1. Introduction

1.1 The National Library of Australia’s Strategic Directions 2012-2014 document includes the following key objective:

‘Enrich understanding of what it is to be Australian through our exhibitions, publications and community programs.’ (Strategic Direction 2: Make Our Collections and Services Accessible to All Australians)

It is within this context that the Library’s publishing program for print and electronic publications is developed and implemented.

2. Objectives

2.1 Publications produced by the National Library of Australia contribute to the Library’s aims of supporting the vitality of Australian culture and heritage, demonstrating a strong national focus in all of the Library’s services, products and programs and exposing the depth and breadth of the Library’s collections and services to all Australians.

2.2 Publications affirm the Library’s role in supporting scholarship and other creative and intellectual activity within Australia. They selectively interpret the Library’s collections in order to contribute to an understanding of Australian history and culture; they promote knowledge and use of the Library’s resources; and they promote the richness and diversity of the Library’s collections.

2.3 The National Library aims for its collections to be widely used and disseminated and recognises that publishing material from, or related to, its collections, either electronically or in print, is an important way of achieving this goal.

2.4 For the purposes of this policy, a publication is any published work that has been researched, edited, designed and produced for sale and/or distribution to the general public through print or electronic media.

3. The Publications Committee

3.1 The publishing program is overseen by a Publications Committee, chaired by the Director-General. The role of the Committee is to provide strategic direction for the publishing program and to consider key operational matters. The Publications Committee is also responsible for considering new credible publishing proposals. ‘For sale’ titles may only proceed after consideration of the expected costs and, where relevant, the likely write-down on publication and/or revenue projections.

4. Categories of Publication

4.1 Two different categories of publications—‘for sale’ or trade, promotional or corporate—will be produced and distributed.

4.2 The ‘for sale’ or trade publishing program will be primarily based on the Library’s collections, with a particular emphasis on the Australian collections. For example, titles may draw on the Library’s Oral History, Pictures, Manuscript, Newspaper, Ephemera, Map and Music collections. Titles will be released through the book trade with appropriate media publicity surrounding the releases. This publishing program may also include a range of merchandise, such as greeting cards, wrapping paper and gift cards. When considered appropriate, ebook versions of these ‘for sale’ books will be produced and sold through online third party providers. Currently, the Library does not publish adult fiction. However, the children’s list may include fiction where it is deemed appropriate and a market demand exists.

4.3 Promotional and corporate publications will be aimed at a wide range of groups and stakeholders, from the general public to the library community. Their aim will be to promote and raise awareness of the Library’s role, its collections and services, the Library building, and to keep the community informed and updated on the Library’s policies and programs. Promotional publications include the Library Magazine, brochures, pamphlets, corporate publications such as the Annual Report and online versions of these publications.

4.4 An advance ‘for sale’ or trade titles list will require corporate approval one to three years ahead of publication. This will normally be achieved through the presentation of publication proposals for the consideration of the Publications Committee.

4.5 The publishing program will support and complement other Library activities, including public programs such as exhibitions, events, education, Friends activities and fellowships.

4.6 Library publications will maintain high editorial and design standards and high standards of research and presentation. The publishing program will aim to produce well-made, long-lasting publications in a variety of formats, including electronic formats, making use of the best available material that budgets permit.

4.7 While recognising that the Library’s publishing program emphasises the delivery of high-quality products appropriate to the Library’s strategic objectives, rather than strictly commercial imperatives, the trade publishing program will also aim to maximise the return of revenue to the Library from sales.. The use of trust funds to underwrite publications will be on an exception only basis due to the opportunity cost and impact on the Publications revenue target. Most promotional titles will be distributed on a gratis basis in order to meet Library objectives.

4.8 Library staff may submit proposals for Library publications. All rights in material researched and developed by Library staff in the course of their duties will be the property of the National Library of Australia.

4.9 All publications will comply with Australia’s copyright and moral rights legislation and will carefully and ethically address issues relating to culturally sensitive material.

5. Related Guidelines

5.1 Decisions about the annual publishing program will be made with reference to the Publishing guidelines.

6. Outputs

6.1 Projected annual outputs will be set at the beginning of each financial year based on prior commitments, available resources and corporate priorities.

7. Performance

7.1 Performance will be determined by:

  • measuring against projected outputs
  • revenue measured against projections
  • the nature of reviews and other media coverage achieved
  • conducting formal evaluations
  • comparing products and services against approved benchmarks and standards
  • assessing solicited and unsolicited comments.

8. Review

8.1 This policy will be reviewed at least every two years, or more frequently if deemed necessary