Conditions for external loans to exhibitions

Period of notice

Each request for an external loan to an exhibition should be received with at least twelve months notice to allow sufficient time for scheduling and the preparation of the loan, as per the Library's Exhibitions Loans Policy. Loans requested 9 to 12 months in advance may be considered depending on the forward schedule. Loan requests with notice of less than 9 months will not generally be considered.

Availability of works for loan

The availability of material for outward loans from the National Library’s collection for the purpose of exhibition is at the Library’s discretion and dependent on the following:

  • Commitment to the National Library’s forward exhibition program and Treasures Gallery displays.
  • Period of notice given for the processing of the loan request.
  • Condition of the work/s requested.
  • Environmental and security conditions of the lending institution.
  • Previous display history of the work/s requested.

Loan fees and costs for outward loans

The Borrower will pay the prescribed loan fees and costs as set out below. A proportion of the costs related to lending the works will be determined in consultation with the Borrower during the loan process.

  • $200 per loan item requested with at least 12 months notice.
  • $400 per loan where the lead-time is less than 12 months.
  • $100 per item for loan renewals.
  • $100 for Loan requests which are withdrawn with less than 2 months notice of the opening date.

The Borrower will be required to bear costs associated with the shipping of the work/s including crating, packing, transportation, security, independent valuation for insurance, customs agents and quarantine fees. Should the Library request a courier to accompany the loan, the Borrower will also be responsible for costs associated with courier arrangements including accommodation, transportation and per diems.

Any preparation requested by the Borrower which is at variance with normal practice will attract additional charges. These will be negotiated on a case by case basis.

The Borrower will be charged for all work carried out in relation to the loan once approval has been given.


The Borrower must insure the work/s for the value and duration of the loan period specified on the Loan Agreement under an appropriate and acceptable all risks, wall-to-wall policy without any exclusions. Prior to dispatch of the work/s evidence of insurance via a certificate of currency is required. Certificates of currency may be requested from time to time during the loan period and the Library reserves the right to accept or reject the proposed insurance cover or request additional cover.


All transport and courier arrangements will be organised by the Borrower in consultation with the Library and at the Borrowers expense. Packing arrangements will be organised by the Library and costs incurred will also be passed on to the Borrower. If international customs clearances are required the Borrower will arrange for this in consultation with the Library and provide the Library with all necessary documentation.

Display and care of outward loans

Environmental and display conditions at the borrowing institution must comply with the National Library of Australia’s standards. The Borrower will at all times protect the work/s from direct sunlight, rain, extreme variations in temperature and from hazards including theft, fire, insects, smoking, foodstuffs and liquids. The work/s must also be displayed at the appropriate temperature and light levels and not be displayed for longer than the agreed period. Compliance with these standards must be met and the conditions at the Borrower’s venue must be verified in a Standard Facility Report for the display venue. The Borrower must also complete the condition reports that are supplied by the Library and travel with the loan.

Only qualified staff may unpack, handle and repack the work/s. If voluntary staff or commercial firms are employed for such purposes, approval must be sought from the Library in advance. If approval is given, voluntary staff and contractors must be supervised at all times. Any instructions given by the Library regarding unpacking, installation and repacking are to be followed.

The Borrower is responsible for the care of the work/s and must ensure their protection. Any damage, deterioration or loss to the work/s must be reported to the Library immediately by telephone and the damage photographed. The work/s should not be moved or treated until further instruction from the Library unless necessary to prevent further damage. A written report of the damage will then need to be submitted in writing to the Library.

Display - light levels

The work/s must be displayed with the appropriate light levels specified by the Library and must also be protected from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV levels must be controlled to less than 75 microwatts per lumen.  The light levels permitted are:

  • Inorganic objects — 300 lux
  • Paintings, organic objects — 200 lux
  • Works on paper, textiles, photographic prints, ethnographic objects — 50 lux

Please note this is only a guide. Individual light levels for objects will be specified on the loan agreement and may differ from what is shown above.

Display - temperature and humidity

The Borrower must ensure that the work/s are stored and displayed in a stable environment and the Library may insist upon special conditions for particular work/s. The temperature must be between 20 +/- 2°C and relative humidity of 50 +/- 5% with no more than 3% change in relative humidity in one hour. Any variation to these parameters must be approved by the Library.

Acknowledgement and reproduction

Full credit will be given to the National Library of Australia in all publicity relating to the exhibition including captions, catalogues, press releases, websites and any permitted reproduction work/s. The Borrower is required to supply the Library with a copy of any publicity or media material produced for the exhibition as well as attendance figures.

The work/s cannot be photographed (except for the Borrower’s record purposes or for condition reports), reproduced, adapted, modified, communicated or exploited without the prior written approval of the Library.

Images of the works for publication and media purposes must be obtained through Copies Direct.

Please note some material may not be available for reproduction due to preservation, copyright or other permission restrictions.

The Borrower is responsible for obtaining any necessary copyright permission in conjunction with reproducing the Work/s.

Further queries regarding obtaining copies of images from the Library’s collection email

How to borrow works from the National Library for your exhibition

Identify the material you wish to borrow. If you are coming to the Library to view and select material you will need to make an appointment with the appropriate Reading Room/s. You may also wish to make an appointment at the same time with the Registration staff to discuss your request further. 

If you are not able to come to the Library to examine the works please make sure that you have cited the works and their locations correctly using the Library Catalogue. Please also issue any specific instructions in your request, for example, regarding page turns. Please be aware that in some cases the Library holds multiple copies of items and will assess the best copy for loan.

Send a letter requesting the loan to:
Director General
National Library of Australia

Your letter should contain the following:

  • the name and address of the Borrowing institution
  • the title and display dates of the Exhibition for which you are seeking to borrow works
  • full citations for each work that you are seeking to borrow and an image attached where possible, for example:

Wilson, Hardy, 1881-1955, (author)
Kurrajong Library design, 1951 (title, date)
1 drawing: pencil, french crayon ; 54.2 x 39.2 cm (medium; size)
Hardy Wilson Collection (collection)
vn4467237; PIC/11872/10 LOC 10561-10580 (identifier; call number, location)

  • your agreement to pay the loan fees and all costs associated with the loan and to provide adequate insurance coverage for the loan
  • contact details for someone who can discuss the loan with the Library

In the case of a travelling exhibition it must be stated clearly in the letter if you are seeking to borrow the works for tour. If this is the case, the names of the proposed venues and their display dates must be included in the letter. The Library must receive and approve a facility report for each venue in the exhibition tour before it will assess the loan request for these venues.

In response to the request, the Library will ask for a current facilities report for your venue.; If your venue does not have a current facilities report, the Library will forward a pro-forma report for the venue to complete. This report will be assessed in conjunction with the request.

The Borrower must also fill in an information request form for each work that they are seeking to borrow, on this sheet the Borrower must give the details of how the work is to be displayed in the exhibition including instructions for framing, supports and any page turns. The Library will supply the information request form to the Borrower.
Once the requisite information is received the Library will assess your request and respond via mail to advise you of the outcome.


For further queries regarding loans email