Donating to the collection

If you have an item or collection of items which you would like to see permanently located in the John Oxley Library collection, there are a few simple steps to follow. Unsolicited donations which do not meet our selection criteria will be disposed of at State Library’s discretion.

Collection donations

If you have an item or collection of items which you would like to see permanently located in the John Oxley Library collection, follow these simple steps.

Search our catalogue for the title of your publication. We do not collect duplicate copies of items, unless the editions are significantly different. This step does not apply for original materials.

Queensland Memory Collections

State Library is committed to growing its unique Queensland collections for the benefit of current and future generations. We acquire our Queensland collections through purchases, donations, private sales, legal deposit, auctions and bequests.

We appreciate hearing from individuals, businesses and organisations about possible donations to our Queensland collections.

 Donations are assessed in relation to:

We collect material and are interested in items not already held which are:

  • published in Queensland (legal deposit)
  • substantially about Queensland
  • by a Queensland author/creator (imaginative writing such as fiction, drama or poetry)
  • significantly related to the history, culture or development of Queensland.

Examples of material we do not collect are:

  • duplicate copies of titles already held
  • unpublished government records
  • copies of original materials
  • family histories published outside Queensland with little or no content relating to Queensland.

We also collect material related to Australian fine art and other rare items on a case-by-case basis.

If you think your item or collection meets the selection criteria for inclusion in the John Oxley Library, please make contact with us using the Donation enquiry form before sending any material.

Our collections are curated by expert staff who have the final decision on whether an item is accepted into the library’s permanent collections.

If the library decides to accept your donation, or in some instances at the point of making the offer, we ask that you assist us by listing multiple item(s) on the relevant form.

If your donation involves original content (unpublished records) you may also need to complete a Deed of Gift which outlines conditions of access, use and reproduction rights.

Queensland Library Foundation

The Queensland Library Foundation seeks donations on behalf of State Library to maintain, enhance and expand Queensland's cultural heritage.

You can support the Foundation's work by making a donation or a bequest, or contributing to the Legacy Partners Program.

Queensland collections

State Library of Queensland is a leading collector of Queensland's documentary heritage. Our collection activities are designed to capture the essence and distinctiveness of Queensland for current and future generations.

We acquire a wide range of content, both contemporary and retrospective, in the interests of chronicling events, people, places and ideas that continue to shape Queensland.

Content is acquired for the informational value it contributes to the building of a collection which reflects the Queensland experience. The emphasis in developing the John Oxley Library collections is on scope and depth rather than on number of items acquired.

Our challenge is to proactively seek material that represents the diversity of the Queensland experience.

We collect both original materials (examples are diaries, letters and oral histories) and materials published in and about Queensland and by Queensland authors.

Materials are collected for their:

  • research value
  • historical association, and their
  • social and cultural significance.

Other factors to be considered are:

  • provenance and context
  • representative criteria
  • rarity
  • condition
  • completeness
  • integrity
  • interpretative potential.

State Reference Library Collections

State Library is committed under the Libraries Act 1988 to provide reference and informational services to the state. State Library maintains collections to provide for the information needs of all Queensland residents.

The collecting focus is responsive to the future research needs of our community. Particular attention is given to the quality and currency of information provided by State Reference Library collections.

Items are purchased for these collections via targeted collection strategies. Donations are not acquired for the Information Collections and are only applicable to State Library’s Memory Collections (principally to the John Oxley Library).

Material which duplicates items already held in the collection is not collected.

Donations are only accepted for the Memory Collections and must relate substantially to Queensland’s history, culture or development.     

Further categories not collected are:

  • memoirs and family histories which do not include substantial information about a locality, district or significant public event associated with Queensland
  • publications primarily about the personal or spiritual development of individuals living in Queensland (unless the creator has a significant public profile as a Queenslander).
  • duplicates or reformatted versions of items already widely available to the public
  • copies, reprints, recompilations and editions without substantial change (including braille editions and adaptive technologies.)
  • reprints of self-published works produced to correct errors in previous print runs
  • curriculum materials published outside Queensland
  • non-Queensland publications that have been owned by prominent Queenslanders
  • family bibles
  • conference papers presented in Queensland but without any Queensland content
  • films held by other collecting institutions (e.g. National Film and Sound Archive)
  • self-published works without broad circulation (i.e. not meeting the definition of “published” in Part 8 of the Libraries Act)
  • works of non-fiction by Queensland authors published outside Queensland with little significant Queensland content
  • research notes, indexes and lists taken from existing collections
  • items with limited copyright permissions or significant access restrictions
  • objects (e.g. costumes, furniture, realia) that are not contextualised by accompanying information or collection material
  • receipts, invoices and other basic financial records
  • theses not relevant to Queensland
  • online games
  • mobile apps
  • newsgroups, discussion lists, bulletin boards, chatrooms and related content
  • websites which only serve the purpose of organising Internet information (directories, indexes)
  • intranet websites.

