Our vision for reconciliation

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s knowledge and cultures are valued and respected as integral to Australia’s identity. The Library promotes, celebrates and reflects First Nations cultures through inclusive and reflective services and collections.

From the Director-General

The National Library of Australia is both a keeper of memories—in the form of its collections— and a server of people. Our collections are rich in the documentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, collected and created by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. They are full of culture, language and knowledge—full of truths, half-truths and frank misunderstandings. They have the power to grow, to heal and to wound. They are understood and interpreted differently by individuals, by communities and over time.

The value of our collections grows through the services we provide, through the relationships we develop with communities, and through the generosity of communities who share their knowledge with us. As a Library community, we are committed to respectful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and to meaningful reconciliation. We understand that we have much to learn about the richness and diversity of First Nations cultures, and that we need to fundamentally rethink what we think we know, and the ways in which our words, actions and work practices must change as part of our reconciliation journey.

I thank all Library colleagues who have worked so hard to develop the Library’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (2020–2022) and colleagues who patiently and persistently advocated for this journey in previous years. I thank the Library’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, our Indigenous Champion and our Library Indigenous Network of Knowledge (LINK) colleagues, who have engaged thoughtfully around the many opportunities for change and have set out a meaningful and achievable program of work.

As Director-General, and as a member of the Library community, I commit to all actions set out in the Library’s reconciliation plan. Some actions are externally focused and are about deepening our relationships with, and service to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Others are internally focused—aimed at building deep and long-term capability, and a nourishing work culture in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues grow, lead, and are recognised for their contributions to our mission. All are important.

I commend the Library’s Reconciliation Action Plan to you and invite all colleagues to be open to learning, and contributing to, the reconciliation journey, both within and beyond the Library’s walls.

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres


National Library of Australia

National Library of Australia Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (PDF)

National Library of Australia Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (DOCX)