- What we collect
- Preserving our collections
- Building our collections
- Selected Library collections
- Collection statistics
- History of the collection
- Processing and describing our collections
Guide to selected collections
The National Library's collections range in date from the eleventh century to the present, take in every country in the world and are exceptionally broad in format and subject. They consist of books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, ephemera, maps, manuscripts, private archives, music scores, pictures, microform and digital materials.
A significant proportion of what the Library holds, including some of the rarest and most valuable material, was acquired as collections. Some were built up by individual collectors, families, booksellers and learned societies, often over a long period (formed collections). Other collections have been assembled from various sources by the Library itself in an effort to achieve great strength in particular subject areas (subject collections). Many of the collections have outstanding research value.
The following entries are for the most significant of these collections. The entries give details about the individuals, families or organisations that assembled the collections, describe the size, scope and strengths of each collection, and summarise how they have been acquired, organised, catalogued or listed by the Library. While the majority of the collections described consist largely of Australian materials, there are also entries for significant Asian, European and North American collections. These descriptions are intended to complement the Library's catalogue and other finding-aids.
Between 1974 and 1982 the Library published the Guide to the collections, edited by C.A. Burmester. A number of the collections recorded in that publication have been updated and are included in the following selection.
Aerial photographs of Australia, the Australian Antarctic Territory and Papua New Guinea
Books on philology and related subjects
Paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and manuscripts by George French Angas
Microform collections documenting the anti-slavery movement from the 18th-20th centuries and selected monographs
Books, pamphlets and serials on the history of Ireland from Norman times onwards
Tripitakas and books dealing with Buddhist history, biography, literature, doctrines, philosophy and way of life and Buddhist folk tales
Diaries, papers, photographs, maps and other material related to Australia's involvement in the Antarctic
Collection mostly of novels but also verse and other works on Australian history and current affairs
Don Banks' music manuscripts, personal papers, music scores, books, journals, concert programs and sound recordings