About NSLA

Annual report

Download a PDF version of this report

Introduction from the Chair

The 2021-2022 year was one of the most significant in the history of NSLA. In July 2021, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa/the National Library of New Zealand re-joined NSLA. In February 2022, after nearly fifty years of collaboration between members, we incorporated as an association under ACT legislation and shifted our headquarters to Canberra. In the twelve months between July 2021 and June 2022, we also:

  • completed a two-year enhancement phase for the National edeposit service (NED)
  • completed the three-year Culturally Safe Libraries Program including rolling out cultural capability training to 2000 staff; delivering collections workshops in all NSLA libraries, and releasing a suite of resources on working with Indigenous collections for the GLAM sector
  • completed a contemporary Indigenous collections audit across four NSLA libraries with an expert data analyst and specialist Indigenous researcher, including analysis of 18,000 published collection items, twenty years of web archiving, and a sample of original collections
  • completely revised performance measures for the annual public libraries statistics report, with a much stronger focus on outcomes for community
  • continued information-sharing between NSLA’s professional networks and a range of sector and research bodies, with a view to continually improving our services and collections, and strengthening our contribution to the lives of Australians and New Zealanders.

I look forward to another year leading this remarkable collaboration, working closely with my colleagues on the NSLA board to ensure that we are making a difference where it matters most.

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

Board, office and advisory group changes

  • Dr Marie-Louise Ayres (NLA) stepped down as Chair in December 2021 after a 2.5-year term.
  • Vicki McDonald (QLD) began her term as Chair of NSLA in January 2022, with Patrick Gregory (NT) as Deputy Chair for 2022-2023 (calendar years).
  • Departing board members: Margaret Allen (WA), Liz Jack (TAS), Kate Torney (VIC).
  • New board members: Catherine Clark (WA), Sue McKerracher (TAS), Sarah Slade (VIC – Acting).
  • NSLA office continued to be staffed by Barbara Lemon (Executive Officer) and Aimee Said (Program Coordinator). Janice van de Velde (VIC) completed her secondment with the office as Senior Adviser, Research & Policy in November 2021.
  • Heads of Corporate Services Advisory Group: Hanlie Erasmus (SA) appointed convenor in place of Brett Patterson (TAS) following his secondment within the Department of Education Tasmania.
  • Copyright Advisory Group: Philippa Stevens (NSW) announced her departure from the State Library of New South Wales mid-2022. New convenor to be appointed.
  • Heads of Collections Advisory Group: Anna Raunik (QLD) announced her intention to hand over the role of convenor in late 2022. Louise Anemaat (NSW) will be acting convenor for a short term.
  • In April 2022, NSLA began its transition from unincorporated organisation, with financial accounts managed by State Library Victoria, to incorporated association, operating independently from ALIA House with a Society Cheque Account established at the Commonwealth Bank. State Library Victoria transferred the final balance of NSLA funds in June 2022.
  • Accounts, obligatory reporting, payroll and tax are now managed by the NSLA Executive Officer with assistance from ALIA’s Chief Operating Officer as required.
  • The final surplus for 2021-2022 was $478,044.
  • From this amount, one year’s contingency funding is to be retained at all times by decision of the NSLA board.
  • The balance includes membership fees for two libraries who paid in advance for 2022-23. It also reflects deliberate discretion in spending by the NSLA office with a view to employing a third member of staff in late 2022, and a considerable reduction in travel due to pandemic restrictions.
  • The greatest expenses in 2021-22 were salaries and on-costs; consultants and contractors, particularly in provision of legal advice around NSLA’s incorporation and quality assurance for NED; and memberships and subscriptions to external organisations in the library and cultural sector.
  • A fully balanced budget for 2021-2022 and forward budget for 2022-2023 were approved by the NSLA Board in July 2022.


Financial management in the transition to incorporation

National edeposit service (NED) – enhancement phase

Project Manager: Barbara Lemon (NSLA) | Senior Developer: Jeremy Rixon (NLA)

NED Steering Group: Aileen Weir & Fiona Clarke (NLA), Libby Cass (NLA), Anna Raunik (Qld), Jo Ritale (Vic.), Lesley Sharp (SA), Brendan Somes (NSW), Barbara Parnaby (WA), Ian Morrison (Tas.), Antoinette Buchanan (ACT), Kerry Blinco (NT)

  • Two-year enhancement phase (completed March 2022) by Senior Developer employed with NSLA funds and reference groups comprising NSLA member library staff.
  • Five major enhancements complete, two partially complete, and one incomplete.
  • Claiming pilot completed and recommendations handed down.
  • External assurance review conducted to assess viability of NED costings, governance and Deed.
  • Deed review commenced and new governance model proposed and endorsed in July 2022.
  • NED Program Manager recruited, and NED Steering Group Chair nominated in late 2022.


Public libraries statistics review

Project Manager: Aimee Said (NSLA) | Project Group: Russell Varney (Qld), Maeva Masterson (NT), Melisa Marinos & Andrew Blanc (SA), Ian Phillips (Vic.)

