Purpose and objectives

The Fryer Library builds collections to support scholarship, education and engagement with The University of Queensland community, international students and researchers, and the broader public.

The Collection Development Policy: Fryer Library outlines the collecting intentions of the University of Queensland’s Fryer Library. It should be read in conjunction with the related documents stated in this policy.

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Definitions, terms, acronyms

Australian Author - A writer who is Australian born, or who has spent a significant amount of time living in Australia.

Australian Literature - Creative writing of enduring quality by Australian authors working in a variety of genres, including poetry, novels, short stories, essays, and play scripts. Such creative works reflect upon and explore human experience through stories and word scapes that are informed and influenced by a deep and long-lasting experience of Australian culture, history, geography, landscape and climate.

Collection management - A term encompassing all of the practices and procedures implemented by the University in acquiring, documenting, handling, accessing, exhibiting, storing, securing, lending, conserving and disposing of collection items.

F - Fryer.

FGF – Fryer Gallery File

FTPF – Fryer Theatre Program File

FVF – Fryer Vertical File

H - Hanger

RAB – Restricted Access Book

UQFL – University of Queensland Fryer Library

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Policy scope/coverage

This policy establishes the scope of the Fryer Library’s collections, and priorities and responsibilities for their management. It is intended to:

  • Assist staff in the informed and consistent selection of material to develop the collections;
  • Provide a transparent process for the management of the collections and a foundation for the accountability of the Fryer Library;
  • Provide guidance on the suitability of offers for those seeking to deposit material with the Fryer Library.

This policy applies to all staff of the Fryer Library involved in collection development.

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Policy statement

In 1926, a gift of £10 from The University of Queensland Dramatic Society, in honour of former student John Denis Fryer, established the Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature. 

The intention of the Collection Development Policy of the Fryer Library is to:

  • Support the broader research, teaching and community engagement mission of the University of Queensland Library and The University of Queensland;
  • Enrich or complete established holdings;
  • Enable connections among the Fryer Library’s existing collections;
  • Document the creative process of diverse individuals or organisations working in literature, arts and the humanities.

The Fryer Library seeks collection materials through donation or, where funds permit, purchases that fulfil the criteria listed above. Acquisitions that do not fall into the existing collecting priorities may be made in response to and anticipation of changing research needs and interests.

In evaluating a prospective acquisition, the Fryer Library also considers the associated costs of processing, housing, preserving and providing long term access.

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Current collecting priorities

The Fryer Library’s current collecting focus is on materials whose form, function and content are likely to advance scholarship or learning in the fields of Australian literature and drama, Queensland architectural history and Australian cultural and social history with particular emphasis on the history of The University of Queensland.

Historically, the Fryer Library’s collecting priorities have been more diverse, including general works on Queensland and Australian history, radical politics, trade unionism, women’s and gender studies, Indigenous issues, Australian art and other areas. In the future, offers of manuscript material may be referred to other collecting institutions with strengths in these areas. Offers of published materials may be referred to the relevant University of Queensland Library liaison librarian for consideration.

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Principal collecting areas

6.1 Australian literature and drama

Fryer Library is a recognised research collection of Australian literary works and critical studies on Australian literature, and collects:

  • Manuscript papers and archives of Australian authors. These are proactively sought, particularly the personal papers of literary and popular authors published by the University of Queensland Press;
  • Key contemporary publications including monographs and anthologies, literary journals, fiction, essays, poetry and literary criticism;
  • Publications and administrative records of University of Queensland Press;
  • Australian theatre related material, including play scripts with a focus on Queensland.

Children’s books are not collected, with the exception of copies deposited by the University of Queensland Press. Gaps in published holdings are retrospectively filled through donation and purchase.

6.2 History of The University of Queensland and the papers of scholars of The University of Queensland

The Fryer Library documents the history of the University by collecting the publications and records of University colleges, associations, and societies. This includes photographs, reminiscences of staff and students, official publications including university calendars, handbooks, gazettes, magazines and histories of the University.

Deposit copies of University of Queensland research higher degree theses submitted in print are included in the Fryer Library’s collection. From 2008, RHD theses have been submitted to the Library in electronic form. Both the digital versions, and digitised copies of print theses, are made available via the institutional repository, UQ eSpace.

The personal papers of University scholars are considered on a case by case basis for addition to the Fryer collection and may be acquired where they contribute further to the understanding of a particular topic, the social and cultural contexts of a particular discipline, or to the life and times of distinguished scholars connected to the University of Queensland.

Official records of The University of Queensland are held in the University Archives. The responsibilities, objectives, functions and administrative arrangements of the Archives are set out in the Archives Policy.

