This Charter sets out the standard of service you can expect from the National Library of Australia. With your assistance and feedback, we seek to continuously improve our service to the Australian community by responding to the changing needs of our users, by providing access to the nation’s library collections and services and by safeguarding our heritage building for future generations.

Anne-Marie Schwirtlich
Director-General

Who we are

The National Library of Australia is one of several agencies within the Ministry for the Arts, which is part of the Attorney-General's Department, with responsibility for maintaining and disseminating Australia’s cultural heritage. The Library’s role, as defined by the National Library Act 1960, is to ensure that documentary resources of national significance relating to Australia and the Australian people, as well as significant non-Australian library materials, are collected, preserved and made accessible either through the Library or through collaborative arrangements with other libraries and information providers. By offering a strong national focus in all that we do and cooperating with others who share our goals, we support learning and creative and intellectual endeavour and contribute to the vitality of Australian culture and heritage.

Serving you

Our staff are dedicated to meeting your information needs. We do this by making our collections and services available via the Library’s website where possible, delivering an extensive range of onsite services and offering a telephone, fax and online enquiry service. Visitors can use the Library’s collections in the reading rooms or explore the current exhibitions.

The Library recognises it serves a national audience and, where possible, is making its collections and services available online. Offsite users can access a range of digital collections, online services and information about the Library by visiting our website at nla.gov.au. We make every effort to ensure that the content of the website is current, well organised and reflects the full spectrum of our services to onsite and offsite users. We strive to make the website user-friendly and accessible to a broad range of users, including those who are unable to use the latest technology or who have disabilities that inhibit access.

To achieve our aim of providing rapid, easy and equitable access to the nation’s information resources to the widest possible number of people, we:

  • assist users to locate material held in the National Library and all Australian libraries by providing a range of online discovery services
  • assist users to directly access online information by digitising items from our collections and subscribing to electronic journals, newspapers and other electronic
    data sets
  • lend eligible items from our collections for use at a local library or supply a copy under the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968
  • supply copies of material held in the National Library’s collection directly to individuals under the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968
  • acquire material on loan from other libraries for use in our reading rooms
  • interpret our collections and make them accessible through onsite, travelling and online exhibitions, publications, public events and education programs
  • ensure that our services comply with accessibility standards and requirements.

Our service standards

You can expect a quick, effective and courteous response whenever you approach us. To satisfy your information needs using the most current and authoritative sources, we strive to:

  • deliver 90% of items stored onsite within 45 minutes
  • deliver 90% of items requested from our rare or secure collections within two hours of designated cut-off times
  • deliver 90% of items requested from our offsite store within two hours of designated cut-off times (see nla.gov.au/infoserv/stacks.html); waiting times can be minimised by pre-ordering material through the electronic callslip system (see nla.gov.au/catalogue/
    infosheet.html)
  • respond to 90% of information and research enquiries within one week of receipt; more complex enquiries may take up to four weeks
  • dispatch items or copies of documents requested through a local library within four working days of receipt of request for the standard service or within two hours to one day, depending on the level of the priority service required
  • dispatch 75% of copies directly to individuals through the Copies Direct Service within five working days for standard requests and within three days for priority service
  • ensure that the Library’s website at nla.gov.au is available 99.5% of time (24 hours a day, seven days a week).

Opening hours

When visiting the Library in person you can use the reading rooms and access our collections during the following hours for most of the year:

Main and Petherick reading rooms

Opening hours

  • Monday to Thursday, 9 am-9 pm
  • Friday, Saturday, 9 am-5 pm
  • Sunday, 1.30-5 pm
  • Public holidays, closed

Book delivery times

  • Monday to Thursday, 9 am-5 pm
  • Friday, 9 am-3:45 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, no book delivery service

These delivery times refer to material from print collections held onsite. For offsite storage and material held in special format collections, refer to nla.gov.au/collection-delivery-times.

Newspapers and Microforms reading room

Opening hours

  • Monday to Saturday, 9 am-5 pm
  • Sunday & public holidays, closed

After-hours access to some collection material is possible by prior arrangement up to 30 minutes before closing time.

Pictures and Manuscripts, Asian Collections and Maps reading rooms

Opening hours

  • Monday to Friday, 9 am-5 pm
  • Weekends and public holidays, closed

After-hours access to some collection material is possible by prior arrangement up to 30 minutes before closing time.

User feedback

The Library appreciates your feedback. We will endeavour to respond to your comments
and suggestions within one week.

User Feedback

All reading rooms are closed on all public holidays and from Christmas Day until the first business day after New Year’s Day. For up-to-date information on the opening times and the availability of book delivery services for all our reading rooms, telephone 02 6262 1111 or visit our website at nla.gov.au/visit-us/opening-hours.

Help us serve you better

You can assist us in serving you more effectively by:

  • providing us with the information relevant to your enquiry in an accurate and concise manner
  • requesting items you wish to access prior to your visit; registered readers can do so through the catalogue at nla.gov.au/catalogue (register online at nla.gov.au/getalibrarycard)
  • handling all collection items with care to ensure that the material will be preserved for future generations
  • acknowledging the National Library and citing sources accurately in your work
  • treating our staff courteously and respecting the rights of other Library users
  • being mindful of the need for staff to balance the information requirements of all Library users and recognising that the Library cannot provide ongoing or detailed research assistance
  • letting us know how we can improve our services.

Tell us what you think

It is important that you are satisfied with our service. Your feedback, both positive and negative, helps us to improve. We review all comments seriously, with impartiality and confidentiality, and provide reasons for the decisions we make. All comments will be acknowledged and the majority responded to within one week of receipt. For more complex issues, a resolution or explanation will be provided as soon as possible.

If you would like to provide feedback, contact the staff member you have been dealing with in the first instance.

If you believe your feedback was inadequately handled by that person, contact the manager responsible for the service.

If you feel that the issue has not been resolved by either of these actions, please contact the Director-General at:

National Library of Australia
Parkes Place
Canberra ACT 2600
T 02 6262 1262
F 02 6273 1133
User Feedback

If you are dissatisfied at any time with our handling of your feedback, you may write to the Commonwealth Ombudsman at:

GPO Box 442
Canberra ACT 2601
ombudsman.gov.au

Performance reporting

The Library’s performance against the Service Charter is monitored and is reported in our Annual Report (see nla.gov.au/corporate-documents/annual-reports).

How to contact us

National Library of Australia
Parkes Place
Canberra ACT 2600
T 02 6262 1111
F 02 6257 1703
nla.gov.au/contact

If you have a hearing or speech impairment:
National Relay Service
TTY 133 677
Speak and Listen 1300 555 727
iprelay.com.au/call/index.aspx

Once connected to the service, ask for the number you wish to contact.

Review of this charter

We are committed to ensuring that this Charter reflects your needs and expectations. So that we can continue to improve our services, we welcome all feedback, both positive and negative. We encourage you to contact us by one of the methods outlined above.

Each year we report on the effectiveness of the Charter in our Annual Report and conduct a review of Charter standards to ensure they remain relevant and in line with other key Library performance measures. Every three years we undertake a major review of the Charter.