Building our collections

The Library has an active acquisitions program to support its mission of maintaining and developing a comprehensive collection that documents Australian life and society. The Collection Development Policy provides the Library with an overall framework for the collecting of Australian and overseas materials.

Australian material

The Library acquires published and unpublished Australian material through legal deposit, donation and purchase.

Legal deposit

Copies of all works published in Australia are received by the Library under the legal deposit provisions (s201) of the Copyright Act, 1968 - which cover books, journals, maps, newspapers and printed music. Commonwealth, State and Territory Government publications are also received by deposit under a variety of special directives and circulars. Material issued in microform is normally purchased by the Library to supplement its collections in other material formats. Electronic formats, such as CD-ROM, are also acquired through voluntary deposit or purchased.

Donation

The Library's Australian collections have developed over time through generous donations and bequests. Some donations of culturally significant items are eligible as a tax deduction for the market value of the gift under the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.

For more information about donations to the Library, see How to donate collection material.

Purchase

Published and unpublished Australian materials are selectively acquired through purchase from library suppliers, private individuals and at auction. The decision to purchase is made at the discretion of the senior curator of the collection area, and is only considered for material of significant market or research value. All acquisition negotiations are carried out privately and terms of purchase are not disclosed.

Overseas material

Overseas material is acquired primarily through purchase from commercial vendors where material is supplied according to previously specified profiles. The Library (including the Regional Office in Indonesia) also selects material on a title-by-title basis to ensure that acquisitions are maintained in accordance with the Collection Development Policy. Publications of international organisations and world governments are deposited with the National Library as a regional centre - this includes material from the United Nations etc.

Recommend a title for acquisition

The Library has an active acquisitions program and welcomes comments or suggestions from anyone who wishes to recommend titles for acquisition. Please check the Library's catalogue and Collection Development Policy before emailing your suggestions to select@nla.gov.au or by post. All suggestions received are considered.

View our list of wanted items

You may be able to help us acquire wanted items - see our Acquisitions wish list.

Working collaboratively

The Library also works with our colleagues through the National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) as we acquire collections. We endorse the NSLA Collaborative Collections Principles.

In regard to digital collecting NSLA has developed a number of guiding documents. These include a Digital Collecting Framework and Principles of Digital Collecting outlining the way born digital collections are acquired and information on collecting these materials.

For owners of digital material NSLA had developed a Personal Digital Archive Toolkit to assist in preserving digital photographs, emails, recordings and documents. The toolkit also contains a short video Preserving Your Digital Treasures with further information.