Material not collected for the Original Content collection:

  • reproductions or duplicate copies of original materials
  • official records created by government departments or agencies (these are collected by Queensland State Archives)
  • research notes, except those with significant original content relating to Queensland
  • original materials (including images and works of art) with significant copyright encumbrances or unreasonable restrictions on access.

State Library is committed to growing its unique digital heritage collections for the benefit of current and future generations. As with our paper collections, we acquire digital collections through donations, private sales, legal deposit, auctions and bequests.

Digital items generally fall into two categories – born digital and turned digital.

  • Born digital: Materials that originate in digital form and which, in their original form, require a digital device to be utilised.
  • Turned digital: Materials that have been created in analogue/physical/paper form, later converted to digital form.

Digital items commonly acquired by State Library include:

  • websites and blogs
  • digital photographs and film footage
  • digital documents (newsletters, journals, etc)
  • e-books
  • digital sound recordings
  • online newspapers
  • digital stories and oral histories
  • digital media (CDs, DVDs, CD-Roms)
  • personal papers and archives, created digitally (including electronic correspondence, diaries, literary drafts, etc)
  • business and organisational records, created digitally (including minutes, reports, ledgers, notes, speeches, correspondence, etc)
  • computer-generated architectural plans
  • computer-generated maps
  • emails and mobile phone text messages
  • social media including Twitter feeds (with appropriate permissions)
  • web comics
  • zines
  • ephemera (invitations, posters, catalogues, menus, etc).
  • digital art (unless it depicts a specific event/person/place relating to our state/country's history, with significant research value)
  • games (a representative sample of video games created in state/country will be collectedD
  • mobile apps (a representative sample of mobile applications created in state/country will be collected)
  • digital collections where provenance (ownership and/or creator) cannot be established or verified
  • digital collections with excessively prohibitive restrictions on their use
  • duplicate copies of items.

Depending on the type, size, fragility and value of your collection, it can be submitted:

  • in person
  • online via the Deposit Wizard (if it’s a legal deposit publication)
  • via email or by post.

Once received by the library your donation will be checked for viruses (digital donations) or pests (paper and analogue donations) and then placed in a queue for processing.

Please be patient. The process of describing, locating and preserving collection items appropriately is time consuming. Your donated item(s) may be 'in process' for quite some time.

If you have any questions about the donation process, please contact us.

State Library of Queensland is not able to accept all donation offers.

While your proposed donation might not match our selection criteria it may be suitable for another collection. Try your local library, archive, museum or historical society.

Below are some links to help you find an alternative home for your item(s):

Unsolicited donations that do not meet our selection criteria will be disposed of at State Library's discretion.

State Library's collections have been significantly enhanced by the generosity of donors who have made bequests to the library. These bequests benefit our entire community and we thank everyone who has made bequests in the past.

If you are considering making a future bequest to the library, it is important that your wishes are clear, concise and without ambiguity.

It is not general practice at State Library to accept "copy loans" of original photographs or other material owned by private individuals, unless the material is of exceptional historical importance. It is State Library's strong preference to accept the original item and to ensure its preservation and ongoing access.

State Library participates in the Cultural Gifts Program, a taxation incentive scheme administered by the Department of Communications and the Arts to encourage culturally significant gifts to public art galleries, museums, libraries and archives.

It is State Library's policy for donors to arrange and pay for the valuation of the material being donated.

State Library purchases collections from contracted library suppliers, antiquarian dealers, vendors and private individuals. The same selection criteria apply to purchases as to donations.

Queensland State Archives, National Archives of Australia and the John Oxley Library are all in the business of preserving collections for future generations and making them publicly available.

Official records created by Queensland Government departments or agencies in their daily work are categorised as government records and are collected by Queensland State Archives.

Original records created by Commonwealth Government departments or agencies are held by the National Archives of Australia.

State Library only collects copies of government publications which have been made available to the general public (i.e. have been published).  Official government records not in the published category are collected by the relevant State or National Archives.

In addition to published government items, the John Oxley Library collects a range of unpublished (original) material produced by non-government agencies. Examples are:  personal papers and manuscripts, business/organisation records, architectural drawings/ plans, original photographs and motion picture footage, realia, oral histories, artworks and station records.

