National Library of Australia – Collecting Direction and Focus

The Library has released its new Collecting Strategy 2020-21 to 2023-24 and Collection Development Policy, which will guide the Library’s collecting over the next four years. These documents were endorsed by the National Library of Australia Council in April 2020, and implemented from 1 July 2020.

The Strategy and Policy make clear that the Library’s first responsibility – as outlined in the National Library Act 1960 – is to develop a comprehensive collection relating to Australia and the Australian people. They exemplify the Library’s commitment to collecting from the full diversity of the Australian community, across the fullest possible variety of documentary heritage formats, and to preserving and providing access to this national heritage in perpetuity. The Library will continue to collect resources by Australians or about Australia, published or created in Australia or overseas, in physical and digital formats.

The documents also indicate that the downward trend in overseas collecting, underway for several decades, will continue. The Library will selectively acquire or provide access to overseas publications that offer an understanding of global issues, current events and topics affecting Australia, and geographic regions where Australia’s national, economic and strategic interests are clearly articulated. The Library will continue its curatorial focus on China, Indonesia and the Pacific. The extent to which this collecting continues will be dictated by available resources, and by evidence of collection use.

The Asian collections carefully built over decades will be retained by the Library and will continue to be available for use through the Library’s Main and Special Collections Reading Rooms. Specialist assistance in using the collections will be available, as is the case with the Library’s other special collections. Researchers may also request copies of the Library’s Asian collections (subject to copyright and other restrictions) through the Library’s Document Delivery and Copies Direct services.

The National Library Act 1960 also charges the Library with making available services in relation to library matters and library material (including bibliographical services). The Library discharges this responsibility through Trove Collaborative Services. Trove Collaborative Service members can use services provided by the Library to find and request copies of library resources, held in more than 17,000 libraries in more than 100 countries via OCLC WorldCat, including many millions of Asian resources.

Australian libraries also have access to additional document delivery services offered by individual international libraries and commercial services, and are able to use these services to meet the research needs of their communities. Those requiring access to specific Asian or overseas resources not held by the National Library of Australia or another Australian library might consult with their university, state or territory, public or workplace library to investigate these options.

The Honourable Dr Brett Mason
Chair, National Library of Australia Council

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres
Director-General, National Library of Australia