Australia’s books + our shelves: The National Library of Australia seeks a complete collection

National Library

The National Library of Australia has an ambitious mission: to assemble a complete collection of Australian published work. From romance novels to historical inquiry, the National Library is legislated to preserve every published word for future generations to find.

The National Library recognises that this encompasses more than works by established authors. It includes hidden gems, community newsletters and independently published works. To achieve this goal, the National Library is reaching out to publishers, authors, and the public, urging them to contribute their publications that may be missing from the National collection.

‘Our shelves (both physical and digital) are filled with treasures. In order to continue to build a collection that is inclusive, diverse, and reflective of all Australian experiences, we need to ensure that Australians know about the obligation and opportunity to have their published works preserved for future generations through legal deposit. This is especially true when it comes to independent publishers who are a little harder to reach,’ said Lynda Carmody from the Legal Deposit team.

About legal deposit

Legal deposit has been a legal requirement in Australia for more than 100 years. Publishers (who may be a person, a group or an organisation) must submit one copy of every publication to the National Library. This includes books, newspapers, electronic publications and more – works that have been made available to the public, for free or for sale. Legal deposit collections form a diverse and inclusive picture of the nation and capture what we are thinking, imagining, and writing about over time.

There are more than 10 million items in the National Library’s collection. Australia’s publishers can help us continue to build a comprehensive resource for all Australians to enjoy. The goal is to collect and preserve Australia’s published heritage for future generations, and to make the publications accessible to researchers, scholars, and the public to help understand the Australian experience.

Deposited publications reach a large national and global audience through discovery services such as Trove. Publishers and authors can easily submit works electronically through the National edeposit service (NED). Print copies are accepted if an electronic version is not available. Publishers can opt to make their publication available online through Trove and state and territory libraries, or to limit access to read-only on computers within the relevant state, territory and national library building – much like a print deposit would be accessed.

‘The National Library relies on authors and publishers’ contribution to fulfill our mission,’ said Lynda Carmody from the Legal Deposit team. ‘They help us build an invaluable resource which preserves and makes accessible Australia’s cultural heritage.’

Additional Information

Interviews can be requested via the Media Liaison listed below.

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