Part 5Parliamentary Library

Achievements 2017–18

The Library’s Strategic Plan (2015–16 to 2019–20) sets out five priorities:

  • retaining our position as our clients’ preferred and trusted source of high quality information, analysis and advice
  • ensuring a high and consistent quality in services
  • increasing digital access and service
  • supporting the Parliament’s engagement with the community and the ongoing development of parliamentary democracy, and
  • strengthening our staff’s capability.

The strategic plan is supplemented by annual business plans which set out the key deliverables and service standards/targets for that year. These are approved each year by the Presiding Officers as annexures to Library’s Resource Agreement.

How we retain our position as our clients’ preferred and trusted source of high-quality information, analysis and advice

Evaluation of the Parliamentary Library’s services

The Library conducts a formal review of the needs of clients once in every Parliament to assist it to:

  • measure satisfaction levels with library and research services
  • gain insights into the use of services, and
  • determine the direction of future information and service delivery.

Following a Request for Quotation, the contract for the Library’s evaluation for the 45th Parliament was awarded to Uncommon Knowledge, a Canberra-based consultancy which had also undertaken the 2015 evaluation. Uncommon Knowledge conducted face-to-face interviews with 46 parliamentarians and their staff, and a focus group and one in-depth interview with parliamentary staff. This was followed by an online survey that was completed by 160 parliamentarians and their staff, and 34 committee staff.

Pleasingly, the overall response of parliamentarians and their staff—both to Library staff and services—was extremely positive, with satisfaction ratings very slightly higher than in the 2015 evaluation (94 per cent compared to 93 per cent).25 Most considered Library staff to be hard-working, professional and friendly and our services to be of a high quality. The Library was seen to perform very well on all measures of service delivery. Importantly, 99 per cent said they would recommend the Library’s services to a colleague (up from 97 per cent in the last evaluation).

Consistent with the last evaluation, satisfaction among committee staff was lower at 82 per cent, though this had improved from 78 per cent in 2015; however, their likelihood to recommend the Library to a colleague was high (100 per cent). Committee staff also spoke highly of the responsiveness, professionalism and quality of the Library’s services.

The two issues raised consistently across the qualitative and quantitative research were a perceived variability in the quality and timeliness of research services. These were also the main issues raised in the previous evaluation. However, there was also an increase in the number of respondents who thought the Library’s services had improved since that time. Reasons given for this improvement in service included time taken to understand the requests, promotion of services, building of relationships, and innovation.

The evaluators made nine recommendations addressing

  • quality control
  • client outreach, and
  • client request tracking.

The evaluation report was discussed by the JSCPL in February 2018. The findings were also discussed at a whole of Library meeting in March. The report has been published on the Parliament of Australia website to help ensure transparency in the Library’s operations.

Responding to the recommendations arising from the evaluation will be priority in the Library’s business plans for 2018–19 and 2019–20.

Parliamentary tradition: the signing of the Parliament’s Bible

In March 2018, the President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Scott Ryan, added his name to the roll of presiding officers in the Parliament’s Bible.

The Bible is an important but little-known piece of parliamentary history and tradition. The Bible and its accompanying lectern were presented to the Parliament in September 1919 by Governor-General Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson on behalf of the British and Foreign Bible Society. The gift commemorated the ‘signing’ of the peace treaty which ended the ‘World Wide War’.

What makes the Bible a particular treasure is that it contains the signatures of all the Presidents and Speakers of the Parliament of Australia.

President Scott Ryan and signatures (Auspic)

The 45th Parliament: welcoming new senators and members

Support for new parliamentarians remained a focus of the Library’s work. As a matter of practice, the Library assigns a contact officer to each new senator and member. Thirteen new parliamentarians took their seats in the 2017–18 financial year. Library contact officers introduced them and/or their staff to the diverse range of Library products and services, and demonstrated how the Library could support them in their day-to-day work. The Parliamentary Librarian participated in inductions for parliamentarians and their staff organised by the chamber departments. Individual orientation and training sessions were also offered throughout the year to new staff.

