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

Jill Benn               University Librarian


Glynis Jones        Associate University Librarian (Library Engagement and Experience)


Scott Nicholls      Associate University Librarian (Library Research and Collections)

Strategic Plan

The Library's strategic plan guides priorities and planning for the Library across the areas of Student Experience, Leadership in Education, Internationally-renowned Research, Community and Global Engagement and Operational Excellence.

Library Strategic Plan [PDF 800KB]

Library Key Statistics

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

Library Key Statistics [PDF 79KB]

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)
  • Rate us via RateItApp – there is a RateIt device near the information point in each of the UWA libraries
  • Respond to one of our regular surveys

Take a look below to see how we have responded to your feedback from the 2019 Academic Staff Survey:


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 Survival 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.

Take a look below to see how we have responded to feedback from the 2019 Library Student Survey:

Library group spaces

You said:

“I suggest we could have a reservation system so that we can reserve the space before we enter.”
Postgraduate Coursework Student, ABLE

“Please provide online access to booking group study rooms for multiple dates.”
Postgraduate Coursework Student, ABLE

“Improve monitoring of room bookings where people might be inside study rooms but haven't booked the room.”
Postgraduate Coursework Student, HMS

“I believe there should be more postgraduate spaces.”
Postgraduate Coursework Student, ABLE

We did:

Your feedback on library design, functionality and facilities from the InSync survey will inform renovation projects and related initiatives, with further Library Learning Spaces capital works currently in planning.

In 2020, UWA students can expect to see a new dedicated study space for parenting students, power to more desks in the Marshall library, and enhancements at EDFAA and Reid libraries.

In 2020, all library group study spaces will be bookable in 30 minute increments (instead of one hour increments), providing more flexibility when booking spaces to work in a group.

Library quiet spaces

You said:

“I personally would like more individual study spaces with more privacy, like those booths on the second floor of Barry J Marshall Library. They are frequently all taken and it is by luck that you find a free one on any occasion. They are good because there are no distractions from any people around you and your main focus is your work.”
Undergraduate Student, HMS

“Enforce noise levels in ‘quiet’ areas.”
Postgraduate Coursework Student, ABLE

We did:

We are reviewing the current signage and promotion of library noise zones, to ensure you can always find the right zone to suit you.

Library staff are regularly present in all library spaces and work with students and UWA Security to ensure that the expected noise levels and behaviours for collaborative, quiet and silent study areas are maintained. We promptly respond when alerted to noise issues via our PAM SMS service.

Using personal devices

You said:

“More powerpoints, I know this is hard but it really is so important.”
Undergraduate Student, Science

“Access to a powerpoint is often one of my biggest dilemmas.”
Postgraduate Coursework Student, Science

“Because most of the MacBook chargers are big, and most of the plugs in Reid were set up near the ground, we just cannot plug the charger in.”
“Plus unifi reception is so bad this semester, I stopped going to Reid after week 2 due to the reasons above.”
Undergraduate Student, ABLE

“Reid Library – I frequently have issues with unifi and have to leave the library.”
Undergraduate Student, Science

We did:

We are actively seeking ways to provide more power and charging outlets for you, and ensuring these outlets are suitable to current devices.

All existing library powerpoints are checked quarterly to ensure they are working safely. If you notice any issues with our facilities, let us know by SMS PAM so we can attend to it quickly.

We are working to ensure that Library services integrate with the new UWA App.

We are working on improving how we manage our Wi-Fi load and capacity to enable us to improve your experience.

You said:

“Sometimes it takes over an hour (I have waited 90 minutes) for a document to get out of the print queue and be ready to print.”
Postgraduate Coursework Student, ABLE

The printer in the postgraduate room of Reid Library didn’t work for three weeks.”
Postgraduate International Student, EMS

We did:

We are working with UWA IT to continue to improve your experience with printing, scanning and photocopying.


You said:

“OneSearch has all the articles necessary for my research but I usually have to find articles on Google Scholar first and then type in their exact name into OneSearch to access them.”
Undergraduate Student, EMS

“OneSearch could be better ... (the) search function does not always return the most relevant results first.”
Postgraduate Research Student, Science

We did:

You can enable FindIt@UWA in Google Scholar to link directly from Google Scholar to the full text in OneSearch. We are also investigating other article discovery tools to improve linking directly to the full text.

We are implementing a new index for OneSearch which will improve relevancy of search results.


You said:

“I often find that I am chasing physical books in the library which are available via Amazon or Oxford or another online source. I feel like this should be a priority since most students are accessing literature online…”.
Undergraduate Student, ABLE

“…there are only three copies available, meaning that when I actually want to read it I can’t, because there are three copies already in use. It’s very frustrating if I’m at home and need to use the book but have to keep refreshing the page to wait for the others to finish with the text so I can quickly use it…”.
Postgraduate Coursework Student, ABLE

“I would suggest that existing Ebook facilities are very poor and clunky; get better Ebook providers that allow an easier usage.”
Undergraduate Student, ABLE

We did:

We are continually evaluating our Ebook offerings and trying to increase access to content that is free of Digital Rights Management restrictions.

Ebook Central titles that have all copies in use are now available to be read online for 5 minutes. There is also an option to let the Library know if you think we should get additional copies.

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 Principles

The Library’s collection management principles guide the development of the collection by academic and Library staff.

The collection management principles cover:

  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 relevant Library Manager.


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


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

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

Formed collections

1.7. 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

1.8. 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. Library collections are accessible to staff and students of the University. Other groups may also access the collections as far as licenses/contractual conditions permit. Walk-in users may access the physical collections.

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

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

4.4. Special arrangements are made to provide 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.