About NSLA

Annual report

Download a PDF version of this report

Introduction from the Chair of NSLA

In 2023 NSLA celebrated its fifty-year history of collaboration as national, state and territory libraries, beginning with the first meeting of the State Librarians’ Council in Melbourne in 1973.

The 2022-2023 financial year was NSLA’s first full year as an incorporated association and we took the opportunity to review and confirm our purpose and really mark this next chapter of our work together. Over the last twelve months we have:

  • launched NSLA’s strategic plan for 2023-2026, alongside our operational plan for 2023-2024​
  • joined with colleagues at ALIA, AIATSIS, CAUL and CAVAL in a collaborative project with consultant Tui Raven to develop First Nations collection description guidelines for the library sector ​
  • commenced our webinar series for 2023, with session one on the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers’ Missing Books Register – and the fascinating story of Darwin’s missing notebooks
  • commenced a six-part conversation series with colleagues inside and beyond NSLA libraries on the ethical, logistical and technical questions of collecting social media
  • commissioned the Arts Law Centre to develop ICIP policy templates and guidelines for the state and territory libraries of Australia
  • expanded the NSLA team with two new members of staff commencing in November 2022
  • developed refreshed branding and a new logo for NSLA; and
  • redesigned and relaunched our website, with publications and events at the centre, and a timeline of our history and achievements providing links to our many resources for the GLAM sector.

I look forward to seeing some of our projects through to their conclusion at the end of this calendar year when I will conclude my term as Chair. I acknowledge the strong commitment of all NSLA members – through our collective endeavours we are creating long-term benefits for our libraries and communities.

Vicki McDonald AM FALIA
Chair of NSLA, IFLA President
State Librarian and CEO, State Library of Queensland

Board, office and advisory group changes

  • Patrick Gregory stepped down as Deputy Chair of NSLA in June 2023, following his departure from Library & Archives NT to take up a new post with Libraries Tasmania.
  • Paul Duldig commenced as CEO of State Library Victoria in August 2022, replacing Sarah Slade (Acting CEO) on the NSLA Board.
  • The NSLA office expanded with the addition of two new staff in November 2022: Abi Beatson as Communications Coordinator (Wellington) and Jo Ritale as NED Program Manager (Melbourne).
  • Aimee Said (Melbourne) resigned as Program Coordinator in June 2023 after twelve years with NSLA, and Aimee Hay (Darwin) was appointed to the role with a start date of 31 July 2023.
  • Barbara Lemon (Canberra) continued as Executive Officer, with a title change to Executive Director approved and effective from 1 July 2023.
  • Heads of Corporate Services Advisory Group: Hanlie Erasmus (SLSA) continues as convenor.
  • Copyright Advisory Group: Margaret Warren (SLQ) was appointed convenor in November 2022.
  • Heads of Collections Advisory Group: Cathy Pilgrim (NLA) was appointed convenor in February 2023.
  • First Nations Advisory Group: Tim Kong (NLNZ) was appointed convenor following the group’s inaugural in-person meeting in Darwin in May 2023.
  • Hardwickes of Deakin ACT were appointed as auditors for NSLA in June 2023, and a formal audit has been conducted for our first full financial year of independent operations as an incorporated association.
  • Accounts, obligatory reporting, payroll and tax were managed by the NSLA Executive Officer with payroll assistance from ALIA.
  • The final surplus for 2022-2023 was $435,610. 
  • The surplus includes $150,000 transferred to a contingency account in June 2023, with a further $150,000 earmarked for transfer based upon NSLA’s projected liabilities in the unlikely event that the association has to wind up.
  • The greatest expenses in 2022-23 were salaries, following the appointment of two new team members; and consultants and contractors, particularly in strategic planning and in development of new branding and a refreshed website for NSLA. The association also incurs significant costs for consortium memberships and subscriptions to external organisations in the library and cultural sector.
  • The financial statement for 2022-2023 and forward budget for 2023-2024 were presented to the NSLA Board in July 2023.

