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Tasmanian Reference Collection Policy

General Principles


Each library serves as its primary clientele the local community and as its secondary clientele other Tasmanians and interstate visitors interested in topics related to the area served by the library.

Collection Description and Collecting Scope

Collection Description

The core collection of Tasmanian materials, including original materials, last-resort copies and publications received on legal deposit, is held in the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office (TAHO) in Hobart. TAHO also actively manages the manuscript and Tasmanian reference collections in Launceston library.

All libraries, with the exception of Hobart, have Tasmanian reference collections comprising material of direct relevance to their local or immediate geographic region. Resources and Access staff select material for these collections. The minimum standard for selection for local relevance is 20% of content, generally determined by examination of the contents pages and/or index.

Geographic regions for urban libraries are shown in Appendix 1​. Hobart library does not have a Tasmanian reference collection due to its close proximity to TAHO.

Some libraries, in addition to a Tasmanian reference collection, house an existing collection of manuscripts and other original materials relating to the history of Tasmania. These collections are managed by TAHO.

Collecting Scope

Tasmanian reference collections in urban libraries comprise published works of statewide and direct local relevance. Collections in regional libraries and branch libraries comprise published material relating to their local area. In the main these works relate to the history of the area, although many larger branch libraries have more comprehensive collections of material in terms of geographic coverage and subject content. In general, they are limited to English-language publications. Non-paper formats are not held unless the library has the technological resources to make them accessible. Original materials such as manuscripts, photographs or artworks are not held in libraries, with the exception of Launceston. One-off copies of original materials are not placed in individual libraries; digital copies are made universally accessible through the library website.

Regional libraries and branch libraries generally have small collections of materials relating to their local areas.


Tasmanian reference items in libraries fall into two broad categories

  • items for long-term retention, mainly on historical, genealogical, economic, local government and environmental subjects
  • items that meet a short term need, such as government reports circulated 'for public comment'​

Items deselected from a library's Tasmanian reference collection should be sent to Resources and Access to be assessed for possible reallocation.

Tasmanian Reserve Collection

The Tasmanian Reserve Collection houses additional copies of Tasmanian items which are surplus to demand at the present time. These items may be required in the future to replace copies held in library lending and Tasmanian reference collections.  The Tasmanian Reserve Collection is stored and managed in Hobart at 91 Murray Street.

Selection criteria

The Tasmanian Reserve Collection retains up to five copies of Tasmanian reference items surplus to present demand, and up to five copies of key works that are out of print or unusually difficult or expensive to replace. Only items in good condition are retained in the Tasmanian Reserve Collection: its essential purpose is to fill gaps in library collections as they arise, not to replicate the core 'heritage' functions of TAHO.

Items may be reallocated to lending or reference collections in any library where that library's existing copy is lost or no longer serviceable. The suitability ​of an item for lending may be reassessed as part of this process.​

Appendix 1