Our work

Guided by NSLA’s strategic plan 2020-2023 and the 2020-2021 business plan, our current work is broadly divided into the projects and initiatives under the subheadings below.

See a list of the current members of NSLA groups in each library.

Major projects
National edeposit (NED)

Australia's National edeposit service (NED) launched in 2019. This service has revolutionised our approach to the collection of Australian electronic publications, with nine libraries successfully managing one national collection, an easy deposit mechanism for publishers and broad public access to content across the country.

NED is governed by a steering group and an operational group, each comprising representatives from all NSLA libraries. Enhancements to NED will continue in order to improve the publisher experience and to sustain confidence in the service and the collaboration.

Web archiving

Our next major challenge is to replace outdated web archiving infrastructure with an efficient, sustainable and collaborative means of collecting online content. This infrastructure will ensure continued access to the rich collections of the Australian Web Archive already discoverable through Trove, and allow us to build on those collections in a coordinated and responsive way across a wide range of content formats and platforms. Together, we aim to build a collection that reflects the diversity of the Australian population and can be readily searched and accessed for research and creative purposes.

Culturally Safe Libraries Program

The Culturally Safe Libraries Program is part of a national effort to provide culturally safe public spaces and services in libraries for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and a supportive workplace for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff where they are able to confidently draw strength in their identity, culture and community.

By mid-2021 staff in all NSLA libraries will have completed AIATSIS Core Cultural Learning foundation training. As soon as is practicable, we will run the postponed Indigenous-led workshops for small groups of staff who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections in our libraries, and continue to encourage the Australian GLAM sector to make use of the free, publicly available online resources that have been developed for these.

Building cultural competency is an ongoing process. We will continue to build relationships with First Australian communities, and modify our practices where needed to ensure that collections pertaining to those communities are described, used and shared appropriately.

The Culturally Safe Libraries Program is governed by a steering group of representatives from all NSLA libraries.

Project groups

Project groups are assembled to see through specific projects or pieces of work that can be achieved within a specified period – from several months to a maximum of two years. They are made up of representatives from two or more NSLA libraries.

There are currently five project groups:

  • Collection valuation working group: investigating the feasibility of developing broad NSLA guidelines for collection valuation. 
  • Contemporary Indigenous collections audit project group: an audit of contemporary Indigenous collections in NSLA libraries and analysis by an external Indigenous researcher, to result in recommendations for contemporary collecting.
  • Indigenous place names project group: working with AIATSIS to prepare the Indigenous place names thesaurus for incorporation into NSLA library catalogues.
  • NSLA collecting group: starting in 2021, this group will consider approaches to both physical and digital collecting activity where it affects more than one NSLA library. This may include shared delivery channels, claiming in NED, offers of collection material between libraries, or distributed collecting efforts on a national subject of interest.
  • Public libraries statistics reference group: revising national measures for annual public library statistics to more effectively measure the contribution of public libraries to their communities, for implementation in 2021-22.
Advisory groups

Advisory groups are a mechanism for information-sharing and problem-solving at a strategic and policy level. They comprise representatives from each NSLA library.

Heads of Collections

Senior staff working with collections at the strategic level meet regularly to:

  • share policies about collection development and major acquisitions
  • share policies, issues and information about legacy collections; access to rare collections; handling and loan of collection material; use of collections by researchers
  • discuss and share solutions for staffing issues, including training and succession planning
  • share solutions for skills development in niche areas such as transcription, image recognition and format-based skills.
Heads of Corporate Services

The heads of corporate services meet as needed to:

  • share information on corporate activities and issues connected with budget, workforce, data management and business planning
  • share strategies and experiences to improve human resource management, workforce diversity, disaster planning, public relations and government advocacy as needed.
Copyright Advisory Group

Copyright experts from each NSLA library work together to:

  • advocate on behalf of library users and libraries
  • develop policies to improve and standardise the management of copyright in NSLA libraries
  • consider and respond to legislative, technological and other factors that affect copyright
  • advise the NSLA representative on the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC).
eResources Consortium

The eResources Consortium is managed at the National Library, with representatives from each NSLA library. The Consortium works to:

  • secure sustainable access to commercial electronic resources for NSLA libraries
  • simplify and improve licensing arrangements
  • explore opportunities for making eresources more widely available across Australia.
Connecting with the sector, community and government
Networks

NSLA staff networks are designed for professional development; information-sharing; sharing of practical skills, methodologies and tools; and peer support. They are comprised of representatives from all NSLA libraries with an interest in the focus area.

Blakforce

Blakforce is a peer network exclusively for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in NSLA libraries. It is convened and managed by network members, with administrative support from the NSLA office as needed.

Community engagement

This network shares strategies for community and audience engagement both onsite and online, including improving the diversity of library audiences.

Conservation

Staff working in conservation of physical collection items share techniques and experiences in preserving some of the more fragile or unusual items in our collections.

Digital archives

Exploring issues around collecting born-digital materials, including digital collection appraisal, working with donors, and pre-ingest tools and workflows.

Digital preservation

Sharing tools and methodologies for digital preservation, storage, and emulation. The network shares digital preservation policies and processes, and engages in joint advocacy and professional development activities.

Learning

This network has a focus on learning programs in NSLA libraries including early years’ learning, school visits and educational resources, evaluation practices, teen programming, adult functional literacy, digital literacy, education policy and cultural safety.

Oral history

Sharing expertise on commissioning, transcribing, preserving and providing access to our contemporary and legacy oral history collections.

Visitor experience

Sharing approaches to providing effective library services including policies and procedures, facilities, staffing, reference services and social issues affecting libraries. 

Storage

This group is concerned with physical collection storage, sharing practical methodologies, tips and tools. 

Webinars

In the next year, NSLA will be piloting a webinar series to address some of the more practical ‘how-tos’ of collection practice and policy. This could include workflows for digital archives, collection management, preservation, storage, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections, and collection highlights. These webinars will be designed for broad dissemination and will allow staff to benefit from shared expertise without having to be part of a formal network.