The Library holds the nation's largest resource of materials relating to Australia and the Australian people.  The collections range from the earliest European works about the Great Southern Land to the most current publications. 

The Library collects a wide range of research materials and holds more than nine million items ranging from books and journals to paintings, photographs, personal and organisational records, maps, music, oral history and folklore recordings, ephemera and electronic resources.

The Library also has considerable collections of general overseas and rare book materials, as well as world-class Asian and Pacific collections which augment the Australiana collections.

The Library's Collection Development Policy provides more detail about the scope and nature of the collecting of both Australian and overseas materials.

In addition to its own collection, the Library maintains the National Braille Reserve Collection, a lending collection of infrequently used braille books which have been transferred from braille libraries throughout Australia.