- What we collect
- Preserving our collections
- Building our collections
- Selected Library collections
- Collection statistics
- History of the collection
- Processing and describing our collections
The Library builds capability to maximise return on the nation’s investment in the Library and its services. Our people, technology, national leadership role and financial resources drive significant benefits for the Australian people. Within the Australian Government accountability framework, we manage strategic and operational risks to sustain our public value.
Everything we do is guided by our organisational values.
respectful and inclusive;
responsive to individual and community needs;
ambitious, and internationally recognised for our digital innovation;
tenacious, pursuing priorities over the very long term; and
accountable for the community’s investment in our work.
The Library’s workforce is highly skilled, with deep sector knowledge. Its demographic character broadly reflects that of the wider Australian Public Service, but with a higher proportion of women (including 70 per cent of senior executive staff) and people who identify as having a disability or as being from a non-English-speaking background, and a slightly older workforce. Of our staff, 2.5 per cent identify as Indigenous.
During the course of this plan, we will clarify and strengthen our internal governance structures, and focus our training and development investment in core capability requirements:
project and program management skills;
Indigenous cultural competency;
ability to effectively communicate the value of the Library’s work to a range of funding partners;
digitally enabled work practices;
financial and budget management skills; and
commercial competence in a cost-recovery context.
The Library’s Parliamentary Triangle building is the centre of our operations, housing reading rooms, public spaces, all staff, the majority of physical and digital collections, and the server room that delivers the Library’s digital services. The building is Commonwealth Heritage Listed, and is maintained through careful allocation of available funds and in accordance with a detailed Conservation Management Plan.
The Library will review options for managing our ageing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems—assessing long-term requirements and planning work to fit available budgets. We will also explore options for replacing our windows, taking into careful consideration the major heritage and cost implications involved.
The Library owns or leases several collection repositories in the Canberra area. We have deferred the need for new collection storage by several years through judicious consolidation of collections. However, new physical collection storage will be required by 2019–20. Over the life of this plan, the Library will refine and implement solutions for future storage needs.
The Library delivers digital services, and operates national infrastructure for the GLAM and research sectors, underpinned by significant investment in technology and capabilities. The Library’s Information Technology Strategic Plan sets out the goals and outcomes required to sustain these digital operations. The Library’s Technology Roadmap provides the framework for ensuring that its technology infrastructure and capabilities are responsive, sustainable and affordable, trusted and secure, resilient and highly reliable.
To ensure sustainability of digital operations and to meet rapidly evolving stakeholder expectations, the Library will focus on aligning business and technology strategies, continuous improvement and innovation.
Over the next four years, the Library will progress development of the Library Services Platform, leveraging our technical and program management capabilities, enhanced through the course of the award-winning Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement (DLIR) program. Integrating with DLIR systems, the platform will encompass a set of services and work flows to support acquisition, management and description of collection material.
The Library has a leadership position that is unique among Australian cultural institutions, and in the international context.
Over nearly four decades, the Library has collaborated with Australian libraries across the states and territories, and across all levels of government, delivering infrastructure that reduces the cost of managing collections, and making it possible for Australians to discover and access library materials held anywhere in the country.
In the digital environment, the Library’s leadership has expanded to include:
- discovery through Trove of growing and diverse digital collections managed and delivered online by GLAM institutions, Australian, state and territory government departments, and research repositories;
- acquisition, preservation and access to digital publications—books, journals, music, maps, websites— in partnership with state and territory libraries; and
- digitisation, management and delivery of textual materials—newspapers, books, journals, gazettes— at scale.
The Library is frequently called on to provide training or advice about descriptive standards, collection preservation and digital services to librarians from across the Asia–Pacific region. As a member of NSLA, the Library will review and refine our international activities, focusing on those that deliver lasting value to the communities of our region.
The Library creates public value by increasing economic, social and intellectual wellbeing. We contribute to government priorities, including:
a cohesive and inclusive society;
a strong digital economy;
excellence in research and in the arts;
protection of cultural heritage; and
public access to, and participation in, arts and culture in Australia.
The Library creates this value by providing onsite and digital services that support research, lifelong learning, creativity, knowledge production and cultural enrichment.
Recognising the importance of the Library’s digital services, the Australian Government has provided $16.4 million during 2016–17 to 2019–20 through the Public Service Modernisation Fund, primarily to upgrade digital infrastructure. The Library will continue to use this funding to upgrade critical infrastructure, increase the volume of digitised Australian content, improve digital engagement and develop business models to ensure Trove’s long-term sustainability.
The government has also provided the Library with $4.63 million over four years to support activities relating to the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s first Pacific voyage: a major exhibition in 2018 and a digital platform to be developed in collaboration with the Australian National Maritime Museum and the National Museum of Australia.
Around a quarter of the Library’s income comes from outside government, principally from the national services delivered on a membership-based, co-investment model centred around Trove.
The Library is committed to keeping Trove free for end users. Open access to a vast collection of digital Australiana, used by tens of thousands of Australians every day, provides a return on investment far in excess of what could be achieved by limiting use to those who can afford to pay.
Over the course of this plan, the Library will focus on increasing own-source revenue to support a sustainable future for national services, including Trove. This will be a challenge as the libraries and cultural institutions that participate in these services are facing budgetary pressures, and valuable collections are often held and managed by very small organisations, with minimal budgets, and staffed by volunteers.
The Library will continue working with other organisations who see high value in using its digitisation and delivery capability, ensuring that charging mechanisms recognise the costs of storing, managing and delivering content over the very long term.
In addition, we will commence transition to an ambitious new approach to philanthropy, focusing on the Library’s unique value proposition: its ability to deliver high-quality digital content to all Australians, conveniently, reliably and at scale.
The Library’s Council, supported by the Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee, oversees enterprise risk management. The Director-General and Assistant Directors-General are accountable for identifying, monitoring and managing strategic and operational risk in the Library, supported by the Library’s Risk Management Framework.
The Library has a low appetite for risk around the security and safety of our collections, the health and safety of our workforce and visitors, continuity of our onsite services, availability of our digital services and our legislative and regulatory obligations. It has a higher risk appetite for activities that drive the community’s access to, and engagement with, collections, where both smaller scale and bolder innovation can transform who uses our collections— why, when, where and how.
The Library has identified and will manage key risks relating to our three strategic priorities and capability requirements.
|Priorities||Key areas of risk|
We collect today what will be important tomorrow
We connect with communities, and connect communities with their national collections
We collaborate with others to maximise the national impact of cultural collections
We build capability to maximise return on investment in the Library and its services