The National Library of Australia announces the opening of Australia’s largest library storage facility, located in Hume ACT, containing enough shelving to run continuously from Belconnen to Yass.

The facility, funded to $9.9 million by the Federal Government in the 2004 budget, will be opened onsite by Senator Kemp, Minister for Arts and Sport at 3pm on 3 August 2006.

Jan Fullerton AO, Director-General of the National Library said that adequate storage is crucial to the successful preservation and provision of access to the Library’s vast print resources.

“At present there are 9 million items in the collection, which occupy 240 kilometres of shelving in the main Library building and our two offsite facilities.

“Each year the shelving requirement increases by 3 kilometres mostly due to our legal deposit obligations. What this ongoing need clearly demonstrates is that print publishing is still strong in an increasingly electronic environment.

“Our central responsibility is to ensure that the collection is preserved for future generations. This purpose built facility contains the optimal environmental controls available today to ensure the longevity of the collection,” she said.

Construction of the repository commenced in September 2005 to enable the building to be ready for the planned book move from the nearby leased premises to take place from 7 August 2006 until 21 November 2006.

Key design features are:

• strict environmental control throughout the storage areas for preservation purposes
• a separate preservation vault where fragile material can be housed at lower temperature and humidity
• ecologically sustainable development principles such as underground tanks to harvest rainwater for irrigation
• it is the only library storage facility in Australia to use custom-designed and built high rise shelving to store newspapers
• it is the only facility to use wire-guided stockpickers to access material, enabling increased shelving capacity by reducing aisle width


• It is the largest offsite storage facility owned by any Australian library
• Land area equals 12, 530 m²
• Building size equals 3,730m2 made up of 3,510m² of storage space and
220m² office and amenities space
• Contains approximately 56 kilometres of shelving, enough to run continuously from Belconnen to Yass
• Shelving weight equals 200 tonnes and shelving contains approx 200,000 bolts
• Collection material to be stored consists of 25,600 linear metres of newspapers and 28,300 linear metres of other printed material
• Most material will be stored on high rise shelving accessed by stockpicker with a separate area of approximately 1,700 linear metres of low rise shelving to storage fragile material
• 10,000 linear metres of shelf space will be made available to National Archives of Australia on a temporary basis until 2010 when it will be required by the National Library
• The building will provide storage space until 2013 with the possibility of future expansion
• The National Library provides the fastest delivery of material from offsite facilities ie within 90 minutes.


Media contacts: Yvonne Kennedy, Director Communications and Marketing 02 6262 1353; 0411 753 891;
Susan Grigson, Communications and Marketing Coordinator
02 6262 1571; 0410 627 684