The success of this outreach is evident in the fact that 100 per cent of parliamentarians used the Library’s services in 2017–18 notwithstanding the changes in representation across the two chambers.

Support to Parliament’s consideration of the Budget

Supporting parliamentary scrutiny of the Federal Budget is an annual priority for the Library. 2017 saw a new addition to our budget-related services, with three of Australia’s leading economists participating in a seminar on the strategic context of the Federal Budget and key issues in public finance, debt, trade and superannuation. So well was this received that the Library convened another panel session for the 2018 Budget, with Professor Warwick McKibbin AO (Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Public Policy and Director of the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis in the Crawford School of Public Policy ANU) and Dr John Edwards (Non-resident Fellow, Lowy Institute and Adjunct Professor with the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy at Curtin University).

The Library also held its traditional budget day seminar, with research specialists from the Library’s Economics Section briefing attendees on the Government’s budget strategy, the fiscal outlook, and how to find information in the Portfolio Budget Statements.

Both events were well attended with 68 pass holders attending the panel seminar and 100 attending the Library’s budget day event. Both events were also recorded. The Library also published its annual Budget Review 2018–19 as well as five Budget-related Quick Guides.

Client requests

Senators and members and parliamentary committees, and the staff who support them, are able to request information or commission research and receive confidential, tailored responses by an agreed deadline, in person, by phone, email, or through detailed written advices. The 2017 client services evaluation found that research services remain the most often used of all Library services, with 94 per cent of parliamentarians and their staff using them to some degree.26

In 2017–18, Library staff answered 11,656 such requests (11,681 in 2016–17), providing one-on-one or group briefings, reports and memoranda, maps, statistics and other research products for individual senators and members, as well as analysis and information in support of committee inquiries and parliamentary delegations.

Table 21: Client requests completed in 2017–18
Senators 6,592
Members of the House of Representatives 3,550
Parliamentary committees 198
Departments, reciprocal arrangements and other 1,316
Total 11,656

This metric is further discussed in the performance report.

Research publications

Each year the Library produces a broad range of general distribution publications to provide parliamentarians and their staff with authoritative and timely information and analysis of legislation and of current issues relevant to public policy and administration. These include short, topical FlagPost blogs, statistical bulletins, research papers, and Bills Digests. The 2017 client evaluation found that 87 per cent of parliamentarians and their staff, and 88 per cent of departmental staff made use of the Library’s publications.27

In 2017–18, the Library issued 295 new or refreshed research products, including 133 Bills Digests and 59 research papers. In 2017, three Library research papers again figured in the Analysis and Policy Observatory’s ‘most viewed’ lists, all in its category of international relations: Update on Australian Government measures to counter violent extremism: a quick guide; Boat ‘turnbacks’ in Australia: a quick guide to the statistics since 2001; and Developments in Australian refugee law and policy: the Abbott and Turnbull Coalition governments (2013–2016).

This year, the Library published an innovative new type of research publication—one that reflected the Library’s work to improve the Parliament’s access to information and expertise on topical issues in public policy. Oversight of intelligence agencies: a comparison of the Five Eyes nations was a collaboration between parliamentary researchers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Each group prepared the section covering their own country, and remained separately responsible for the content and accuracy of the contributions. The paper represents a good model for sharing the expertise and insights that each country has of its own legislation and institutions. We are grateful to our colleagues for their contributions to the paper and look forward to exploring opportunities for similar projects on topics of shared interest to our parliaments.

The Library also commissioned a number of research papers from external experts, two of which were published in 2017–18: Office of profit under the Crown (Prof. Anne Twomey) and The ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, Sydney, March 2018: issues and implications (Dr Frank Frost). Professor Twomey also presented a Parliamentary Library lecture on Taking stock of section 44 of the Constitution.

