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Collections and Content Strategy 2020

When the Library first opened its doors in 1856, it offered a respectable collection of 3846 volumes, most of which had been personally selected by Sir Redmond Barry. Today it has over two million books and serials, one of Australia’s largest newspaper collections, hundreds of thousands of pictures, maps, manuscripts and artefacts, as well as material in digital and multimedia formats.

During more than 150 years of energetic collecting, the Library has built a vast and diverse collection that covers an enormous range of subjects and areas of interest, along with collections that are unique to our Library.

The Collections and Content Strategy defines the purpose, vision, guiding principles and strategies that will shape our collections and content to the year 2020. See our policies and guidelines for plans and guidance on practical matters relating to our services and collection.


We believe that current and future generations of Victorians should have equal access to knowledge and information. Through our collections and content, Victoria’s creative and curious communities can:

  • explore, enjoy and enrich their lives
  • learn and empower themselves
  • contribute to the Library and to the Victorian community.


Our collections and content inspire learning and creativity. We are a pathway for exploring the world’s knowledge and connecting with the global community. We cultivate Victoria’s memory and heritage to provide a unique lens on the stories and voices of all Victorians and to reveal Victoria’s place in the world.

Guiding principles

1. Open access for everyone: making our collections and content open, free, discoverable and easy to use.

2. Active and responsive collecting: actively nurturing our collection strengths. 

3. Preserving Victoria’s cultural heritage: looking after our cultural inheritance for the benefit of current and future generations.

4. Involving our community: inviting people to connect to and help shape our collections.

5. New ways of working: embracing new technologies and practices. 

6. Meeting legal, ethical, cultural and financial responsibilities: taking a responsible and sustainable approach to collecting.

Key performance indicators

We measure our collections and content performance annually against these indicators:

  • items added to the collection that explore and celebrate our heritage
  • new acquisitions electronically registered to agreed standards and targets
  • acquisitions and deaccessions in accordance with collection development policies/strategic directions
  • loans from the collection to non-government organisations/agencies
  • programs including community engagement programs, touring programs/exhibitions, programs delivered in outer metro/regional areas, and education programs.

Read the Collections and Content Strategy

You can download the strategy in PDF format, below. If you would like to be mailed a paper copy of the plan, please email our Communications and Marketing team at: