Strategic review of Parliamentary Library services

Issue date: Friday, 25 March 2022

The Parliamentary Library is a vital information and research resource for the Australian Parliament and consistently receives strong client evaluation results. Parliamentarians operate in an environment of rapid and ongoing change and it is timely to conduct a comprehensive review to identify opportunities for new services, benchmark its structures and performance measures against comparable institutions, and strategically plan services to ensure they remain relevant and trusted for the next decade. A copy of the terms of reference for the review is attached.

It is critical that the review be conducted by an independent and highly regarded leader in this field. We have engaged Ms Roxanne Missingham OAM, University Librarian (Chief Scholarly Information Officer), Australian National University, to lead the review. We are exceptionally grateful to both Ms Missingham and the university for generously providing her services gratis. Ms Missingham was formerly the Parliamentary Librarian for six years before her appointment to her current position. Ms Missingham, will work closely with the Parliamentary Librarian, Dr Dianne Heriot, and her team, and we expect the project to be complete by the end of the financial year.

Dr Heriot’s second term as Parliamentary Librarian is due to end on 10 May 2022. At the end of this term, Dr Heriot will have served 10 years in that role. She has served in that role with distinction and has evolved the Library's services in accordance with the changing needs of the Parliament and maintained the Library’s standing as a trusted source for authoritative information.

With the review process being undertaken and the intent to set a vision for the Library's services to the Parliament for the next 10 years, we intend to extend Dr Heriot’s appointment for a further 12 months to enable Dr Heriot and Ms Missingham to complete the review process and develop an implementation plan.

We then intend to undertake an external recruitment process to ensure the most competitive field possible for the role. An executive search firm with experience in executive recruitment of information management professionals will be engaged to assist us in this process. The new Parliamentary Librarian will then be charged with implementation of the vision and the recommendations that flow from the review.

An organisation experienced with senior executive recruitment with placing information management professionals will be engaged to assist us in the recruitment process.

We are pleased to advise that at the conclusion of her term, Dr Heriot will remain with the Department of Parliamentary Services to continue her current work as leader of the Design Integrity and Special Collections and Art Collections teams.

Terms of reference

The primary objective of the review is to identify and optimise services to meet the needs of parliamentarians now and five to 10 years into the future. The review will consider the following matters:

  • How the Library can build and sustain capacity to adapt, innovate and optimise resources to meet the Parliament’s evolving needs, so that its products and services remain relevant and trusted
  • Consider how the Library can enhance its support for the work of the Parliament with respect to policy, legislation and scrutiny
  • Identify gaps between expressed need and current services
  • Forecast client needs across the research and library sector considering trends and service innovations
  • What should be the role of the Library in providing parliamentarians and their staff training and information in conducting research
  • Compare services, resourcing and structures across other parliamentary and comparable libraries internationally
  • Building on previous benchmarking, review the relevance and effectiveness of the Library’s performance measures
  • How should the modern Parliamentary Library fit into the ‘information ecosystem’ within the Australian Parliament taking account of the work of the Parliamentary Budget Office and parliamentary committee.