The purpose of this paper is to trace the recent history of Australian attempts to reach a national solution to the space problems that afflict many of our research libraries.
In recent years there has been a growing international interest in the development of shared facilities to house legacy print collections as a means of providing cost‐effective and secure storage. These “repositories” have in some cases been successfully implemented on a national scale. This paper argues that although negotiations have not been successful to date, the opportunity still exists to re‐open discussions, and makes suggestions regarding the organisational structures that are needed to bring about a successful outcome.
Initiatives such as Libraries Australia have been made possible by coordinated cross‐sectoral activity, undertaken in the service of Australian research communities. What has not been as successful is the use of this infrastructure to underpin further collaboration with regard to the long‐term development and maintenance of collections. The prospect of a national repository provides a further opportunity to achieve such an outcome.
There are many reasons to believe that Australia research libraries and communities would benefit substantially from a national print repository. It will only be possible, however, with the right structure for leadership, coordination and advocacy. There is much that can be learnt from the UK experience in this regard, and Australia library leaders should look to building a strong base of cross‐sectoral support for a renewed bid.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited