Throughout our history, we have received bequests of collection material, money and property. The gifts we receive from individuals help us ensure our collections are comprehensive and accessible.

Every gift is appreciated enormously and benefits the entire community.

What kind of bequest?

If you decide to leave a bequest to the Library, it is important that your will is clear and concise, to ensure that your original intentions are followed.

Brief information about bequests is provided here as a general guide. However, the Library is happy to consult with you or your adviser on wording or details. We do recommend that you speak with your legal adviser before making any decisions regarding the eventual distribution of your estate.

A bequest to the Library may take the form of a:

  • residuary gift
    You may nominate the Library to receive the balance of your estate after providing for your family and close friends.
  • pecuniary gift or fixed cash amount
    You may give a specific amount of money. This does not allow for changes in your circumstances or for inflation.
  • percentage pledge
    You may leave a percentage of your estate to the Library.
  • gift of property (including collection items)
    You may include stocks, bonds, real estate, insurance policies, antiques, jewellery or any other realisable assets as gifts in your will. If the gift includes books, artworks, manuscript material, maps or other items intended for the Library’s collection it is helpful to consult with the Library about whether these might duplicate items already held, and to determine whether they comply with the Library’s collection policy.
  • contingent bequest
    You may appoint the Library as an alternative beneficiary: that is, if the person or organisation named in your will does not survive you then the Library can be named in their place.

How we may use a bequest

The Library’s preference is for bequests which do not restrict the use of assets or monies to provide us with the flexibility to meet our greatest needs as they change over time. All monies are held in trust, accounted for in annual reporting, and used only in accordance with Library policy and within the requirements of the applicable federal legislation, and are administered according to the relevant trust deed.

The Library may use unrestricted bequest assets to:

  • broaden collection access including via digitisation of our collections
  • create endowed curatorships
  • manage and preserve our collections
  • build education and research programs, including fellowships
  • build exhibition and events programs
  • support our publications
  • support capital works and building projects.

Suggested wording for your will

If you decide to support the Library through a bequest, the following are suggested forms of wording for inclusion in a will. The Library also recommends that you seek independent legal advice before relying on these suggested forms of words with respect to your intentions.

‘I give (proportion of estate or dollar amount or the residue of my estate) free of all taxes to the National Library of Australia, Parkes in the Australian Capital Territory for its use and benefit absolutely.’

‘I give (clearly describe item, work of art, manuscript etc.) free of all taxes to the National Library of Australia, Parkes in the Australian Capital Territory for its use and benefit absolutely.’

‘I give (proportion of estate or dollar amount or residue of my estate or clearly described item) to (names of primary beneficiaries) but if (all primary beneficiaries) predecease me, then to the National Library of Australia, Parkes in the Australian Capital Territory. This gift to the Library will be free of all taxes.’

Recognising our bequest benefactors

It is helpful for us to know that the Library is included as a beneficiary in your will. We understand that a will is a very personal and confidential document and should you notify us of your intention to make a bequest your privacy will be respected. Any notifications to us will be kept in the strictest confidence.

Some benefactors who intend to make a bequest to the Library may allow us to recognise their generous gesture during their lifetime, while others may prefer to remain anonymous.

If an intended bequest is of a very substantial nature, you may wish to discuss with us the creation of a specific fund, a named fellowship or another significant lasting acknowledgement of your appreciation of the Library. To ensure the Library is able to fulfil the intention of your bequest, we can offer a Deed of Agreement where details of your intent are set out.

Contact us

If you would like to find out more about making a bequest or wish to discuss your intended bequest to the Library, contact the Assistant Director of Philanthropy, Celia Rideaux, on 02 6262 1336 or email