About the Library

The Library aims to provide innovative and relevant services to support The University of Western Australia to be a leading global institution. We envisage the Library not just being a place where information is gathered and accessed, but where ideas are formed, inspired and shared through innovative and engaging physical and digital spaces.

The University Library shares the University's core values and reinforces them through our staff and activities. In particular, the Library is characterised by a strong commitment to:

  • collaboration with our campus partners to foster positive student experiences, transformative teaching and learning and world-class research
  • efficient and responsive staff and services with a focus on innovation and continual improvement
  • providing flexible access to spaces, services and collections that enable our users to stay connected.

Library Executive

Scott Nicholls University Librarian


Amanda Bellenger  Associate University Librarian (Library Engagement and Experience)


Scott Nicholls Associate University Librarian (Library Research and Collections)

Strategic Plan

The Library’s Strategic Plan 2024-26 sets out our principles and priorities for the Library over the coming years.

Library Strategic Plan [PDF 9.7MB]

Library Key Statistics

The key statistics reflect trends in library use and highlight some of the year’s achievements.

Library Key Statistics [PDF 108KB]

Improvements and innovation

The University Library is focused on continual improvement and operational excellence, through measuring what we do, benchmarking against others and reporting to the UWA community.

We undertake regular surveys and proactively listen and respond to student and staff feedback.

You can provide feedback to the University Library in a number of ways:

  • Via your student leaders (we meet regularly with the Guild President, Postgraduate Student Association President and other student society leaders)
  • Take a short survey to tell us about your experience when visiting one of our libraries


You said:

"Provide one click access to articles in OneSearch"

"When I search for an article/paper/book I just want to find it as quickly as possible, and be directed to a downloadable electronic version."

We did:

We have implemented a new feature in OneSearch to allow one click access to articles via a Download PDF link.


You said:

"Make OneSearch even more efficient at finding papers I need."

"One Search brings up too many options."

"Online searching needs improvement in results returned."


We did:

We have Improved the relevancy and accuracy of search results through improved indexing of records.


High Demand books

You said:

"Make High Demand books available as ebooks."

"Wider access to textbooks."

"More online collections of books and journals."

We did:

The Library has had an e-preferred policy in place for many years including purchasing high demand items as ebooks wherever possible.  In 2020 we have actively contacted publishers to advocate for access to textbooks in ebook format.

Unit Readings

You said:

"Unit Readings is essential for teaching but has a few glitches and is a little confusing to navigate."

We did:

There has been a comprehensive review and update of the Unit Readings FAQ to support Unit Coordinators

Referencing support

You said:

"Make more resources available for referencing support."

"A more uniform and integrated way of getting papers into Endnote or similar referencing systems would also be useful."

We did:

UWA moved to six prescribed referencing styles in 2020.  We have updated our Library Guides for each of the 6 styles as well as the principles of referencing.

Extra content on referencing will be added to the Communication and Research Skills unit for semester 2, 2020.

Changes to OneSearch are scheduled for mid-2020 to allow downloading of references into EndNote using the six UWA prescribed referencing styles.

Online chat

You said:

"A real time online chat service (during business hours) would be great- however, not sure how realistic that is given everyone's already heavy workloads."

We did:

We launched a live chat service via the Library website for semester 1, 2020. 

Academic Conduct Essentials

You said:

"Is the Academic Conduct Essentials online Unit effective in achieving its aims?"

"The ACE unit is not treated by many students with the seriousness it deserves."

We did:

The Library undertook an extensive review of ACE in late 2019, in consultation with the Academic Quality and Standards Committee. Improvements will be made for 2021 based on the outcomes of this review.

Print collections

You said:

"Simplify layout of print collections."

We did:

The collection on the 3rd floor of the Reid Library has been re-arranged.

Library rules

The Library has a set of rules and conditions that are designed to ensure an equitable and rewarding Library experience for everyone.

Library rules

Collection Management Policy

The Library’s collection management policy guides the development of the collection by academic and Library staff.