Enhancing client service: Library special briefings

In 2017–18 the Library convened three policy roundtables, focusing on China, Indonesia and Japan.

Like the Library’s long-standing lecture and seminar series, the roundtables bring notable speakers to the Parliament to give senators and members and their staff the opportunity to hear, first-hand, expert opinion on a range of currently relevant topics. However, they offer the benefits of small group discussion, recognising that a less formal format facilitates discussion and affords greater scope for exploring issues. All parliamentarians are invited to these sessions, but the Library particularly encourages senators and members with portfolio or policy interests in the specific field to attend.

Support to parliamentary committees

The Library has increased its focus on providing support to the operations of parliamentary committees, in recognition of the central role they play in the work of parliamentarians—particularly in the examination of legislation and policy issues. The Library can be of considerable assistance at the initial scoping stage of an inquiry; providing the policy history of particular issues; and filling gaps in the evidence provided to the committee through submissions and hearings.

During the reporting period, Library staff proactively contacted secretariats at the commencement of major inquiries to discuss possible areas of assistance, allowing the Library to provide more timely and targeted support. In the case of one large and complex inquiry with a tight reporting time, the Library provided substantial ongoing technical assistance to the secretariat. Senior research branch staff also met with committee secretaries several times a year to discuss service offerings and any issues or problems.

How we ensure a high and consistent quality in services

Review of Key Performance Indicators

As an adjunct task to the evaluation of the Library’s services, Uncommon Knowledge was contracted to undertake a review of its key performance indicators to help ensure they remain appropriate to measure the Library’s performance, capture emerging areas of work and reflect best practice internationally.

In conducting the review, Uncommon Knowledge drew upon interviews with senior staff of legislative libraries in Australia, Canada, the European Union, New Zealand, the United Kingdom (House of Commons Library) and the United States of America (Library of Congress). Desk research was also undertaken on these libraries as well as those of the House of Lords (UK), the Republic of Ireland, and the United Nations (Geneva and New York).

The report found that the Parliamentary Library ‘has a robust performance and reporting framework which is in line with the Commonwealth Government’s requirements for good governance.’28

The JSCPL considered the report at its meeting in June 2018.

Improving research quality and client focus

As reported in the previous Annual Report, the Library implemented a number of strategies to enhance the quality and consistency of its research output, particularly client advices and support to the work of committees. Consequently, it was pleasing to see the most recent client evaluation of our services report an increase in the number of respondents who consider Library services have improved: +six per cent of parliamentarians and their staff, and +14 per cent of Parliamentary committee staff.

Proactive management of the Library collection

The Library maintains a carefully curated collection to meet the contemporary needs of the Parliament—such selectivity being enabled by the Parliament’s ready access to the National Library of Australia’s extensive holdings. The Library aims to keep the collection at around 145,000 monograph titles. It also holds around 45,000 individual print and electronic journal titles, including those contained in the large aggregated subscription services. New material is acquired, and outdated, damaged or redundant material is discarded regularly, while materials on Australian politics, legislation and constitutional matters are retained permanently.

The Library’s budget for information resources is managed throughout the year to ensure resources are spent on a collection which remains relevant and focused. The major part of the Library’s collection expenditure is on current (and digital) sources of information: journals, reference materials and news services.

In 2017, the Library additionally undertook a full review of the collection to ensure acquisitions represent best value for money and add depth and breadth to the collection. The review examined usage statistics, collection overlap data, and vendor licensing and access terms and conditions. It was the first such review since 2012.

How we are expanding digital access and service

Growth of online resources

The Library has, in recent years, increased the range of digital resources so that senators and members have access to this information regardless of time or location. By way of example, approximately 75 per cent of the collection budget was spent on electronic resources in 2017–18. The 2017 evaluation of Library services showed clients appreciated the move to online services and use of emerging technologies.29

The percentage of the Library’s collection available in digital form increased from 42.2 per cent at the end of June 2017 to 45.5 per cent at the end of June 2018. A little over 89 per cent of titles in the serials collection, and almost 30 per cent of monograph titles are available in full text.

