Content Strategy introduction
Collections are intrinsic to State Library of Queensland’s mission, identified in the Libraries Act 1988, to “contribute to the cultural, social and intellectual development of all Queenslanders.” The role of collections at State Library has remained remarkably consistent through the organisation’s history. Three key functions have continued through different organisational iterations:
- To provide a thorough documentary record of Queensland, making publicly available a repository of content able to be interpreted and used to create new knowledge;
- To provide information to Queenslanders, supporting their research endeavours;
- To support Queensland public libraries meet the information, learning, recreational and creative needs of their communities.
Users continue to seek out the content within State Library’s collections, in order to meet their individual needs. In a traditional library setting, the content and the physicality of collection items were inherently linked. To access the content, a user had no choice but to locate the physical object. Digital technology has disrupted this long-established model. Users are now able to access content without a physical carrier. In many cases, content is created only in digital format: a “born digital” item. This shift towards a culture of access and new possibilities made possible by the digital prompts the key questions, “what content does State Library need and how it should make it available, to meet both its current and future commitments?”
Libraries play a pivotal role in life-long learning and enriching people’s lives. The mechanisms available to achieve this objective have broadened considerably. Providing access to physical collections is now just one way that State Library can benefit its users. More than ever, State Library must adapt its approach to put the user at the centre. Being responsive and using the opportunities of digital technology will ensure that State Library is able to continue to meet users’ expectations.
State Library’s collections, particularly within the John Oxley Library, provide the organisation with a point-of-difference. As its most significant asset, the collections of State Library need careful, consistent and sustainable management. Furthermore, the potential within these collections must be realised with focused engagement activities designed to meet specific outcomes.
This Content Strategy provides a framework for the holistic management of collections at State Library. It articulates the intent for State Library’s collections and how the organisation assigns value to its various categories of content, taking into account all stages of the collection lifecycle, from selection to engagement. This strategy ensures that State Library’s content activities align with the guiding principles of the Libraries Act 1988, support State Library’s Strategic Plan Towards 2020 and continue to meet the needs of users in a changing technological environment.
Collection Development, Access and Engagement Guidelines complement this high-level strategy. These living documents outline operational details on the content that State Library acquires, how it makes it accessible, and the processes to ensure public engagement.
This Content Strategy represents a continued development of State Library’s thinking towards collections and the people they serve. It positions the organisation as a leader in contemporary approaches to collection management by adopting an outcome and client-focused approach to all collection activities. We look forward to working with our staff, partners, donors, researchers, collaborators and supporters to implement this strategy.
State Librarian and Chief Executive Officer
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