No matter where you are in Australia , you can visit the National Library during Australian Library and Information Week from 23-29 May 2005.

The National Library is the largest library and one of the most important research centres in the country. Through the Internet, exhibitions and publications, services provided by expert staff and new technologies, the Library ensures its magnificent collection of 7 million items is available to all.

Director-General Jan Fullerton described the far-reaching effects that advances in technology have had on the National Library.

“In the past 12 months over 540,000 people visited the Library in Canberra to use the collections, see an exhibition, hear a talk, attend an event or take a tour. However, more than 61.5 million page views have been recorded on our website in the same period. Our role is to support scholarship, research and the creation of knowledge through our collections, services and public programs.

“It is almost the golden age in providing access to our collections. The National Library is adept at exploiting advances in technology to archive websites, to digitise the collections, to offer online copying services, to provide online chat reference services, and to create access points to specialist pictures, music, and dance websites and online databases,” she said.

The building in Canberra is a vital meeting place for researchers of all ages and pursuits. The facilities such as the bookshop, bookplate café and the comfortable seating areas have also made it a popular destination for tourists and visitors.

People who aren’t located in Canberra can visit through the website at The Library’s digitisation program, which has recently reached its 100,000 th digital collection item, enables clients, regardless of their location, to directly access and use a range of material relating to Australia and Australians. Some of the notable collections that the Library has digitised to date include:

  • Captain Cook’s Endeavour Journal 1768-1771, the official journal detailing the voyage of H.M.S. Endeavour during which Cook discovered Eastern Australia and circumnavigated New Zealand
  • Papers of Edmund Barton, Australia ’s first Prime Minister
  • Diaries of Frank Hurley; including those he kept on Antarctic expeditions, New Guinea expeditions, and during World Wars I and II

The website is the pathway to innovative services such as PictureAustralia, MusicAustralia, PANDORA and AustraliaDancing. Use AskNow! to chat with a librarian to find the answers to your questions. Items from the collections in Canberra can be copied for a small fee and delivered online through CopiesDirect or can be requested through a local library.

A 2005 initiative is Libraries Australia, an invaluable resource which enables public library clients to search the 39 million items that make up the combined catalogues of Australia ’s libraries. Clients can request items as a copy, as a loan from their library or purchase it through a bookshop.

Activities at the National Library in Canberra during Australian Library and Information Week include:

Special presentation by Tony Boston, Assistant Director, Innovation – In the National Interest: Library Services in the 21st Century . A timely and insightful overview of the services which the National Library provides in an increasingly digital world.

Wednesday 25 May, 12.30pm , Conference Room, free

Behind the scenes tours

See the magnificent artworks, understand the workings of the Main Reading Room and visit the vast stacks of Australia’s largest library.

Thursday 26 May, 1.30pm
Saturday 28 May, 1.30pm

Meet in Foyer, free

Reader Education Biographical Sources
Explore resources including the recently released Oxford Dictionary of National Biography which contains an illustrated collection of 50 000 biographies of people who have shaped British history from the 4 th century BCE to the year 2000.

Tuesday 24 May, 5 - 6 pm
Thursday 26 May, 10 - 11 am
Free, bookings essential: (02) 6262 1316

Media contact:

Yvonne Kennedy
Director Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 02 6262 1353 or 0411 753 891

James Halligan
Communications and Marketing Coordinator
Telephone: 02 6262 1160