National eDeposit service (NED) – enhancement phase

Program Manager: Jo Ritale (NSLA)     Implementation Manager: Catriona Bryce (NLA)    Steering Group Chair: Lesley Sharp (SLSA)

NED Steering Group: Aileen Weir (NLA), Libby Cass (NLA), Anna Raunik (QLD), Jenelle Colston-Ing (VIC), Lesley Sharp (SA), Brendan Somes (NSW), Barbara Parnaby (WA), Ian Morrison (TAS), Antoinette Buchanan (ACT), Lilly Ho (NT)

NED Operational Group: Fiona Clarke (Convenor, NLA), Julie Caulet-Ramsay (ACT), Bridget Scott (TAS), Yi Li & Rebecca Gibbs (NLA), Angela Yam (SLNSW), Helen Webster & Rachel Merrick (SLQ), Richard Moriarty (SLSA), Liesl Colquhoun (SLV), Catherine Johnston (LANT), Frances Hammond & Peter Bailey (SLWA), Deanna Cronk (NED Support, NLA)


Following a paper to NED member library CEOs in July 2022, new governance arrangements were implemented for NED and a new Deed of Agreement drawn up and finalised in December 2022.

Jo Ritale was appointed to the role of NED Program Manager (NSLA office), and Catriona Bryce to the role of NED Implementation Manager (National Library of Australia).

Development of the first formal strategic plan for NED (2023-2026) was led by the NED Program Manager with members of the NED Steering and Operational Groups, and was endorsed by the NSLA Heads of Collections Advisory Group, NLA Executive and NSLA Board in June 2023. Five strategic goals were identified for NED:

  1. National collection
  2. Recognised, trusted and valued 
  3. Respectful and accessible
  4. Innovative, integrated and efficient 
  5. Sustainable

An operational plan for 2023-2024 was also developed and endorsed in June 2023, effective from 3 July 2023, including eleven projects aligned with the strategic goals. 



First Nations collections description guidelines

Consultant: Tui Raven (WA) Project Managers: Kathleen Smeaton (UQ/CAUL), Sara Davidsson (CAVAL)

NSLA reps: Michela Goodwin (NLA), Barbara Lemon (NSLA)

Consulted: NSLA First Nations Advisory Group, NSLA Heads of Collections Advisory Group

NLSA’s audit of contemporary Indigenous collections across four libraries in 2021 resulted in a recommendation to create guidelines for First Nations collection description. A broader need for these guidelines was identified right across the library sector, and in late 2022, NSLA entered into partnership with ALIA, CAUL, CAVAL and AIATSIS to begin work on this.

Following distribution of a sector-wide survey, consultant Tui Raven was engaged in early 2023 to begin drafting guidelines based on survey results and consultation sessions with First Nations advisory groups and colleagues across the five partner organisations. A first draft of the guidelines has been completed and is under review by working group members.


Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) policy template and guidelines

Consultants: Suzanne Derry and Jo-Anne Driessens, Arts Law Centre

NSLA liaison: Barbara Lemon (NSLA)

Consulted: NSLA First Nations Advisory Group, NSLA Heads of Collections Advisory Group

In March 2023, the NSLA Board approved a proposal from the Arts Law Centre to create an ICIP policy template and guidelines for the eight state and territory libraries in Australia. The two national libraries of Australia and New Zealand will not participate in the joint commission as they already have ICIP protocols and procedures in place. 

The template can be customised by each library to fit with their local context and legal requirements. It is intended to prepare NSLA libraries for anticipated legislative change at the federal level – flagged in the National Cultural Policy – that will formalise recognition of ICIP. First draft outlines have been prepared, and the documentation is due to be finalised within the 2023 calendar year.


Social media collecting discussion series

Program design and facilitation: Abi Beatson (NSLA)

Consulted:  NSLA Heads of Collections Advisory Group

Participants: 1-2 representatives from each NSLA library with external guests from collecting institutions and from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society.

This conversation series was instigated by the NSLA office in early 2023 to help overcome the evident obstacles to collaborative collection of social media and other content published uniquely online. It is designed to explore in detail, through a series of very structured sessions, the ethical, cultural, technical, legal, accessibility-related and privacy considerations of social media collecting in order to identify if – and how – NSLA libraries and others might work together in this area.


EaaSI (Emulation as a Service Infrastructure) project

Chief Investigator: Prof. Melanie Swalwell (Swinburne University)

NSLA liaison: Barbara Lemon (NSLA)

NSLA committee rep: Serena Coates (SLQ)

NSLA participating library reps: Serena Coates (SLQ), Michelle Collier (SLWA), Matt Burgess (SLNSW), Simon Wall (NLA)

This project was awarded Australian Research Council (ARC) funding to establish an Australian network for the EaaSI platform, designed to emulate operating systems in order to provide access to legacy born digital content. 

Project partners include Australian universities, GLAM institutions, infrastructure partners AARNet and OpenSLX, and collaborators at Yale University, who led the North American rollout of EaaSI. NSLA is a partner organisation, combining cash and in-kind support with four member libraries directly involved: State Library of Queensland, State Library of Western Australia, State Library of New South Wales, and National Library of Australia. The National Library of New Zealand is also an observer on the project.