The collection management policy covers:

  1. Selection
  2. Allocation of funds
  3. Collection maintenance
  4. Access to the collection

1. Selection


1.1. Purchased material is selected for the collections to support and benefit the current teaching, learning and research needs of the staff and students of the University.

Donated material is only selected where it meets the criteria for inclusion in the Special Collections, or where the author or a contributor is a University staff member. Exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the Library Manager, Research & Academic Engagement.


1.2. Collections are developed using evidence based principles, such as recommendations and demand-driven acquisition, to meet the needs of the University community.

The Library has a responsibility for the ongoing collection of all UWA publications and theses for higher degrees by research. 


1.3. Resources will be purchased in electronic format where available to ensure access from anywhere at any time. Exceptions to this may be due to issues of accessibility, quality, suitability for purpose and cost.


1.4. The Library gives preference to the acquisition of English-language materials. Material in languages other than English are included in the collection if they support teaching and learning in languages taught at UWA. Foreign language materials can also be acquired if they are required for research.

Special Collections

1.5. The Library maintains and develops special collections in specific areas of focus, namely Australian literature, and the Indian Ocean and the WA Aboriginal collection, which support the research community beyond The University of Western Australia.

Formed collections

1.6. Collections of information resources that have been assembled by individuals or groups (formed collections) are only acquired and retained as discrete collections when they have a value as a coherent collection which they would not have if dispersed.

Affordable and open access to information

1.7. The Library will support and promote affordable and open access to information and will resist unreasonable publisher and vendor price increases.

2. Allocation of funds

2.1. The information resources budget is allocated and managed by the Library.

2.2. The Library continually analyses its online and print collections to ensure they are meeting the needs of the UWA community and to provide the best return on investment from the Library’s ongoing financial commitments.

2.3. The information resources budget is used for acquiring information by purchase, demand driven acquisition, subscription, document delivery, and inter-library lending services.

2.4. In working to further the University’s goal of building strong community relationships, the Library seeks to supplement its recurrent budget for information resources with funds provided from bequests, endowments and gifts.

3. Collection maintenance


3.1. Material in the Library's collections is retained whilst it is deemed to be of continuing historical or research value.

3.2. Textbook material selected to support the teaching needs of the University is not retained once it ceases to be current and relevant. Reference works are not retained where the information is outdated, misleading or inaccurate, unless the specific edition has intrinsic historical or research value.

3.3. Where the Library holds the same work in multiple formats or copies, one format or copy may be selected for retention and the others withdrawn where adequate access can still be provided.


3.4. Material which remains relevant that has become unusable in its current format is withdrawn and replaced with a usable format where possible.

3.5. Appropriate preservation measures are applied to ensure that material which is intended to be retained can continue to be used without difficulty.

4. Access to the collection

4.1. Staff and students of the University have access to all Library Collections. Members of the public have access to the physical collections and access to online collections where licenses permit. 

4.2. To maximise the use of space in the Libraries low use items may be retained in offsite storage and made available upon request.

4.3. Items identified as valuable or rare may have mediated access.

4.4. Special arrangements are made to provide equitable access to materials in high demand.

4.5. Library collections are supplemented by providing access to document delivery and inter-library loan services for eligible users.

4.6. The Library will facilitate the searching of, and access to, its collections and resources. To enhance discoverability and enable usage, the Library’s physical and online collections are documented and searchable through OneSearch, on the Library website.

History of the collections

When the University was founded in 1913, the Library was allocated £2000 and held a few hundred books. It is now one of the more significant research libraries in Australia.

In 1999, Dr Emma Hawkes from the Centre of West Australian History edited The History of the Collections of the UWA Library, 1913-1999, which traces the subsequent history of this collection, examining how the library system has developed and how particular collections have been established.

History of collections (PDF 722 KB)

Stay in touch

Contact us to receive help and support from our friendly, knowledgeable staff. You can also share your feedback or make a suggestion and follow the UWA Library on social media to receive helpful tips and up-to-date information about our services.


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