Use of these electronic collections is highest when Parliament is sitting; this has been a consistent trend over several years.

Better management of our digital collections

Increasing digital access and services remains a key priority. As part of its digital delivery strategy, the Library is working to ensure it has the necessary policy and procedures, ICT infrastructure, and staff capabilities to collect, preserve and deliver innovative digital content. The Library’s Framework for the Digital Delivery of Library Products and Services, Digital Preservation Framework and Digital Preservation Policy were endorsed by the JSCPL at its 20 March 2017 meeting. The Library is implementing the strategic priorities identified in the Framework for the Digital Delivery of Library Products and Services and the Digital Preservation Framework.

Achievements in 2017–18 included piloting EZproxy to allow greater access to Library products and services outside the parliamentary network and the protected data network. This service will be launched to clients early in the new financial year.

The Library continues to bed down the new digital policies and procedures; a working group has been established to evaluate the Library’s digital preservation framework, policies and procedures.

‘Parliamentary Handbook’ online

In 2017–18, the Library completed the final elements of the ‘Wadsworth’ system, which contains for the first time the digitised biographies of all Commonwealth parliamentarians since 1901 (numbering over 1,700), including their state and territory parliamentary service (if any). Named ‘Wadsworth’ in honour of Arthur Wadsworth, the first Librarian of the Commonwealth Parliament, this new system will provide the biographical information that users see on various parliamentary web pages as well as being searchable through the ParlInfo Search system. It will enable faster and more flexible and accurate searches, and support the provision of a wider range of historical information on the website.

Having completed the framework, data content, software development and testing stages, ‘Wadsworth’ is scheduled to be moved into production in the first months of 2018–19.

Library mapping services

The mapping team in the Library creates and prints custom maps for clients using specialised mapping software that is able to display wide combinations of thematic data, such as socio-economic or infrastructure data, and electoral information. The Library obtains mapping information from online data sources such as, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Electoral Commission, Geoscience Australia, state and territory governments, and industry sector portals and websites.

The Library’s mapping service is extremely popular, with over three quarters of all parliamentarians’ offices requesting mapping products during the year. In 2017–18, the mapping team received approximately 500 requests for mapping products, with the number of maps for each request ranging from 1 to over 20. Overall, the team created almost 2,765 unique digital maps, including welcome pack maps prepared for each electorate; and printed just over 1,435 hard copy maps.

ParlMap—mapping services for clients

In 2017–18, the Library completed the ParlMap project, which offers clients an online self-service mapping system. ParlMap enables clients to create their own maps using Australian Census and election results, and includes all current and historical Commonwealth electorate boundaries.

The system is based on the NationalMap architecture managed by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Library will continue to work with the developers to add further improvements over time.


Digitisation of the Library’s collection, both contemporary and historic records, remains a high priority.

In 2014–15 the Parliamentary Library began a program of preservation digitisation of its information files dating from the 1950s to the early 2000s, a unique collection of Australian political and public policy history still regularly used by clients, Library staff and occasional visiting scholars. Digitisation of historic press releases and the Prime Ministers’ collections was completed the first year, and the biographical ‘condolence’ packs in 2015–16. Digitisation of the news clips collection has been under way since 2014, with ten million pages digitised by the end of 2017–18 (2.75 million being digitised in 2017–18 at a cost of $490,000 from the Library’s capital allocation).

The Library aims to quality assure and upload 20 per cent of the digitised files to ParlInfo Search during 2018–19 and to complete the digitisation of the Parliamentary Authors collection.

