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 2014–15. 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 2014–15, 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, e-publications and websites. The Library also harvests and archives a snapshot of the Australian internet domain (.au).

In 2014–15, 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

The benefits that the DLIR project will deliver for the Library’s digital collecting and preservation programs are being progressively achieved across all stages of the project, with major outcomes for the published collections expected in 2015–16 and 2016–17. This year saw completion of requirements for systems that will enable the ingest and management of published books and journals.

Testing of the Preservica digital preservation software management system continued and essential supporting policies, strategies and workflows were developed. 

Legal Deposit for Electronic Publications

The passage in June 2015 of the revised legislative provisions for legal deposit of electronic publications was the culmination of two-and-a-half years of intensive effort by senior Library staff together with colleagues from the Ministry for the Arts and the Attorney-General’s Department. The ability to collect electronic as well as physical Australian publications through the provisions of legal deposit makes it possible for the Library to properly fulfil its mission to collect and preserve the Australian publishing record.

The legislation provides for a unified approach to deposit of library material, whether in electronic form or printed. However, unlike print publications, which must be deposited within a month of publication, electronic publications would be required to be delivered on request, which would be done automatically in the case of web-based publications.

Since the legislation was first introduced to the Senate by the Attorney-General in October 2014, detailed work on policy, procedures and legal matters relating to the legislation has been completed. The passage of the legislation on the last sitting day of the winter session of Parliament came as a great relief to the legislation’s many stakeholders inside the Library. The new provisions will change a great deal about the Library as it goes about its core business: it will change the systems the Library develops; the services it can provide; and the relationships it has with Australia’s publishing community.

Turning to the legal deposit scheme’s many stakeholders outside the Library, it is anticipated that once the legislation comes into force, six months after royal assent is given, the new provisions will be introduced gradually. The Australian publishing community will need to be informed of the changes and given time to adapt to them. Advice and guidelines for publishers form the most important part of the Library’s communication plan. The Library will work closely with publisher groups to communicate and discuss the new collecting requirements.

Collecting

In the last seven years, the publishing and creative environments in Australia have seen many changes. In 2014–15, the Library began work on the revision of its 2008 Collection Development Policy in order to better reflect these changes and communicate its purpose as it builds rich, engaging and relevant collections available to Australians. The revised policy, which will be issued in the first quarter of 2015–16, will adopt a new approach in presenting general collecting principles that apply across collection formats and types, whether in print, electronic or another format, and across publications, pictures, manuscripts, music, maps, oral histories, ephemera, websites and many other forms of library material. The policy sets out the scope, priority and principles of stewardship of collecting activity.

The Library’s existing collection program of web publications took strides forward during the year with the significant expansion of the Australian Government Web Archive. During the year, Australian Government websites and web publications from 1996 through to 2015 were added to the archive, providing a comprehensive and unique publicly accessible archive of the Australian Government.

Issues and Developments

Collection Care and Preservation Policy and Strategic Plan

The Library completed a review of collection care and preservation activity. The review covered analogue and digital materials and outlined the existing state of the collection from a preservation point of view. It articulated best-practice principles in identifying a number of collection care strategies to be implemented over the next three years.

Digital Preservation Risk Assessment

Complementing the work done on collection care policy, a detailed risk assessment for the Library’s digital preservation program was completed. The risk assessment focused on content rather than file formats, and on the Library’s preservation master material—complete, authentic content in sustainable, high-resolution formats—rather than access copies. The assessment acknowledged that the Library’s multi-year DLIR program will incrementally address the majority of risks to digital collection material through staged implementation of digital preservation functionality, particularly the implementation of the digital preservation software management system, Preservica. The risk assessment also provided assurance about the Library’s approach to digital preservation, helped refine the priorities of the DLIR program and emphasised the ongoing need for the development of related policies and procedures, communication, and training.

Digitisation Policy and Strategic Plan

The focus of the Library’s digitisation program over the last three years has been newspaper digitisation, conversion of analogue oral history recordings to digital format and a varied program of in-house image-based digitisation, such as pictures, maps and music. The Library revised its digitisation policy and issued a new strategic plan setting out digitisation directions for the next three years. The new policy takes into account the value of external partnerships in building resource capacity to create new digitised content.

