scheduled building plant and equipment upgrades over the period.  

Personal Giving, Philanthropic and Business Partnerships

In 2013–14, 26 per cent of Library revenue came from non-appropriation sources, including 1.2 per cent from personal giving and philanthropic partnerships.

Assisted by the Chair of Council and the Library’s Foundation Board, the Library raised $1.5 million in cash donations and sponsorship, and $2.42 million in in-kind support. A major priority was to raise funds and secure in-kind support for the international exhibition, Mapping Our World. In total, $4.8 million was realised in cash donations, sponsorship and in-kind support for the exhibition.

The Library has continued to develop stronger relationships with its donor communities, raising a combined total of $355,707 through its 2013 End of Year and 2014 Tax Time Appeals. These funds will support the preservation of Joan Blaeu’s map, Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus, preservation and digitisation of the Library’s small but significant collection of medieval manuscripts, and access programs for the Treasures Gallery. The Library’s repeat donors have increased from 355 to 375 and the number of Patrons (financial donors who have given $1,000 or more) has increased from 170 to 204. 

The Library also entered into fee-for-service partnerships with various state libraries to digitise collections, mostly newspapers. The value of the work undertaken in 2013–14 was $3.22 million.

Governance Arrangements

The Library has continued its sound governance practices. These include strategic plans and policies to manage the collection, workforce, buildings and other plant and equipment. No compliance issues were identified with respect to the CAC Act and no issues of significance were identified through external audit programs. The internal audit program confirmed two issues of significance which related to cost attribution of digitisation projects and the strategy for ingesting new digital content into the collection. Both issues are being addressed. Regular reporting was provided to Council and Government on major projects, and additional reports and processes were set in train to manage identified budget risks.

Individual performance management cycles were aligned to the financial year, to achieve better integration of performance and management with Government performance targets.

In consultation with the Australian National Audit Office and the Department of Finance, the Library continued improving the regime for valuing the collection asset. The Library developed cost-effective strategies which provide assurance to Council and Government of the collection asset’s value and ensure disclosures in the Financial Statements meet the requirements of the new accounting standard, AASB 13 Fair Value Measurement.

The Library prepared for the 1 July 2014 implementation of the PGPA Act. The Council, Audit Committee members and Library employees were provided with briefings, information and training. Policies, procedures and delegations were updated where necessary.

As part of the 2014–15 Budget, the Government announced a new savings measure to consolidate the back-office functions of various Canberra-based collecting institutions including the Library. The functions include accounts processing, payroll and records management. A future focus will be to ensure that the new arrangements meet the business needs of the Library.

Cross-agency Key Performance Indicators

Table 3.8: Summary of Results against the Cross-Agency Key Performance Indicators, 2013–14

Indicator

Result

Visitor interactions

Fully met

Participation in public and school programs

Not met

Quantity of school learning programs delivered

Not met

Visitor satisfaction

Fully met

Expenditure mix

Partially met

Collection management and access

Not met

The indicators where the targets were not met reflect the impact of increased staff movements and delays in replacing staff, particularly in the latter half of the reporting year.

Table 3.9: Cross-Cultural Agency Key Performance Indicators, 2013–14

Key Performance Indicators 1

Target

Actual

2014–15 Forward Estimates

2015–16 Forward Estimates

2016–17 Forward Estimates

Visitor interactions

Total number of visits to the organisation

939,000

1,276,552

888,000

960,000

915,000

Total number of visits to the organisation’s website in millions

34

46.60

36

38

41

Total number of onsite visits by students as part of an organised educational group

12,000

10,419

12,000

12,000

12,000

Participation in public and school programs

Number of people participating in public programs

415

528

415

395

395

Number of students participating in school programs

48,000

48,997

48,000

48,000

48,000

Quantity of school learning programs delivered

Number of organised programs delivered onsite

225

236

225

225

225

Number of program packages available online

4

4

4

4

4

Number of educational institutions participating in organised school learning programs

200

184

200

200

200

Visitor satisfaction

% of visitors that were satisfied or very satisfied with their visit

90

98

90

90

90

Expenditure mix

Expenditure on collection development (as a % of total expenditure)

32

30.20

30

30.70

31.70

Expenditure on other capital items (as a % of total expenditure)

9.80

8.30

13.70

11.30

8.20

Other expenditure (i.e. non-collection development)

Labour costs (as a % of total expenditure)

25.50

26.50

24.10

24.60

25.30

Other expenses (as a % of total expenditure)

 

32.70

 

35

 

32.10

 

33.50

 

34.80

Collection management and access

Number of acquisitions (made in the reporting period)

 

57,000

 

61,864

 

54,000

 

54,000

 

54,000

Total number of objects accessioned (in the reporting period)

47,000

43,793

47,000

47,000

47,000

% of the total collection available to the public

92

92.40

92

92

92

% of the total collection available to the public online

4.10

3.95

4.60

5.10

5.60

% of the total collection digitised

3.40

3.62

3.60

3.90

4.10

1 The national arts and cultural agencies are progressively implementing a range of cross-agency key performance indicators from 2012–13 to 2014–15 to facilitate standardised reporting to enable aggregation of data across the agencies.