If the DVDs are substantially related to Queensland or have been produced in Queensland and we don't already have a copy, we would like to see them. Otherwise it is very unlikely we will add them to the collection. Please see the FAQ relating to Movies/Motion Picture footage for more information.

The Bible is the most frequently published book in the English language. Although bibles are quite often offered to State Library, they are generally not accepted for the collection.

The History and Art of the Book Collection holds a number of bibles which are regarded as significant editions. They represent examples of: early and fine printing, fine bindings, illuminations, chromolithography and private press publishing.

If your books are substantially about Queensland or published in Queensland and we don't already have a copy, we would like to see them. In all other cases it is very unlikely we would add them to the collection.

Exceptions are items which might be considered rare or unique because of their binding, printing technique or illustrations. If you think they might be in this category please contact us via the Donation Enquiry Form. Otherwise please see the FAQ 'What happens if my item/collection is not accepted?' for a list of possible alternatives homes for your item.

State Library has a strong commitment to collecting and sharing Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Any material that documents the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Queensland is of significant interest for the collection: from 19th century photographs and manuscripts to contemporary content such as digital stories and digital images. The process for acquiring and making this material available is consistent with State Library's Protocols for Indigenous Collections.

State Library collects film and video that reflects Queensland's history and its contemporary stories.

A range of formats - including 16mm, Super 8, VHS and digital MOV files - are accepted.

Particular areas of interest include:

  • early home movie footage,
  • unpublished documentary footage
  • filmed interviews

The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) is the lead agency for collecting motion picture footage in Australia. If a copy of a film has already been lodged with NFSA, State Library will not generally acquire another copy. Broadcast footage is not usually accepted.

Donation offers involving works by and about prominent Australians from other states will be assessed for the John Oxley Library collection on the basis of their significance to Queensland. Only works with a high percentage of information about Queensland events, people or places will be considered for inclusion in the collection.

The State Library of Queensland broadly defines a Queensland author as: someone who has published a work (under his or her own name or a nom de plume) and who has resided in Queensland for five or more years.

The criteria for selecting publications for the Queensland collections is substantially different for imaginative works (fiction) and works of non-fiction.

Imaginative works: The State Library's John Oxley Library collects novels, short stories, poetry, stage plays, screen plays and song lyrics by Queensland writers.

Non-fiction works by Queensland writers (excluding legal deposit items), will be assessed for the collection on the basis of their Queensland content.  If the work on offer is substantially about Queensland events, people or places it will be considered for the collection.

Books are regarded as rare on the basis of their age, scarcity or monetary value. The State Library of Queensland collects rare books for the John Oxley Library and The Australian Library of Art.

Rare books will be considered for the Australian Library of Art Collections providing they are exhibition quality items related to Australian fine arts such as:

  • deluxe and limited editions
  • private press publications
  • examples of fine book production
  • designer book bindings
  • books published before 1842, including incunabula
  • works which contain fine examples of illustration.

Our donation enquiry form is used to offer a donation.

Two forms may need to be completed to formalise a donation offer.

These are:

Item Listing:  At the point of making the offer we ask donors to assist us by listing and/or describing their donations, guided by the instructions on the form.

If your offer is accepted, this information will subsequently be incorporated into State Library’s online catalogue record. The detail you provide will enhance the usefulness of the record in providing access to the donated item(s).

If you are unable to complete the listing for any reason, please contact us.

Deed of Gift:  If your donation offer involves original content (unpublished records such as diaries, letters or photographs) and is accepted by State Library, we may also ask you to complete a Deed of Gift. The Deed of Gift establishes conditions of access, use and reproduction rights.

State Library is an active participant in PANDORA - Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia - a national archive of Australian online publications and websites. For more information about our involvement in PANDORA and to access our collection of archived Queensland websites, please view archived websites.

If you know of a Queensland website that should be preserved, please suggest a site for PANDORA.

Published content:  Books, serial publications and related items are considered to have been published if reproductions of their content have been supplied (whether by sale or otherwise) to the general public via a commercial distributor.

Original content:  Original materials consist of unpublished personal and organisational records which, in contrast to published content, have not been made available to the general public via a commercial distributor.

 Examples include, but are not limited to, manuscripts, personal papers, diaries, letters, business and organisatonal records, architectural plans, motion picture footage, sound recordings and photographs.

These definitions refer to both electronic and hard copy (paper or residing on a physical carrier) versions of a work.

The Queensland Library Foundation seeks donations to maintain, enhance and expand State Library's collections, facilities and services, and to preserve Queensland's cultural heritage. You can support the Foundation's work by making a donation or arranging for a bequest, or contributing to the Legacy Partners Program.