As an adjunct project, the Library has also been digitising its large collection of radio and television news and current affairs programs. This collection of pre-2004 audiocassette tapes and audio-visual tapes amounts to 55,000 hours of video footage and 38,000 hours of audio recordings. In many cases these are unique. During 2017–18, the Library digitised a further 5,806 hours of analogue material, significantly exceeding its target of 5,000 hours. In total, 16,160 hours has been digitised since the commencement of this project.

This work is made possible by specific exemptions in the Copyright Act 1968.

Parliamentary Papers Series 1901–2012

In 2015–16, the Library embarked upon a multi-year project to digitise the Parliamentary Papers Series (PPS) bound volumes from 1901 to 2012—some 25,000 reports amounting to around 2.4 million pages. The PPS comprises significant documents that have been presented to Parliament, and subsequently ordered to be printed. They form part of the public record of the proceedings in each Chamber. Digitisation of the PPS will help ensure that it is preserved for the future and will also enable broader and easier access as it becomes available online as a series for the first time.

In 2017–18, Library staff met their target of quality assuring and uploading the first 40 per cent of the digital files to ParlInfo Search, with the whole project expected to be completed in 2018–19.

Once the project is complete, a full set of TIFFs and metadata files will be provided to the National Library of Australia for ingestion into TROVE.

Historic Hansard: Remediation project

During 2009–10 the Parliament undertook a major project to digitise Hansards from 1901 to 1980. Four hundred and thirteen volumes—comprising 610,534 pages of debate—were digitised by the project’s end and published in pdf and XML format. In 2016 the Library discovered 102 XML files were not attached to the correct records, though the PDFs were there. In 2017–18, Library staff located and uploaded the missing files. In addition, 1,300 XML files were corrected and uploaded, covering just under 10 years’ worth of Hansard. The principle focus in this initial period was to ensure that content was grouped under the correct heading, though there was also work done on correcting attribution of speeches to the correct member or senator. The Library will continue to review the entire digitised Historic Hansard database to ensure it is accurate, accessible and meets current preservation and metadata standards.

How we support the Parliament’s engagement with the community and the ongoing development of parliamentary democracy

National Reconciliation Week

Professor Megan Davis delivering the 2018 lecture

Professor Megan Davis delivering the 2018 lecture (Auspic)

As it has for the past several years, the Library marked National Reconciliation Week with a public lecture in the Parliament House Theatre. The 2018 lecture was presented by Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous, and Professor of Law, University of New South Wales. Professor Davis spoke on the significance of the Barunga Statement in relation to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and the work of the Aboriginal constitutional dialogues in designing a framework of reform to address disadvantage and commence a process of reconciliation.

Collaborative partnerships: The ‘First Eight’ Project

In March 2018, the Presiding Officers officially launched ‘The First Eight—Australia’s early Prime Ministers’. The project is a collaborative undertaking between the Parliamentary Library, the National Museum of Australia, the National Archives of Australia, the Victorian Parliamentary Library, the Australian National University’s Australian Studies Institute and Canberra historian Dr David Headon. As part of this collaboration, the Parliamentary Library will be publishing a series of essays and lectures about Australia’s first eight prime ministers—covering the Melbourne period of the Parliament. The first monograph of the series, Alfred Deakin—the lives, the legacy: Australia’s second Prime Minister, written by Dr David Headon, was published in March 2018 and launched by the Presiding Officers. Work in 2018–19 will focus on Australia’s fourth Prime Minister, George Reid, the 100th anniversary of whose death falls on 12 September 2018.

President Scott Ryan, Dr David Headon and Speaker Tony Smith at the launch of the First Eight (Auspic)

Regional engagement

Parliamentary Institute of Cambodia (PIC) delegation

Contributing to the goal of supporting the ongoing development of parliamentary democracy, this year the Library hosted a small group from the PIC, an institute funded by the Swedish and other European governments to assist with capacity building in the region. PIC provides both direct research support to the Cambodian parliament as well as training for parliamentary staff from south-east Asian countries.

