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


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 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.


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 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






Physical collection items delivered to users (no.)



Key performance indicators

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



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 (%)




















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.