2021 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Initiatives

Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

The Library has commenced a journey to build relationships across UQ and the wider community that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures. This work will result in changes to business practices and ethos. 

Commitment to action

This year marks twenty years of Reconciliation Australia and almost three decades of Australia’s formal reconciliation process.

The Library is embarking on several projects in 2021, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander library staff and supported by the library community of volunteers, to amplify First Nations’ voices. These projects are listed below.




Review of cataloguing process To help people find and access library collections, we are adopting culturally appropriate terminology in library systems.
Policy and procedures documentation   To ensure the Library has consistent policy and procedure measures that stretch across the whole business, respecting cultural protocols.  
Special collections audit To clearly identify what is in the collection with First Nations information markers such as community, language group, etc., to act as a tool to assist with accessibility and discoverability.  




Engagement and  outreach activities To build relationships that ensure respectful care, use, and celebration of material. This will be achieved through dialogue, collaboration, and listening that may result in mutually beneficial solutions to problems and the creation of new models for shared stewardship and reciprocity or transfer of some materials.    
Review visitor experience Ensuring our Library has physical and online environments that are culturally safe, welcoming, and prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing.  
Organise and celebrate significant dates and events  Strengthen our commitment to support and collaborate, advance, increase visibility, participate, celebrate, and acknowledge significant dates and events across the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity spectrum that will contribute to UQ’s value of Mutual Respect and Diversity.  




Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pressbook publications Assist UQ in its mission to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives in higher education in ways that are meaningful that contribute to raising awareness, celebrating, and respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and knowledges.  
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research and Teaching Portal The portal will highlight and raise awareness to participation and success in higher education through culturally inclusive practices and environments, while contributing to key strategic initiatives and outcomes across the university.  
Develop collection discovery To showcase through an online platform both special and general collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content that increases accessibility, promotes, celebrates, and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges.




General collections audit Clearly identify what is in the collection and go a step further to critically analyse and place a criterion on collection items as to suitability of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges.   
Investigation of Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels and Notices  To support First Nation communities in managing their intellectual and cultural property, cultural heritage, environmental data, and genetic resources within digital environments. TK Labels and Notices would have several applications across Library systems, including online exhibitions, UQ eSpace, UQ Research Data Manager (RDM), our Archival Management System (AtoM), and UQ Library Search (Alma/Primo).    
Theses audit and cultural advisory statements implementation   To ensure UQ’s research outputs and theses content when relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research topics follow cultural protocols by having advisory statements where necessary.  

National Sorry Day, 26 May 2021

Portion of handwritten manuscript showing Aboriginal vocabulary with English translation
Handwritten manuscript, Aboriginal vocabulary with English translation, Father Edward
Leo Hayes Collection, UQFL2, Fryer Library, UQ

National Sorry Day provides an opportunity for people to come together and share the journey towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families, and communities. 

The Library is committed to genuine consultation and reaching out to communities. This year, one way we would like to do this is by providing a number of iPads to selected communities with digitally repatriated items cared for by the Fryer Library. We will post updates and share further stories and information as the project progresses.  

Connect with us 

The Library acknowledges the privileged position and voice it has within UQ and acknowledges that reconciliation is a journey for all Australians. We invite colleagues across UQ to connect with us. To learn more about these projects and add your voice in support, please contact Mia Strasek-Barker, Reconciliation Action Plan Manager, University of Queensland Library. 



Last updated:
23 August 2021