National Library of Australia

National Library of Australia
National Library of Australia logo.svg
National Library of Australia, ACT - perspective controlled.jpg
Established23 March 1961; 58 years ago (1961-03-23)
Reference to legal mandateNational Library Act 1960
LocationCanberra, ACT
Coordinates35°17′47″S 149°07′46″E / 35°17′47″S 149°07′46″E / -35.296379; 149.129448
Official nameNational Library of Australia and Surrounds, Parkes Pl, Parkes, ACT, Australia
TypeListed place
CriteriaA., D., E., F., G., H.
Designated22 June 2004
Reference no.105470
Designed byBunning and Madden
Architectural styleLate Twentieth Century Stripped Classical
References: [1][2][3][4][5]
National Library of Australia as viewed from Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra
The original National Library building on Kings Avenue, Canberra, was designed by Edward Henderson. Originally intended to be several wings, only one wing was completed and was demolished in 1968. Now the site of the Edmund Barton Building.

The National Library of Australia (NLA) is the largest reference library in Australia, responsible under the terms of the National Library Act for "maintaining and developing a national collection of library material, including a comprehensive collection of library material relating to Australia and the Australian people." In 2012–13, the National Library collection comprised 6,496,772 items, and an additional 15,506 metres (50,873 ft) of manuscript material.[3] It is located in Parkes, Canberra, ACT.[6]

History

The National Library of Australia, while formally established by the passage of the National Library Act 1960 (Cth), had been functioning as a national library rather than strictly a Parliamentary Library, almost since its inception.

In 1901 a Commonwealth Parliamentary Library was established to serve the newly formed Federal Parliament of Australia. From its inception the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library was driven to development of a truly national collection. In 1907 the Joint Parliamentary Library Committee under the Chairmanship of the Speaker, Sir Frederick William Holder defined the objective of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library in the following words:

The Library Committee is keeping before it the ideal of building up, for the time when Parliament shall be established in the Federal Capital, a great Public Library on the lines of the world-famed Library of Congress at Washington; such a library, indeed, as shall be worthy of the Australian Nation; the home of the literature, not of a State, or of a period, but of the world, and of all time.[7]

The present library building was opened on 15 August 1968 by Prime Minister John Gorton.[8][9] The building was designed by the architectural firm of Bunning and Madden in the Late Twentieth Century Stripped Classical style. The foyer is decorated in marble, with stained-glass windows by Leonard French and three tapestries by Mathieu Matégot.[10] The building was listed on the Australian Commonwealth Heritage List on 22 June 2004.[5]