Australian National University Library

Australian National University Library

The Australian National University Library is part of the Division of Information of the Australian National University, one of the world's major research universities.


“To achieve excellence in the provision and promotion of information services to meet the research, teaching and learning needs of the University”. []


The Australian National University (ANU) Library has its foundations in the appointment of the first University Librarian, Arthur Leopold Gladstone McDonald (1898-1981) in early 1948 [] . The importance of the establishment of the ANU Library in the development of the University was such that McDonald was appointed by the Interim Council before any of the professors [] .

Initially McDonald and several assistants were housed in Ormond College at the University of Melbourne [] , where they began to form the collection. At the end of 1950 the collection, which had grown to approximately 40, 000 volumes, was transferred to Canberra, to be located in the Canberra Community Hospital and nearby huts [] . Over the course of the 1950s the collection grew steadily, and by the time of McDonalds retirement 1960 the collection had grown to 150, 000 volumes (excluding pamphlets) [] .

University Librarians

*1948 - 1960 - Arthur Leopold Gladstone McDonald, (1898-1981)
*1960 - 1972 - J.J. Graneek


The ANU Library collection is housed in 4 main locations - the R.G. Menzies Building (Asia Pacific material), the J.B. Chifley Building (Social Sciences & Humanities material), the W.K. Hancock Building (Science material) and the Law Library in the Law School Building. Additional services are provided by 5 science branch libraries.

Art Library

The [ Art Library] is the principal fine arts library at the ANU, and holds material on visual arts in many formats including books, exhibition catalogues, videos, CD Roms, DVDs, slides (more than 70,000 35mm slides), journals and magazines.

Chemistry Branch Library

The [ Chemistry Branch Library] , Arthur Birch Building, Building 35, Research School of Chemistry, holds over 400 current serials and over 22,000 monographs relating to Organic, inorganic, physical and theoretical chemistry with strengths in theoretical organic chemistry, coordination chemistry, solid state chemistry, chemical physics, and surface and colloid chemistry.

Earth Sciences Branch Library

The [ Earth Sciences Branch Library] , Jaeger Building, Building 61, Research School of Earth Sciences, holds over 500 current serials and over 26,000 monographs relating to geochemistry, geophysics, lunar and planetary studies.

Eccles Medical Sciences Library

Located at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, the Eccles Medical Sciences Library contains material relating to biomedical sciences, especially biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, physiology and virology, with strengths in medical molecular biology, cellular biology, molecular immunology, molecular genetics, developmental neurobiology and visual neurosciences, ageing, visual cognition, neuropsychology of language and perceptual development.

J. B. Chifley Building

Located South of the Union and Concession Buildings [ J. B. Chifley Building] , Building 15, contains the main ANU social sciences and humanities collections relating to Australia, Europe and the Americas, as well as the Reserve Area for the social sciences and humanities. Principal subject areas covered include: Economics, Education, Fine Art, History, Languages, Linguistics, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Sociology, Women's Studies and Official Documents.

Law Library

The [ Law Library] , located in the Law School, Fellows Road, Building 5, is the main location of the law collection on campus. The law collection houses statutes and case law from every Australian jurisdiction and several commonwealth countries. Special emphasis has been given to public and international law in the collection.

Music Library

The ANU’s music collections are held in the ANU School of Music, [ Music Library] , which holds material in many formats, including: Performance scores, CDs, LPs, books, collected works, journals, electronic databases etc.

R. G. Menzies Building

The collections in the [ R. G. Menzies Building] support Asia Pacific Studies, in particular in the fields of history, anthropology, political science, literature and non-Judeo/Christian religions. General social science subjects held in Menzies are: anthropology, international relations, military and naval science, and library science. Material unique to the building includes:

* East Asian language collections;
* Asia Pacific Official Documents;
* Rare books, manuscripts and special collections;
* ANU theses collection; and
* United Nations collection;

Rare Books / Special Collections

ANU rare books and [ special collections] are housed in a closed access collection held in the Rare Book Room in the R.G. Menzies Building. Notable special collections include:

* [ Petr Herel collection of Artists' Books and Limited Editions Portfolios] : contains works created in the Graphic Investigation Workshop (1978-1998) at the Canberra School of Art;
* Mortlake Collection: ten thousand volumes of nineteenth century English literature, particularly strong in yellow-backs, 'sensation novels' published by Minerva Press, Gothic novels and in children's literature;
* La Nauze Collection: over 500 volumes on political economy, containing many early works in this field including a first edition of Adam Smith's "An Inquiry with the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nation", 1776;
* Joseph Needham Collection: a small collection of Chinese books and serials on mathematics and physics is located in the Hancock Library.
* Kapper Collection: approximately 1250 volumes reflects the selection available on the shelves of a small town Australian bookshop about 50 years ago.
* Kohler Collection: Edwardian novels.

W. K. Hancock Building

The W. K. Hancock Building, located on Biology Road, in Buildings 43 and 122, houses the principal ANU science collections, in over 900 current serials and over 200,000 monographs. The main subject areas covered include: General science, history and philosophy of science, science policy; the mathematical and computing sciences; psychology; biological sciences; environmental science; forestry; geography; geology; and engineering and technology.


ANU University Archives

The ANU University Archives holds records relating to the history of the Australian National University and to earlier institutions such as the Canberra University College, Mt Stromlo Observatory and the Australian Forestry School, from the 1920s. Access is via the R. G. Menzies Building, Building 2, McDonald Place, Australian National University. Approximately 650m of records are held in this collection. []

Noel Butlin Archives Centre

The [ Noel Butlin Archives Centre (NBAC)] is a nationally significant collection of primary source material relating to business and labour and the history of AIDS education and prevention. The collection houses over 13,087 shelf meters of archives (ACA Australian Archival Statistics, 1998).

Since 1953 the ANU Archives of Business and Labour, now known as the Noel Butlin Archives Centre, has principally focused on collecting records of companies and organisations that represent Australian industry at a national and regional level. The Centre preserves records of trade unions, companies, and employer, industry and professional bodies. It also holds personal papers of individuals whose activities relate to Australian industry, the labour movement and public life. The NBAC holds archives of industrial organisations, businesses, professional associations, industry bodies and the labour movement.

Highlights of the business collections include such prominent companies as the Australian Agricultural Company, inscribed on the [ Australian Memory of the World Register] in 2003, Dalgety Ltd, Burns Philp & Co Ltd, CSR Limited, Tooth & Co Ltd, and Elder Smith & Co Ltd.

The National AIDS Archive Collection (NAAC) documents the history of AIDS education and prevention and related concerns in all Australian states, territories and nationally. It contains material from a wide range of government agencies, community-based organisations, academic and research centres, and individuals. It includes significant holdings of printed material, audio-visual material and ephemera.

External links

* [ Australian National University Library]

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