Discovery Services Master Plan

The Library developed a Discovery Services Master Plan in October 2014 to inform long-term directions in the provision of access to and discovery of the Library’s collections. The plan sets out principles and goals to guide Library decision-makers faced with many choices in a complex and fast-moving information environment.

Integrated Library Management System Replacement Project

The Library evaluated the market for replacement software products for its library management system. It was decided to replace the system in a phased sequence. The first phase is the procurement of a new discovery service to replace the Library’s existing Catalogue and e-Resources portal. A request for quotation was issued in April 2015 for the procurement of library discovery service software, with an announcement expected in the first quarter of 2015–16.

The second phase will see the replacement of the back-end library management system used by staff for acquisitions, cataloguing and collection control functions. This process will begin following the implementation of the discovery service.

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, 2014–15

 

Measure

Target

Achieved

Deliverables

Collection items stored and maintained (no.)

Items catalogued or indexed (no.)

6,640,000

52,000

6,732,555

49,023

Key performance indicators

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

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

95

 

95

90

 

97

Figure 3.1: Number of Collection Items Stored and Maintained 

2015 figure 3.1

The target was met.

Table 3.2: National Collection—Storage (%)

Achieved

Achieved

Target

Target

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

95

94

97

97

95

95

95

95

The target was met.

Figure 3.2: Number of Collection Items Catalogued or Indexed

2015 figure 3.2

The target was not met. Receipts of overseas monographs were lower than projected and therefore fewer records were loaded.

Table 3.3: National Collection—Processing (%)

Achieved

Achieved

Target

Target

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

95

94

92

90

95

95

95

95

The target was not met. Processing backlogs reported throughout the year were eliminated during the June quarter. However, recruitment delays and increased staff movements have contributed to the full-year outcome falling short of the target.

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 2014–15, 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

With the provision of new system infrastructure through the DLIR program, the Library’s capability has now extended to text-based digitisation, enabling commencement of large-scale digitisation of books and journals. Over 174,000 book pages and 59,600 journal pages were digitised and delivered to the public through Trove during the year.

Seventeen million pages of Australian newspapers have now been digitised and delivered through Trove, comprising over 700 newspaper titles from all Australian states and territories. In 2014–15, 3.89 million Australian newspaper pages were digitised and delivered through Trove. Contributed funds from libraries, historical associations, councils and other groups enabled the digitisation of 1.8 million of these pages or 46 per cent of the year’s output. The majority of this achievement (39 per cent of the total) is attributed to the State Library of NSW’s support through the NSW Government’s Digital Excellence Program.

The Library completed an eight-month project, supported by donations of $126,000 from the 2014 Tax Time Appeal, to preserve, digitise and enhance description of its collection of 12 volumes and 250 fragments of medieval manuscripts. The Library initiated collaboration with several medieval manuscript portals in Australia and overseas to further expose these intriguing items online.

Reading Room Integration Project

Significant business changes were required to integrate five formerly separate reading rooms into two enlarged and modernised spaces. Service models and workflows were adapted and standardised to meet new requirements and ensure a consistent user experience. Considerable change management and training was required for staff to build their knowledge across collections, coordinate procedures and consolidate a ‘one library’ approach to services for published materials and special collections. The complex movement of collection materials from multiple stacks to the new reading room spaces also required detailed planning across several branches.

The move of the newspapers and microforms service to the Ground Floor has enabled the Library to develop a Newspapers and Family History zone in response to user demand. These service changes are aligned to the new public spaces, with the extended Main Reading Room integrating access and service points across published materials, and a high level of integrated access and user support for special collections and advanced researchers on the First Floor.

Issues and Developments

Collection Delivery

The number of collection items delivered to users was 19 per cent lower than 2013–14, although trends vary within this total.