Formal project committee meetings and weekly tech check-ins began in early April 2023, and the project has two years to run.

Heads of Collections Advisory Group

Convenor: Cathy Pilgrim (NLA)

Several projects within the NSLA program are running under the auspices of this group including the First Nations collection description guidelines, ICIP policy template and guidelines, and the social media conversation series. There has been continued information-sharing around legal deposit, library management systems, and resource description.

Heads of Corporate Services Advisory Group

Convenor: Hanlie Erasmus (SLSA)

This group continues with cooperative information-sharing regarding workforce, budget management, building and facilities, asset management, business continuity plans, cybersecurity and environmental sustainability. The group is overseeing a scoping exercise for a NSLA-wide survey on the environmental impact of physical and digital storage.

Copyright Advisory Group

Convenor: Margaret Warren (SLQ)

This group continues with a rolling review of NSLA copyright policies (see published policies on NSLA website) and most recently contributed a submission via the NSLA office to the 2023 Copyright Enforcement Review. Convenor Margaret Warren also represents NSLA on the Open Access Australasia committee.

First Nations Advisory Group

Convenor: Tim Kong (NLNZ)

The inaugural in-person meeting of this group was held in Darwin in May 2023. The group will be overseeing analysis of NSLA’s third annual Indigenous Cultural Capability Audit in 2023 and is being consulted directly on all projects within the NSLA program relating to First Nations colleagues, communities and collections.


Lead: Cristina Albillos (SLWA)

Current priorities are digitisation and conservation roles and workflows; exhibition spaces with sub-optimal environmental conditions; assigning non-specialist conservation work to other teams; and sustainability practices..

Digital Preservation

Lead: Matthew Burgess (NSW)

Current priorities are methods for provision of access to digital collections; storage infrastructure; documentation; and cybersecurity.


Lead: Ania Tait (NT) and Anette Casimaty (TAS)

Shared interests for 2023 are planning for a face-to-face meeting; Tasmania’s Lifelong Learning Information Service; and measuring engagement, value and outcomes.

Oral History

Lead: Maria Savvidis (NSW)

Current subjects of shared interest are public facing guides and standards about how to work with NSLA libraries; oral history by video; permission forms, including ICIP and community-owned knowledge; and appropriate payment for interview subjects.

Visitor Experience

Lead: Carolyn Long (VIC)

Current shared interests are values for Visitor Experience teams; programming and encouraging visitors back onsite; diversity and inclusion; and mapping the onsite experience.

eResources Consortium

Manager: Fiona Clarke (NLA)

Manages consortium purchasing of eresources for NSLA libraries. Managed separately by paid position within NLA. Consortium purchasing through this group resulted in savings of just under $900,000 for NSLA libraries in 2023.

Community Engagement

Lead: Angharad Wynne-Jones

In addition to sharing information and experiences around recent events and exhibitions, group members currently have a shared interest in engagement with young people from LGBTQIA+ communities; Truth and Equity frameworks for NSLA libraries; engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and approaches to measuring community engagement.


Informal network with occasional email contact. Prefers to meet in person at storage sites of interest roughly every two years, as funds allow. Convened by the NSLA Program Coordinator.

NSLA Blakforce

This group is in temporary hiatus due to the convenor and co-convenor having left their libraries during the year. Group members will be called together in the second half of 2023 to revive the network.

Representatives for all advisory groups, projects and networks can be found at: https://nsla.org.au/reps 

NSLA is a member of the following external organisations, and provides one or more committee representatives for each:

Presentations and public submissions, 2022-2023:

  • Submission to ANZSCO review of occupations (library and information sector), April 2023
  • Response to the Copyright Enforcement Review, March 2023
  • Joint submission with ALIA to inquiry into the influence of international digital platforms, March 2023
  • Presentation to NSW State Library Reference and Information Seminar on NED, March 2023
  • Submission on National Cultural Policy, August 2022

The members of NSLA in 2022-2023 were:

  • National Library of Australia – Marie-Louise Ayres
  • National Library of New Zealand/Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa – Rachel Esson
  • State Library of New South Wales – John Vallance
  • State Library of Queensland – Vicki McDonald
  • State Library of South Australia – Geoff Strempel
  • State Library Victoria – Paul Duldig
  • State Library of Western Australia – Catherine Clark
  • Libraries ACT – Vanessa Little
  • Library & Archives NT – Patrick Gregory
  • Libraries Tasmania – Sue McKerracher