State Library of Queensland

Vision: Smart libraries build smart communities

Mission: Creatively linking Queenslanders to information, knowledge and each other

Our values: Engagement, Outreach, Relevance, Respect, Responsiveness, Value for money, Working together

Who we are

Since its establishment in 1902, the State Library of Queensland has provided library services to the people of Queensland. The State Library is Australia’s leading library of Queensland’s documentary heritage, major reference and research collections, and an advocate of and partner with public libraries across Queensland.

Queenslanders make an estimated twelve million visits to the State Library annually either in person or via the Internet. Each year, State Library answers almost 50,000 information enquiries and lends approximately 500,000 books and information resources to the State's public libraries and other institutions.

The State Library provides access to more than 25,000 online photographic images and manuscripts and more than 5,500 online magazine and journal titles.

The State Library operates as a hub to a network of more than 330 library service points (including a growing number of Indigenous Knowledge Centres), in partnership with Local Government and Community Councils for the delivery of library services. Queenslanders make some 18 million visits to public libraries each year, with approximately 1.8 million registered as members.

Key roles of the State Library include:

building collections and ensuring they are appropriately cared for and stored;

providing reference and research services to all Queenslanders through the development of collections and delivery of services;

collecting, arranging, preserving and providing access to Queensland's documentary heritage;

developing and promoting services and programs to a diverse range of audiences, including children and young people;

providing funding and support services to public libraries and facilitating the provision of public library services for all Queenslanders;

developing and supporting the provision of library services to Indigenous peoples;

meeting the needs of regional, rural and remote Queenslanders through statewide services and programs; and

positioning the State Library as the key player in facilitating relationships and cooperation between the publicly funded libraries in Queensland via the Smart Library network.

The Library Board of Queensland is the governing body of the State Library of Queensland and draws its powers from the Libraries Act 1988. The object of this Act is to contribute to the cultural, social and intellectual development of all Queenslanders. The services and collections of the State Library are delivered through a number of key organisational programs under the direction of a team of senior management staff.


The State Library provides:

access to reference and general collections and services, including books, journals and magazines, newspapers, audiovisual, family history, maps, music, ephemera and electronic resources;

access to research collections and services, including the John Oxley Library of Queensland history and the Australian Library of Art, which includes the James Hardie Library of Australian Fine Arts;

books and other resource material to public libraries throughout Queensland and specialist services to public libraries in a number of areas, including services to young people and multicultural communities;

public programs and exhibitions, including exhibition loans to schools, museums and other community organisations;

outreach programs in reference, research, information literacy, Internet training and digitisation throughout Queensland for library staff and the general community; and

Indigenous library services including the establishment of Indigenous Knowledge Centres primarily in Cape York and Torres Strait regions and increasing the employment and training opportunities for Indigenous peoples in the library industry.

The State Library's mission, based on the Libraries Act 1988 (Queensland), is to advance the cultural, social and intellectual development of all Queenslanders by providing world class library and information services throughout the State, receiving as legal deposit all items published in Queensland and collecting, preserving and providing access to Queensland's documentary heritage and resources produced by Queenslanders.

In total, the collections currently contain over 3.5 million items. Collection statistics can be found in the latest State Library Annual Report showing holdings by type of material and annual growth rates. These collections are held by the State Reference Library, the Heritage Collections, namely the Australian Library of Art and the John Oxley Library, and the Public Library Services.

The State Library of Queensland's Reference collections comprise books, serials and magazines, newspapers and government publications. All of these materials may be available in a variety of paper, microform and electronic formats.

The collection has a strong Australian focus, although material published overseas is also acquired. Particularly good collections are held in the areas of: Australian Law, Literature, Business, Motor maintenance and repair data and Newspapers.

Australian Library of Art was donated by James Hardie Industries Limited to the State Library of Queensland as a Bicentennial gift to the Nation in 1988.


The James Hardie Library is a research collection in the area of Australian art. It has comprehensive collections of printed materials such as: books, periodicals, exhibition catalogues, Limited edition Australian art books,

Australian private press publications,

First edition Australian art books, First Australian art magazine,

First Australian art book of an Australian artist with colour plates,

First book on an Australian photographer, Ephemera


What is now the John Oxley Library officially opened in 1934 as the Oxley Memorial Library. Established as a centre for research and study relating to the history of Queensland, it was originally funded from money acquired in 1924 during the Brisbane Centenary Celebrations. In 1946 the Library Board of Queensland undertook to resource the Library.

Collections include:

Queensland-related books

journals, magazines and newspapers

government publications

ephemera, including pamphlets, original art works, manuscripts, oral histories

photographs. Our strengths are Australian literature (particularly Queensland literature) and Australian exploration and discovery.

The print collections are augmented by extensive microform and electronic collections.

Public Library Service collections

State Library of Queensland Public Library Service collections exist to stock Queensland Country Lending Service Libraries and to support Queensland Independent Libraries collections. Items in this collection are only available from your local Queensland Public Library.

The collections reflect those found in a Public Library, in a variety of traditional and emerging formats:Fiction, Non fiction

Young Peoples Fiction and Non Fiction Large Type, Video and DVD, Community languages, Audio Books. The collections provide a balance of recreational reading, factual data, popular culture ,and social trends to assist libraries in fulfilling their roles as cultural, reference and information centres. There is appropriate Indigenous material identified within the collections.