A change to the measurement of collection delivery onsite has been the principal factor behind the reduction. In preparation for integrated reading rooms, the Library changed its method of deriving onsite collection use statistics to ensure consistency. Usage statistics are now derived from circulation data in the Voyager library management system, made possible because e-call slips were enabled for the Pictures and Manuscripts collections in preparation for integration. In the previous five separate reading rooms, there had been a mix of manual- and system-derived usage statistics; there had also been some inconsistent counting of individual items. Other contributing factors to reduced onsite collection use include 2014–15 Budget measures, such as the cessation of Saturday stack services and the closure of reading rooms on all public holidays. The introduction of pay parking in the Parliamentary Zone from October 2014 has also led to a reduction in visitation to the Library’s reading rooms and contributed to reduced collection usage.

Offsite collection delivery via interlibrary loan and document supply trended a little better than onsite delivery. Interlibrary loan and document supply requests from libraries fell by 5 per cent on the previous year, whereas demand for copies of collection material from individuals through the Copies Direct service remained steady.

Trove

Trove provides access to the Library’s own digital collections, as well as to the digital collections of other organisations. Staff across the Library have worked hard to conceptualise and commence implementation of new Trove-branded digital delivery systems, together with connections between these systems and the Trove search interface. The aim of this work is to provide a consistent user experience across discovery, delivery and engagement with all Library-managed digital content. As the Library’s capacity to digitise and deliver more complex content—such as books and journals—increases, so does the complexity of maximising discoverability of the Library’s collections.

Trovember, a month of celebrations for Trove’s 5th birthday, ran throughout November 2014. Trovember featured two major public events, THATCamp Canberra and Troveia, as well as focused social media activities. THATCamp Canberra presented an excellent opportunity for the Trove team to discuss opportunities for innovative digital research using Trove data and to consider ways in which the service might be developed in the future. Troveia was an online trivia competition where all the answers could be found in Trove.

Exhibitions

The Library’s galleries continue to inspire visitors. To open the exhibiting year, the Library revealed the art, artistic development and influence of the important Australian modernist, J.W. Power, in Abstraction–Création: J.W. Power in Europe 1921–1938. The exhibition then travelled to the Museum of Modern Art at Heide in Melbourne. It was followed by the Library’s contribution to the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War, Keepsakes: Australians and the Great War, which has moved and impressed visitors. The calibre and variety of items presented in the Treasures Gallery maintains its strong appeal. The public and critical response to the Rothschild Prayer Book, presented with several of the Library’s medieval manuscripts, has been most enthusiastic.

Community Programs

The Library’s community programs include events and education programs, teacher professional development and Patron and Friends events. A variety of programs were offered onsite for all ages, from Storytime to seminars, author talks to film screenings and concerts. Research in January 2015, in association with the WordPlay pop-up children’s space, identified that 29.3 per cent of survey respondents were first time visitors to the Library. School visits came from across Australia, with 78 per cent of group visits originating from outside the ACT. Many of these were first time visitors, with 28.5 per cent of schools surveyed indicating they had not visited the Library previously.

Over the year, research by the James and Bettison Treasures Curator has been communicated to diverse audiences, to increase awareness of how the Library’s collections contribute to a broader understanding of our history. Interpretation of the collections has continued with many appreciative readers and visitors participating in symposia, talks and lectures.

Online Engagement

In 2014–15, the News zone on the Library’s website underwent redevelopment to align it with the Library’s new Online Identity Guidelines. This provided an opportunity to reorganise online media content, including news, media releases, press kits and podcasts. The redevelopment has ensured that content is more visually appealing and navigation is easier.

Blogs were also subject to a thorough analysis and further development and consolidation to better showcase the expertise of staff and the richness of the collection. Blogging output has increased again this year and has proven to be a strong source of content for all Library communications.

An editorial group has developed a collaborative approach to content on the homepage, with new content appearing every three weeks, ensuring a dynamic experience for online users.

