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I'm interested in donating archival material to the State Library. Where do I start?

The State Library welcomes offers from all potential donors. The first step is to check our Collections Policy and What We Collect, for information on what we do and don't collect. For a summary, see our Archival Collections Flyer.

You can offer unpublished material as a donation or for acquisition by completing an Archive material donation offer form, to let us know about the material you would like to offer.

Acquisitions and donations will be pursued subject to the Library’s capacity, and in accordance with the Library's Collections Policy. All donations and acquisitions will be assessed for suitability and appropriateness before they are accepted.

How is my offer appraised and what if it is accepted?

All offers of archival records are documented and assessed against the Collection Policy. If the archival records are accepted the donor will be asked to complete and sign a Deed of Gift.

How do I prepare my records to be assessment by the State Library?

If the record group is large, you may be asked to arrange and list items in a box list template. 

Guidelines with a box list template are available for download:

Box list template


For specific guidelines on offering oral history and digital photography material to the State Library, please refer to these toolkits:

If you are considering making an offer of archival collection material, please contact us at

Can I donate digital photography to the State Library?

The State Library accepts high-quality digital photography that meet one or more of our collecting priority areas.

The Library has developed a Digital photography toolkit to guide you in planning a photography project, technical specification, file naming and steps for offering photographs to the Library.

If you are considering making an offer of digital photography, please contact us at

Can I donate oral history material to the State Library?

The State Library accepts high-quality oral history interviews that meet one or more of our collecting priority areas.

The Library has developed an Oral History Toolkit to guide you in planning an oral history project, recording successful interviews, and the steps involved in offering recorded interviews to the State Library.

If you are considering making an offer of oral history interviews, please contact us at

Will the State Library take everything we offer?

Although we might not need everything that may be offered, we welcome the chance to review material. If it is not suitable for the State Library we may be able to suggest another archive or cultural institution to which it could be referred. 

How long before my collection is available to members of the public?

Once a record group has been accepted for the Archival Collection, it will be accessioned and made available to the public within a month, presuming there are no access restrictions. Requests to see the accessioned group can be made through the State Library catalogue.

What if I don't want people to see part of my archive right away?

The State Library recognises that sensitive material may, at times, be found within collections. Collection Development staff will discuss with the donor the possibility of restricting parts of a collection to protect the privacy of the donor or others. However, since our aim is to make records as accessible as possible to the public, we request a future date for releasing sensitive material be documented in the Deed.

Can I donate copies and keep my originals?

The State Library does not usually accept copies or duplicates, unless the item is exceptionally significant and no other version is available. Donors who wish to keep copies are encouraged to make them before donating the original.

In the case of formats that are difficult to copy, please contact us at for advice.

What if some of my files are on computer disks or in electronic format?

The State Library is able accept all formats of records including electronic data and audio-visual material, as long as they meet our selection criteria. Consideration will need to be given to issues of long-term accessibility and preservation.

Why does the State Library want me to donate copyright?

The State Library encourages copyright holders (who may not always be the donor) to transfer copyright to the Libraries Board because it allows us to assist researchers in their work by making it easier to provide permission to use material in the collection. It also allows us to grant permission for use of the records in publications, documentaries, exhibitions or on the Library's website. However, donors are not required to transfer copyright as part of the donation process, and there is provision in the Deed of Gift to retain all or a portion of intellectual property rights.

Does the State Library buy archival collections or materials?

Archival material is acquired by various methods, including purchase, donation, bequest and through the Cultural Gifts Program. Most material is donated by individuals, families, organisations, or businesses. Material is occasionally commissioned or purchased to fill identified gaps.