Council campaigns to ensure free access to the Trove national archive

Blue Mountains City Council has endorsed calls for sustainable funding to ensure the continuation of free access to the Trove national archive.
Romola Hollywood at the library

Trove is the National Library of Australia’s digital archive which is used to record and access Australia’s history and culture. The database receives over 20 million visits per year and it’s used by people of all ages for education and training, local and family history, as well as life-long learning and development.

As Trove is a digital platform it can be accessed by all Australians, free of charge, regardless of who they are or where they live.

Many public libraries across Australia are Trove Partners who have actively and proudly contributed to Trove. It’s this partnership between public libraries and the National Library of Australia that has enabled Trove to become such a highly valued and comprehensive single national archive.

In 2022, Trove Collaborative Services (TCS) introduced a new pricing model which raised serious concerns regarding affordability and the ability of New South Wales public libraries to be able to continue to contribute to the archive.

The change in subscription model has already seen approximately 13% of libraries across NSW withdraw their contributions due to the significant fee increases, resulting in implications for the integrity of Trove. Further funding cuts, due in July 2023, are likely to see this situation worsen.a

In addition, TCS have indicated that they will no longer support the national Document Delivery system (LADD) for resourcing sharing, which has raised concerns for library staff about the longer-term impact on inter-library loans (ILLs). ILLs are a vital and core service of public libraries, as they allow open access to quality information for all community members.

Deputy Mayor, Cr Romola Hollywood, who is also the President of the NSW Public Libraries Association, said: “Up until now, public libraries, run by local Councils across Australia, have been able to access and contribute to Trove without significant financial costs. However, the National Library of Australia is now increasing Trove subscription fees for Council-run public libraries, with these subscription fees set to increase year on year.

“The National Library of Australia’s plans to charge Public Libraries to use Trove is a short-sighted example of cost-shifting, which overlooks the fact that public libraries are local community services with tight and finite budgets. Public libraries do not generate their own income. They are funded by Councils with some grant contributions from their State or Territory Governments.”

“Public Libraries withdrawing from Trove will reduce public access to Trove and erode the strengthen of the collections within the National database.”

/Public Release. View in full here.