1. Policy statement

The Library enables and is a participant in the creation of knowledge. It develops, curates and preserves an astounding and diverse collection that inspires, delights and educates Australians. The Library’s collections and services extend understanding of issues of contemporary significance, build strong community connections and underpin its leadership activities.

The Library develops and delivers an engaging program of public events to assist the Library to achieve its strategic aspirations. In particular, the events program supports Strategic Priority 2: Make Access Happen:

  • Transform Australian lives by connecting communities to their national collection through vibrant onsite and online programs and services, developed with strategic partners and harnessing new opportunities in the digital environment.
  • Build respectful relationships with Indigenous communities and connect them with collections relating to their rich cultural heritage.
  • Facilitate and participate in the creation of new knowledge and works of imagination.

By facilitating public engagement with and active interpretation of the collection and its social context, public events create greater understanding of the role of the National Library, it’s collections services and its role in the facilitation of new knowledge creation.

2. Policy scope

This policy provides a framework for the development and implementation of the Library's Events Program.

It addresses onsite and online public events planned, developed and implemented by the Community Programs Section, Community Outreach Branch, Executive and Public Programs Division. It does not cover invitation-only events, Fellowship events, events delivered by the National Library Bookshop or external venue hire activities.

3. Definitions

Audience The people who make up the Library’s public including general visitors, exhibition visitors, researchers, readers, volunteers, media, institutions, donors and sponsors, and online visitors.
Audience Size The total number of visitors anticipated to attend a specific event.
Event Onsite or online program designed to engage an audience with the Library, encourage a greater understanding of the Library collection or its role as a knowledge creator, and which is available to all members of the public.
Events Program The schedule of event activity delivered by Community Programs for a given period, usually reflected in seasonal quarters.
Major Events Public events, delivered onsite or online, that have significant implications, particularly in relation to strategic partnerships, resourcing or corporate goals. These may include endowed lectures, public programing relating to ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions, events requiring off-budget support.

4. Key roles and responsibilities

Director-General Chairs the Events and Education Committee.
Events and Education Committee Provides strategic guidance and advice for the Events Program and assesses major event proposals for inclusion in the Events Program.
Assistant Director-General, Executive and Public Programs Provides strategic oversight for the Events Program
Director, Community Outreach Provides oversight for the planning and delivery of onsite and online events by the Community Programs Section. Oversees the Events and Education Committee secretariat.
Community Programs Section Responsible for planning and delivering onsite and online events for a general audience.

5. Key outcome(s) and output(s)

The Library delivers an engaging, well-attended program of public events, onsite and online, that assists the Library to achieve its strategic objectives.

Success will be determined by:

  • Audience size;
  • Formal evaluations;
  • Solicited and unsolicited comments;
  • Performance against KPIs and budget;
  • Comparison with agreed benchmarks and standards, including financial outcomes;
  • Revenue generated.

6. Events and education committee

The cross-divisional Events and Education Committee, chaired by the Director-General, advises on all Events and Education matters, including approving major event proposals, and establishing events and education polices and guidelines.

The Events and Education Committee meets three (3) times a year. Additional meetings may be convened at the request of the Director-General. Secretariat support is provided by Community Outreach Branch.

In addition to the Director-General, membership of the Events and Education Committee comprises:

  • Assistant Director-General, Executive and Public Programs
  • Assistant Director-General, Australian Collections and Reader Services
  • Assistant Director-General, Collections Management
  • Director, Community Outreach
  • Assistant Director, Community Outreach
  • Director, Exhibitions
  • Director, Building and Security Services
  • Manager, Main Reading Room and Family History
  • Manager, Sales & Promotion
  • Communications & Marketing Manager
  • Media Liaison Manager
  • Representatives as appropriate from Information Technology, Special Collections, and Community Outreach.

It is understood that the nature of event programing and stakeholder input demands a flexible schedule and therefore event proposals may be considered by the Committee out of session or at a divisional level.

7. Event programming principles

The Events Program aims to raise the profile of the Library, its collections and services within the broad general community. The Community Outreach Branch considers the Library’s strategic priorities, as well as matters of scholarship, research, policy, ideas and issues, in developing the Events Program.

National Library events should:

  • Enhance access to the collections and services of the Library;
  • Promote a greater understanding of Australian life and culture for audiences;
  • Attract new audiences to the Library;
  • Promote research and interpretation of the Library’s collections;
  • Contribute to the public awareness of the Library as a significant national cultural institution;
  • Assist the Library to generate revenue.

Event Proposals are considered based on their alignment with above principles.

The right to hold or cancel an event is at the discretion of the Library.

Projected targets for quantity, quality, timeliness and effectiveness will be set prior to the beginning of the each financial year, and will be determined by corporate priorities and available resources.

8. Event resourcing

For events to proceed, resources must be identified prior to the event being planned and promoted and a decision on viability made at divisional level. Proposed events will be supported on the basis of predicted audience size relative to investment and the Library’s strategic priorities.

All major event proposals will be accompanied by a budget outlining anticipated costs and revenue. However, it is acknowledged that many of the benefits of such programs are intangible. The Community Programs Section will review events regularly based on qualitative, quantitative and financial data.

9. Event partnerships

Proposed collaborations must be discussed with the Events and Education Committee or the Assistant Director-General, Executive and Public Programs before being confirmed. Collaborations will occur only if they provide identifiable benefits to the Library and those benefits outweigh the costs incurred by the Library in participating.

Proposed collaborations or externally generated events which do not fall into the framework may be redirected to Venue Hire.

10. Revision

This policy will be reviewed annually at the third Events and Education Committee meeting held in each calendar year.

11. References and related documents

The following documents and/or legislation were considered when developing this policy:

  • National Library Act 1960
  • National Library Corporate Plan 2016-2020
  • Exhibitions Policy
  • Learning Policy
  • Reader Services policy
  • Policy on Sponsorship and Fundraising
  • Venue Hire Policy
  • Guidelines for National Library Collection Viewings or Displays
  • Guidelines on Venue Hire
  • Guidelines on Charging for Events

The following documents are related to this policy:

  • Learning Policy
  • Guidelines for National Library Collection Viewings or Displays
  • Guidelines on Charging for Events