Social media is a significant and successful way of broadening the Library’s demographic reach and raising awareness of and engagement with the Library’s programs, services and collection. Forty-two thousand people follow the Library on Twitter. The Library’s Twitter presence continues to grow through @TroveAustralia (10,063 followers), @LibrariesAust (2,142), @NLAPandora (443) and @NLAjakarta (624). The main Twitter account, @nlagovau, is the eighth most followed account in the APS. The Library’s Facebook page is liked by more than 15,000 people from around the world, making it one of the most popular accounts for an Australian cultural institution. Our recent addition of Instagram has attracted more than 1,100 followers in its first six months. The Library’s blogs and e-news (57,000 subscribers) are popular sources of information about items in the collection, behind-the-scenes work and events at the Library.

Digital volunteering on Trove, in the form of newspaper text correction, addition of tags and comments, and creation of user-generated lists, continued to grow, with all user engagement features showing increases of between 23 and 30 per cent, and more than 164 million lines of newspaper text corrected during the year.

The Treasure Explorer education website promotes the Library’s collections by providing online activities and educational material for students, and resources and lesson plans for teachers. Treasure Explorer attracted 52,188 unique visitors during the year. However, with the site requiring significant enhancement to meet accessibility standards, a new Digital Classroom was developed. Over the next 12 months, Treasure Explorer content will be transferred to the Digital Classroom. The Digital Classroom was made possible by donations received through the 2014 Tax Time Appeal.

Publications and Sales

The Library published 17 new books promoting the collection, which were sold through more than 1,800 outlets in Australia and New Zealand and also online. Five books sold through their first print run and were subsequently reprinted, including: An Eye for Nature: The Life and Art of William T. Cooper by Penny Olsen; The Australian Women’s Weekly Fashion: The First 50 Years by Deborah Thomas; This Is Captain Cook by Tania McCartney, illustrated by Christina Booth; The Big Book of Australian History by Peter Macinnis; and Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly, illustrated by Robert Ingpen.

Collaborative publications included Louisa Atkinson’s Nature Notes by Penny Olsen, published in association with the State Library of New South Wales, and Sasha Grishin’s S.T. Gill and His Audiences, published with the State Library of Victoria (and a recipient of Gordon Darling Foundation funding).

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 2014–15;

  • 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, 2014–15

 

Measure

Target

Achieved

Deliverables

Physical collection items delivered to users (no.)

165,600

144,897

Key performance indicators

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

100

99

Figure 3.3: Number of Physical Collection Items Delivered to Users

 2015 figure 3.3

The target was not met. Factors contributing to the result include: the move to a more consistent method of counting items, derived from the Voyager cataloguing system, which was introduced with the integration of the reading rooms; cessation of Saturday stack services; public holiday closures; and reduced visitation arising from pay parking.

Table 3.5: Collection Access—Service Charter (%)

Achieved

Achieved

Target

Target

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

100

99

100

99

100

100

100

100

The Service Charter standard was not met. Standards for reference inquiries responded to and website availability were met. The collection deliveries standard was not met during the busiest quarter of the year and this result had an impact on the full-year average not being achieved.

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 2014–15, 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 Libraries Australia service is used by Australian libraries to support their cataloguing and collection management workflows. 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 contains over 26.5 million records. Following the introduction in March 2013 of the new cataloguing standard, Resource Description and Access (RDA), a major milestone was reached in March 2015, with over one million RDA records represented on the national database.

Redevelopment of the Libraries Australia search service was completed in July 2014, delivering greatly improved processing performance, new functionality and a modern and well-received user interface. Increased use of software to support automatic record duplication detection and removal, and data enrichment, together with additional activities to enhance metadata quality, have benefited all participating libraries. An initiative to reassess manual intervention and focus on deploying automated data quality improvement tools eliminated the backlog of records set aside for human reviewing and increased timely access to quality data for participating libraries.

These improved processing tools have allowed libraries to more easily contribute their local collections to Libraries Australia, before flowing to WorldCat, the world’s largest aggregator of bibliographic records, and Trove, the national discovery service.

Trove

In addition to a significant increase in the volume of the digital content delivered directly via Trove, the year has seen an increase in the number and diversity of organisations contributing metadata so that their digital collections can be discovered via Trove. While museum content has been a particular focus, contributions have increased from other sectors, including galleries, libraries, archives and government departments. Thirty new contributors joined the Trove community during the year, of which 20 were museums.