The delegation, which included officials from not only Cambodia, but the Philippines, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, spent four days meeting with staff from across the Library and other parliamentary departments, including the committee and procedure offices.

Support to the Solomon Islands Parliament

In March 2018, the Parliamentary Library sent a senior researcher to assist the Solomon Islands Parliament in its consideration of the annual Budget process. This work, funded by the United Nations Development Program, is similar to support provided to the Fiji Parliament reported in previous years.

The researcher joined colleagues from the NSW, Fijian, and Scottish parliaments to share their experience in the techniques and procedures used in supporting parliamentary scrutiny of budgets, and also to actively assist in preparing and delivering briefings.

Pacific Parliamentary Scholars

As part of its ongoing support for parliaments and democracy in the Pacific region, the Library again hosted participants under the Pacific Parliamentary Scholarships Scheme. These scholarships are offered to staff of Pacific parliaments interested in developing their research skills and working on a gender equity issue of relevance in their country. The 2017–18 Scholars were:

  • Sivaitele Leiataua from the Parliament of Samoa, whose project explored the issue of responding to domestic violence in Samoa
  • Tirisiane Logavatu from the Parliament of Fiji, whose project looked at gender responsive budgeting to increase women’s empowerment, and
  • Peter Topura from the Bougainville House of Representatives, whose research was on the issue of parliamentary rules promoting gender.

Association of Parliamentary Librarians of Asia and the Pacific (APLAP)

APLAP was founded in 1990 to encourage cooperation and knowledge sharing between bodies that provide library and research services to parliaments in Asia and the Pacific. Throughout 2017–18, the Parliamentary Library worked closely with other members of the APLAP executive in preparation for its upcoming conference and General meeting in Tokyo in October 2018.

The Library also continues to manage APLAP’s website and Facebook group.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

IFLA is the leading international body for library and information services and its Library and Research Services for Parliaments Section brings together specialist legislative information services from around the world. In 2017–18, the Parliamentary Librarian remained an active member of the Standing Committee administering the Library and Research Services for Parliaments Section.

Other engagement

The Library is also active in the Association of Parliamentary Libraries of Australasia (APLA), a collaborative network of federal and state parliamentary libraries in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, including managing the association’s website.

The Librarian and senior staff met with delegations from the parliaments of India, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal and the Philippines and presented to the 2018 Inter-parliamentary Study of Parliament Course.

In 2017–18, the Library hosted visits of staff from a number of Australian Parliamentary Libraries as well as staff from the Canadian and New Zealand Libraries.

Recognising the importance of supporting the development of professional skills in the library community, the Library also hosted a group of library students from Charles Sturt University and the Canberra Institute of Technology.

Australian Parliamentary Fellowship Program

Summer Research Scholarship

The Parliamentary Library’s Summer Research Scholarship offers post-graduate students the opportunity to undertake a research project at the Parliamentary Library. Scholars undertake a six-week placement in the Library during the summer academic break. They have access to the Library’s collections and facilities, the opportunity to interact with expert librarians and researchers, and mentoring for their research project. Upon submission of their final report, scholars receive a small honorarium. The 2018 Scholars were:

  • Timothea Turnbull, a PhD candidate at the Australian National University, whose project, Parliamentary perceptions of ANZUS: between entrapment and abandonment, looked at 60 years of parliamentary debate on the ANZUS alliance
  • Katherine Taylor, a PhD candidate at the Australian National University, whose project was: What does ‘water security’ mean for northern Australia? A review of federal policy, and
  • Kerrie Wratten, a PhD candidate at Macquarie University, whose project was: A systematic review of the factors that facilitate successful implementation of teacher performance and development frameworks at international school and system levels.

As has now become tradition, the Presiding Officers hosted a reception in the Speaker’s courtyard for the 2018 summer scholars from the Library and the national cultural institutions.