  • Revision of measures for the annual public libraries statistics report to better align with ALIA’s outcomes measures for libraries, based on extensive review by the expert working group.
  • Pilot of proposed new measures with public library services across Australia.
  • Release of new survey in time for data collection in 2021-2022, for publication by March 2023.


Contemporary Indigenous collections audit

Project Manager: Barbara Lemon (NSLA) | Consultants: François Petitjean, Rose Barrowcliffe

Working group: Michela Goodwin, Paul Koerbin & Rebecca Bateman (NLA), Ronald Briggs (NSW), Robyn Hamilton (Qld), Debra Jones (WA).

  • Extraction and analysis of records for over 18,000 published items with First Nations content, held by four NSLA libraries and collected between 2015-2020.
  • Analysis of twenty years of web archives and published ephemera relating to four specific First Nations campaigns, from the late 1990s to 2020.
  • Assessment of the acquisition and description practices around 2-5 original collections with First Nations content in four NSLA libraries.
  • Production of comprehensive reports for stage 1 and stage 2 of the project, including 32 recommendations for consideration by individual member libraries and by NSLA as a collective.


Culturally Safe Libraries Program

Project Managers: Barbara Lemon & Aimee Said (NSLA) | Indigenous Project Officer: Lesley Acres (Qld)

There were twenty members of the Culturally Safe Libraries Program Steering Group between 2018-2021 across the nine Australian NSLA libraries including: Liz Spencer (WA), Antoinette Buchanan (ACT), Ross Latham & Jo Magee (Tas.), Rebecca Bateman & Marcus Hughes (NLA), Ania Tait & Amy Ramires (NT), Damien Webb & Marika Duczynski (NSW), Lesley Acres, Lyn Thompson, Amy Pearson & Talia Love-Linay (Qld), Jo Ritale, Chris Wade, Liz Pye & Maxine Briggs (Vic.), Annette Mills & Jeremy Sibbald (SA).

  • CORE cultural learning online rolled out to nearly 2,000 staff across nine NSLA libraries.
  • Collections workshops run onsite or online in nine NSLA libraries by Lesley Acres.
  • Suite of resources for working with Indigenous collections published on NSLA website.
  • Full program evaluation conducted and reported in November 2021.

Heads of Collections Advisory Group

Convenor: Anna Raunik (Qld)

Focused especially on the findings of the NSLA contemporary Indigenous collections audit and intersections with the NED Steering Group, contributing to development of a new governance proposal for NED and proposing four new collaborative projects relating to First Nations collections.

Heads of Corporate Services Advisory Group

Convenor: Hanlie Erasmus (SA)

Exchanged information on Covid-related challenges for the workforce, budget management, building and facilities, business continuity plans, cybersecurity and environmental sustainability.

Copyright Advisory Group

Convenor: Philippa Stevens (NSW)

Completed a rolling review of NSLA copyright policies (see published policies on NSLA website) and contributed to several government inquiries relating to reform of the Copyright Act and recognition of Indigenous Knowledge.

First Nations Advisory Group

Convenor: To be nominated after first in-person meeting

Draft terms of reference approved, and members nominated for the group to be established in August 2022. An in-person meeting will be held in Darwin in 2023.

See the list of current representatives for all advisory groups, projects and networks.


Lead: Cristina Albillos (WA)

Discussing lab spaces/equipment and disaster preparedness. Future topics include integrated pest management; workflows for curator requests and digitisation; and conservation procedures for significant collection items.

Digital Preservation

Lead: Matthew Burgess (NSW)

Focused on AV metadata and ingest, and analytics and reporting. Upcoming topics include policy and strategy/frameworks and format identification. Discussion of shared priorities for Digital Preservation Coalition support.


Lead: Ania Tait (NT) and Anette Casimaty (Tas.)

Continued discussions about curriculum-related resources. Current focus is on child safe libraries and effective engagement with children and young people, both online and onsite.

Oral History

Lead: Maria Savvidis (NSW)

Discussing proactive and reactive collecting practices, remote recording using online platforms, and permissions for online access to recordings. Future topics include collecting and commissioning First Nations oral histories, podcasts, and online media players.

Visitor Experience

Lead: Carolyn Long (Vic.)

Collaboration to improve RefTracker reporting and functionality. Also sharing organisational engagement strategies.

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 over $1,120,000 for NSLA libraries in 2022.

NSLA Blakforce

Lead: Louise Hunter (Qld) | Liaison: Damien Webb (NSW)

Support network for First Nations employees. Meets regularly but entirely independently of the NSLA office except for annual in-person meetings, for which the office provides administrative assistance.

Community Engagement

Lead: TBC

To be re-established with renewed terms of reference and membership in late 2022, focusing on under-served communities.


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.

See the list of current representatives for all advisory groups, projects and networks.

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


Presentations and public submissions, 2021-2022:

The members of NSLA in 2021-2022 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 – Kate Torney/Sarah Slade
  • State Library of Western Australia – Margaret Allen/Catherine Clark
  • Libraries ACT – Vanessa Little
  • Library & Archives NT – Patrick Gregory
  • Libraries Tasmania – Liz Jack/Sue McKerracher