Library staff have made innovative use of harvesting tools to expand the range of resources that can be discovered through Trove. Many potential content partners do not have the technical capacity to provide resources in a standard form. Work with major contributors, such as ABC Radio National, enabled the Library to develop skills and methods that can be used with a broader range of content sources, opening up new opportunities for collaboration and accelerating the rate at which new contributors can be added.

Trove now includes an important collection of images from the Australian Paralympic Committee. The images were harvested from Wikimedia Commons and cover the history of the Paralympic movement, mostly dating from the Sydney 2000 Paralympics onwards, with a small number documenting the early history of the Paralympic movement, including the 1962 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games team photograph. Content documenting Australia’s political history has also received a boost. New and updated collections in Trove include: biographies and press releases from the Australian Parliamentary Library; records from the Sydney’s Aldermen website, developed by the City of Sydney; records from the Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate; and archives from the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.

The Library has collaborated with universities and funding agencies to improve access to Australian research via Trove, advising university repositories on the inclusion of grant identifiers in their records. When harvested, these identifiers can be searched, making it easy to find research publications funded by a particular grant or agency. The National Health and Medical Research Council has used the Trove Application Programming Interface (API) to build a custom search interface that highlights research funded through their programs. Building on its existing researcher identification infrastructure, the Library has added more than 5,000 profiles of Australian researchers from the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) service. ORCID identifiers are widely used within the research sector and are supported by funding agencies. By including ORCIDs, the Library further integrates its efforts with national research infrastructure and offers another pathway for discovering Australian research.

While much has been gained by increasing community awareness of the benefits of joining Trove, some improved policy and technical capacity across the collecting sector, and innovative use of technology by staff, the Library’s capacity to increase or continue its unfunded work beyond the library sector is limited. It will be further constrained in out years unless a sustainable business model can be established to cover the costs of aggregating and maintaining contributor metadata, and making the national collection discoverable through high-performance infrastructure accompanied by interfaces that meet the needs of a broad cross-section of the Australian community.

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 co-led a work package to analyse pictures digitisation and description workflows in NSLA libraries. Data was analysed, a survey undertaken and site visits to four institutions identified potential for improvements and created a model to enable greater efficiency.

The NSLA Digital Preservation Group collaborated with a group of international partners to submit a project funding bid to the European Commission Horizon 2020 program for a common technical registry of file formats with software and hardware dependencies. While the bid did not succeed at the first attempt, it is now being reworked for submission in 2016.

Meanwhile, it is pleasing to note that the Digital Preservation Environment Maturity Matrix, developed by the NSLA Digital Preservation Group with considerable input from the Library, has been adopted by national, state and territory government record-keeping institutions in Australia.

The newly formed NSLA Legal Deposit Group has focused its efforts on achieving common approaches and synergies in the management of legal deposit in NSLA libraries, covering collecting approaches, legislation, promotion and relations with publishers. During the year, a centralised website was released containing up-to-date information on legal deposit for publishers in all states and territories. Good progress was made on a further work package on the legislative and regulatory frameworks for the legal deposit of born-digital publications. A survey was conducted and an indicative proposal developed for a project exploring collaboration to facilitate joint deposit by publishers for libraries with existing legislation.

The Library has two representatives on the NSLA Digital Skills Working Group. The group identified a need for digital skills development at the practitioner, intermediate and specialist staff levels among member libraries’ staff. The group assessed available programs and selected a week-long training program on ‘digital fundamentals’—digital collecting and digital preservation—delivered by the United States Library of Congress Digital Preservation Office. The course was held in June 2015 for 24 NSLA library participants. It took a ‘train the trainer’ approach, with participants to develop and present modules in their own libraries in the following months. The work of the Digital Skills Working Group in 2016 will build on the digital fundamentals course, with the next round to focus on practitioners’ requirements, including investigation of ingest and preservation systems. There could also be opportunities to share the curriculum with other parts of the gallery, library and museum sectors in various states and regions.