Speaker Tony Smith with the 2018 Summer Scholars from the Parliamentary Library and national cultural institutions (Auspic)

Parliamentary Library intern programs

Since 2014 the Library has been offering four-week placements for interns in the Research and Library Collections and Databases Branches. Thirteen interns have completed the program in Library Collections and Databases (two in 2017–18), five of whom subsequently gained employment in the Parliamentary Library following graduation (three ongoing and two in non-ongoing positions).

Thirteen legal interns have completed the Research Branch program, with one in 2017–18.

This financial year, the Library did not host any ANIP students; however, the Library provided assistance to the wider cohort of interns placed in the Parliament, including access to the Library’s databases and collections. The Parliamentary Librarian is also a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Internship Program Steering Committee.

The Library will continue to consider applications from ANIP participants in the coming year.

Assistance to The Parliament Shop

Since July 2014 the Library has selected and recommended politically themed book titles for sale in The Parliament Shop. Over this period, the Library’s acquisitions team has recommended 626 titles (138 during 2017–18), helping ensure that The Parliament Shop is the ‘go to’ place for politically themed books.

How we strengthen the capabilities of our staff

Restructure of the Library Collections and Databases Branch

To ensure the Library remains positioned to deal with rapidly evolving library technologies and systems, the Library Collections and Databases Branch was reviewed and restructured, with the changes to take effect at the beginning of the new financial year. (Undertaken in close consultation with staff, the restructure is budget neutral and has not resulted in any redundancies.)

A new team has been established, the Library Systems, Projects and Innovation section, which will help ensure the Library is able to innovate to improve client services and meet the challenges of effective digital delivery. The Library Collections and Discovery team (combining the Collection Management and Database and Media Services Staff) will focus on the acquisition, management and organisation of Library collections and content and making them easily discoverable to Library clients.

The Central Enquiry Point section has remained unchanged.

The new structure aligns more closely with the Library’s strategic priorities and will enhance client service.

Training and skills development

The value of the analysis and advice provided to our clients depends in large part on the professional skills and knowledge of the Library’s staff.

During 2017–18, the Library made significant progress in implementing strategies in the Workforce Plan. In 2017–18, Library staff attended diverse seminars, conferences and workshops, with the Library also hosting in-house seminars given by visiting academics.

The Library staff orientation program was significantly redeveloped during 2017–18 and includes training for new starters and their buddies and supervisors with particular focus on client services. A priority for the Library’s in-house program was the legislative and committee processes of parliament, to ensure our products are ‘fit for purpose’. This training included a presentation on the operation of committees and how the Library’s research can contribute most effectively. In March, officers from the Senate Procedure Office presented a seminar on the process of drafting amendments and private members bills, recognising that in many cases our clients use Library research to inform the development of their drafting instructions. The Editors Group continued its program of in-house seminars, which this year covered areas such as accessibility standards.

The Library continues to welcome the opportunity to send officers to the ANZACATT Parliamentary Law, Practice and Procedure (PLPP) Course, while three Library staff from Research Branch participated in the Department’s PEL1 Development Program. Two LCDB staff completed Catching the third wave: local resources, digital repositories and metadata during 2017–18. This course focuses on managing digital resources, digital repositories and digitisation standards.

Engagement with universities

Building on the relationships developed with the Australian National University in the previous reporting period, the Library entered into two additional MOUs with specific schools. The agreements were used as the basis for seeking the university’s assistance with matters including the drafting and technical review of several Bills Digests.

The Library hopes to utilise these relationships in the coming year to deliver Library seminars and other commissioned papers on matters of interest to the Parliament.


25 Uncommon Knowledge, Australian Parliamentary Library: client service evaluation 2017.

26 Uncommon Knowledge, Australian Parliamentary Library: client service evaluation 2017, p. 33.

27 Ibid., pp. 33 and 38.

28 Uncommon Knowledge, Australian Parliamentary Library: KPI Review 2018, p. 24.

29 Ibid, p.5.