The National Library of Australia encourages access to collection material through the provision of copies, as long as this does not risk damage to fragile, rare or vulnerable material. Requests to copy rare fragile or vulnerable material will need to take account of Library safe use and handling principles and there may be times when the material can not be copied at all.

Fragile, and Vulnerable and Rare Material is defined as:

  • Fragile material can include books and periodicals published before 1920, books with damaged bindings, and material with torn or weak paper.
  • Vulnerable material includes tightly bound volumes, paintings, pastel and pencil works, glass negatives and material of a size and shape that puts it at risk when being moved, such as very large maps.
  • Rare material is material not widely held in other Australian libraries.