Metal shelves are full of bound volumes in many different colours
A collection storage area at the National Library of Australia

We’re currently making major improvements to our heritage building.  

These improvements will take place on a rolling basis and different collection storage areas will be impacted at different times. This means that access to parts of our collection will be temporarily impacted between now and June 2025.  

Some requests for deliveries of Library material to the Reading Rooms may not be fulfilled during this time period. Orders for copies through Copies Direct will also be affected.  

If you are planning to visit the Library for research and you would like to check availability of specific collection items, please contact our Ask a Librarian service.

The building works will only impact physical collections. You can still explore the catalogue, eResources and Trove to browse online and digitised material.

Keep reading for more information and answers to some commonly asked questions.  

On this page

Will access to online material be impacted?

No. The building works will only impact physical collections. Explore the catalogue, eResources and Trove to browse online and digitised material.

What can I get online?

Why does building work impact collection access?

Building works are taking place throughout the building, including in dedicated collection storage areas.

We're implementing protections to make sure that our material is safe. These protections also mean that Library staff are unable to access some items.

Library collection storage area with shelves covered in white fabric
Protected and closed collection storage area at the Library. 

What collections are impacted and when?

You should always check collection availability before you visit. We will advise if the requested material can be retrieved or digitised. 

To help you plan your requests, the following three tables outline which collections are currently unavailable, which collections are closing soon, and what is currently available:  

Collections currently unavailable

Collections impacted Access status

Pictures Collections - Hanging Art Works

Please contact our Ask A Librarian service for information about Pictures Collections availability

Unavailable May 2023 to September 2024
Asian Collections stored on Level 3 Unavailable 1 July 2024 through to 30 June 2025

Collections closing soon

Collections impacted Access status
Rare Books and Fragile Collections stored on Level 2 Unavailable 1 August 2024 through to 1 September 2024

Collections currently available

Collections  Access status
All offsite collections Available
Australian Collections (Quarto size) & some serials Available
Australian Formed Collections Available
Ephemera Collections Available
Manuscript Collections Available
Maps Collection Available
Music Collection Available
Newspapers and Microform Available
Oral History Collection Available
Overseas Monographs and Serials Available
Rare Books Available
Rare & some Asian Language Collections Available
Pictures Collections (excluding Hanging Art Works on screens) Available

How will I know if the material I want is available?

The status of items is listed in the catalogue under the 'Request this item' heading.

The 'Collect From' and 'Delivery Conditions' lines may contain information about whether an item is available. For serial publications like magazines and journals, and manuscripts and pictures, the 'Select' button will still be active. If there is an option to 'Select' the item, you can log in and send a request. If the volume you have requested is available, it will be retrieved. 

Screenshot of the Library catalogue showing what a catalogue record looks like for an item that may be unavailable
This is what the catalogue record looks like for an item that may be unavailable.

If no 'Select' button appears under the 'Request this item' heading, it is not currently available. 

This is what the catalogue record looks like for an item that that unavailable due to building works
This is what the catalogue record looks like for an item with no 'Select' button.

If I've requested something that is unavailable, how will the Library tell me that my request can't be fulfilled?

If your requested item is unavailable, you will be notified via your catalogue account. Please login to your account to check the status of your requests. You will also be notified via an automated email.

Checking your requests

How to use the new Library Catalogue

Rows of shelves are neatly lined with books
A collection storage area at the National Library of Australia

When will my requested material become available again?

Building works will occur in different areas of the Library until June 2025. Some collections are spread across more than one storage area.

Contact our Ask a Librarian service for more detailed information on specific items.

Can I still order copies if the material is unavailable?

We can't provide copies if the material is unavailable. If we can't fulfil your request, your Copies Direct order will be closed. You can place a new order once the material becomes available.

How to use Copies Direct

I'm visiting during the building works period. If I request my material before works start, can I extend the reserve period from seven days?

You can request an extension by contacting our Ask a Librarian service well ahead of your visit. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis depending on the timing of your visit.

The reserve period for manuscripts can't be extended.

Can I increase the number of items I can request?

If you are visiting for a short period of time to undertake extensive research, an increase to the number of other items you can request may be possible. Contact our Ask a Librarian service well ahead of your visit for more information.

The limit on manuscripts can't be raised.

How can I find out if you have another copy of the item I want?

The catalogue provides information on materials in different formats, locations and editions. Check the catalogue listing for your item to find out if we have another copy. You can also check whether the item is available online via eResources. Click on the 'Help' tab for more information on how to search eResources.

Getting started with the catalogue