The Library is leading the NSLA Storage Management Working 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.

A review of the NSLA e-Resources Consortium concluded that the consortium offers members direct savings on subscription costs, internal business process savings and a range of valuable intangible benefits. NSLA CEOs affirmed the consortium’s ongoing value and endorsed continuation of the consortium—under the Library’s management—until 2018–2019.

GovHack 2014 was held across Australia on the weekend of 11–13 July. GovHack is a national competition aimed at encouraging the creation of innovative applications using open government data. Once again, NSLA sponsored a prize for the best use of the Trove API. In return, Trove’s value was recognised by receiving the GovHack award for ‘Highest Voted Government Data’.

International Relations

Library staff engaged in more than 1,500 new and ongoing contractual collaborations with national and international cultural and educational institutions. The collaborations include Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the national libraries of China, Taiwan, India and Spain, and an MoU to join the Recognition and Enrichment of Archival Documents (READ) consortium, which aims to develop a production system for handwritten text recognition (the equivalent of optical character recognition). The consortium cited the Library’s newspaper text correction achievements as an exemplar of innovation in its funding application and welcomed our inquiry about participating in the consortium.

Throughout the year, Library staff engaged in 98 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, and 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

The Library continued to respond to a wave of libraries migrating to cloud-based library management systems, requiring new ways of facilitating metadata aggregation into Libraries Australia. Working directly with two major system vendors has significantly improved the currency and coverage of Australian library holdings on the Australian National Bibliographic Database, with an additional one million bibliographic records now discoverable via Libraries Australia and Trove. New and existing audiences have re-engaged with the Libraries Australia service through a refreshed approach to working with groups of libraries clustered around common library management systems. One tangible outcome of this approach is that 18 libraries from an under-represented sector have joined Libraries Australia and added 0.5 million new records to the national database.

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 relating to the provision and support of collaborative projects and services in 2014–15.

Table 3.6: Provide and Support Collaborative Projects and Services—Deliverables and Key Performance Indicators, 2014–15

 

Measure

Target

Achieved

Deliverables

Agencies subscribing to key collaborative services (no.)

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

1,461

35.06

1,429


54.96

Key performance indicators

Collaborative services standards and time frames (%)

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

2015 figure 3.4

The target was not met, due to the closure or merger of an increasing number of Commonwealth and state 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

2015 figure 3.5

The target was exceeded, due to increased newspaper digitisation and the loading of several million records to Libraries Australia by libraries migrating to cloud-based library management systems.

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

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

Achieved

Achieved

Target

Target

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

2017–18

98

98

99

99

97

97

97

97

 The target was exceeded.

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 2014–15, 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

The Library extended the existing Strategic Workforce Plan to conclude at 30 June 2015. This enabled the Strategic Workforce Plan to align with corporate planning in a four-year financial year cycle. Initiatives this year have focused on continuing modular leadership training, expanding the mentor program and implementing the digital confidence strategy.

Work Health and Safety Management

The Library’s commitment and progress in relation to creating and sustaining healthy workplaces continues to be demonstrated with bimonthly and annual reports to Council and CMG and regular reports on its Work Health and Safety Management System, the Rehabilitation Management System and the Health and Wellbeing Program.

An internal audit reviewed the Library’s due diligence framework and work health and safety in relation to compliance with legislative requirements in accordance with better practice. The audit identified that the Library has a comprehensive set of work health and safety related policies and procedures, providing a solid platform to strengthen and streamline practices and enhance performance reporting.

Environmental Management

The Library is committed to improving environmental performance across all areas of operations. An Environmental Policy and Environmental Action Plan guide the Library’s work. The Environmental Management System helps to set, implement and review objectives and targets.

The Library incorporates sustainable development principles into major projects. For example, the construction of the new Special Collections Reading Room made use of: energy-efficient lighting, including LEDs; sustainable building materials, such as recycled insulation; sustainable flooring, such as renewable and recycled marmoleum and recyclable carpets; and existing heritage furniture where possible. The head contractor is reporting to the Library on volumes of waste recycled, and energy and water consumption on site.

In 2014–15, the Library achieved re-accreditation with the ACTSmart Office Recycling program, a best-practice program on managing waste, and won an ACTSmart business sustainability award, for being the Biggest Recycler—diverting the most waste from landfill to recycling.

Personal Giving, Philanthropic and Business Partnerships

In 2014–15, 24 per cent of Library revenue came from non-appropriation sources, including 1.1 per cent from personal giving and philanthropic partnerships.

Assisted by the Chair of Council and the Library’s Foundation Board, the Library raised $731,000 in cash donations and $2.48 million in in-kind support, including donations of collection material.

A major priority was to raise funds to support new National Library Fellowships in 2015–16. Four annual fellowships have been supported by generous donors over the next three financial years. As well as individuals and a foundation pledging to support the fellowships, two syndicates—of Council and former Council members, and of Patrons—have been established.

The Library has continued to develop stronger relationships with its donor communities, raising a combined total of $201,069 through its 2014 End of Year and 2015 Tax Time appeals. These funds will support the preservation and digitisation of the Library’s small but significant collection of currency and support and develop our free national discovery service, Trove. The Library’s repeat donors have increased from 375 to 466 and the number of Patrons (financial donors who have given $1,000 or more) has increased from 204 to 279.

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 2014–15 was $2.96 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 PGPA Act and no issues of significance were identified through external audit programs. The internal audit program identified no issues of significance. 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.

The Library implemented changes required by 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 Australian 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 continuing focus will be to establish arrangements that best position the Library in the emerging contestability and common services environment.

Cross-Agency Key Performance Indicators

With only a few exceptions, the Library fully met or exceeded its performance targets for the cross-agency key performance indicators. The targets for indicators reporting onsite visits by students, the number of educational institutions participating in Library programs and the number of school learning programs delivered were not met. In 2014–15, a shift in focus to developing and delivering more online educational programs for a national audience resulted in evening programs for school groups being discontinued, and onsite school group tours being available from Tuesday to Thursday only.

Table 3.8 lists the Library’s results against the cross-cultural agency key performance indicators.

Table 3.8: Cross-cultural Agency Key Performance Indicators, 2014–15

Key Performance Indicators 1

2013–14
Actual

Actual

Target

2015–16
Forward Estimates

2016–17
Forward Estimates

2017–18
Forward Estimates

Visitor interactions

Total number of visits to the organisation

1,276,552

1,234,200

918,000

934,000

874,000

874,000

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

46.60

28 2

24

26

27

29

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

10,419

7,340

10,400

10,400

10,400

10,400

Participation in public and school programs

Number of people participating in public programs

528

517

400

380

370

360

Number of students participating in school programs

48,997

56,588

46,400

46,400

46,400

46,400

Quantity of school learning programs delivered

Number of organised programs delivered onsite

236

180

225

225

225

225

Number of program packages available online

4

7

6

8

10

12

Number of educational institutions participating in organised school learning programs

184

143

200

200

200

200

Visitor satisfaction

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

98

97

90

90

90

90

Expenditure mix

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

30.2

28.3

29.2

28.4

30

29.8

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

8.3

12.9

12

14.4

9.3

9.9

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

Labour costs
(as a % of total expenditure)

26.5

25.6

25.1

24.7

26

25.7

Other expenses (as a % of total expenditure)

35

33.3

33.7

32.5

34.7

34.6

Collection management and access

Number of acquisitions (made in the reporting period)

61,864

137,170

50,000

50,000

50,000

50,000

Total number of objects accessioned (in the reporting period)

43,793

42,667

43,000

43,000

43,000

43,000

% of the total collection available to the public

92.4

93

92

93

93

93

% of the total collection available to the public online

3.95

5.3

4.4

4.8

5.2

5.6

% of the total collection digitised

3.62

3.73

3.7

3.9

4.1

4.3

1 The national arts and cultural agencies have progressively implemented 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.

2 From July 2014, online usage is reported using Google Analytics. Previously, usage had been reported using AWStats.