6.3 Queensland architectural plans and records

Fryer Library collects non-government architectural records, plans and drawings, photographs, construction specifications, correspondence and documents related to buildings designed and built in Queensland. Acquisitions are made in liaison with staff of the School of Architecture and support teaching in the School and the research of heritage professionals and members of the public. Electrical and engineering plans such as drainage drawings are not retained.

6.4 Collections that support the holdings of University museums

Materials are selectively acquired that support research into related collections held in the University’s heritage museums. For example, manuscript papers or publications relating to artworks held in the UQ Art Museum or objects in the Anthropology or Antiquities Museum may be acquired to support a deeper understanding of these collections.

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Items not collected

As a general rule, the following materials will not be collected:

  • Material that falls outside the scope of the Fryer Library’s principal collecting areas;
  • Newspapers which are available online, on microform, or in newspaper collections held by the University of Queensland Library or other institutions;
  • ‘Housekeeping’ papers of little research value, e.g. electricity bills, bank statements, cheque book stubs;
  • Political election ephemera, with the exception of University student election ephemera;
  • Broader works on Australian History and politics unless there is a strong connection to The University of Queensland;
  • Offers of published and unpublished material relating to Queensland people and places will be referred to the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland unless there is a significant connection to The University of Queensland;
  • Public records that are the responsibility of the National or State Archives;
  • Photocopies and digital copies of documents held by Fryer Library or other collecting institutions;
  • Material offered by donors seeking to impose excessive and/or unreasonable access restrictions;
  • Unless it is seen to be particularly important to retain the collection intact, or individual items contain important annotations or other copy specific features (for example bindings or marks of ownership), the Fryer Library will not accept duplicate material.

The Fryer Library does not accept permanent loans or copy loans.

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Formats collected

The Fryer Library collects material in a wide range of formats including hand-written and typed manuscripts, archives, rare books, monographs, journals, original photographs, audio-visual materials, architectural plans, maps and electronic files. From time to time, realia and artwork that has a strong connection to existing collections may be acquired.

8.1 Electronic formats

For published items, available in both electronic and print formats, Fryer acquires the print unless a long term preservable e-version can be acquired.

For unpublished/manuscript items and collections, Fryer will selectively acquire born-digital material, where the format is readable and can be converted into a preservation format for long term storage and access.

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Scope of the main Fryer Library collection

9.1 Reference

9.1.1 General collection – books, pamphlets and serials

This collection includes books and pamphlets across a range of subject areas, including those identified above as current and previous collecting priorities. There is a particular strength in works by and about Australian authors across a range of genres, both literary and popular. This collection also includes select publications acquired with manuscript collections.

9.1.2 Reference collection

Fryer has a small reference collection, including general reference works (dictionaries and topical encyclopaedias on literature, art, architecture and local history) and select indexes, for use by researchers in the reading room and staff.

9.1.3 Fiche and Film

The Fryer collection comprises titles in microform format relevant to the subject and collecting areas outlined in this document.

9.2 Heritage

Heritage collections currently include but are not limited to:

9.2.1 Restricted access books (RAB) collection and journals

RAB refers to the restricted access books and journals. Publications may be placed in this collection in the Fryer Library because of age, rarity, commercial value, fragility, physical format or subject matter and, in addition to acquiring material through donation and purchase, items may be transferred from other branch libraries.

Within the RAB collection is the rare book collection, which includes incunabula from the early days of printing; books on British and European exploration, art, architecture, medicine, botany, religion, as well as literary works.

Of note within the RAB journals is the Tuck collection of science fiction and fantasy.

Material from this collection supports teaching and learning in the arts and humanities, particularly in the Schools of Communication and Arts and Historical and Philosophical Inquiry.

9.2.2 Hayes collection

This collection, acquired in 1967 from Father Edward Leo Hayes, a collector of Australiana, was the single biggest acquisition in Fryer Library’s history. At the time of acquisition, the collection comprised more than 25 000 print volumes along with manuscript material (see below), realia, anthropological and geological collections, some of which was distributed to museums on campus.

Books and journals from the Hayes collection are stored in both the RAB and general collections, and can be identified by the use of the Hayes bookplate and/or the spine label, as stipulated in the terms of the agreement between Father Hayes and the University.

9.2.3 Manuscript collections – UQFL and F

Collecting of manuscripts commenced in the 1960s, with the acquisition of the Hayes collection, which included not only publications, but also manuscripts of literary and historical importance. From that initial acquisition, the Fryer manuscripts have grown to c10 000 manuscript boxes in Fryer Library (UQFL) collections, and thousands of Fryer (F) mss (single folders), across a range of subjects, including literature, history, art, architecture and the papers of University students and academics.

Manuscript collections consists of unpublished documents, and commonly include correspondence, diaries, literary drafts, research notes, and photographs, along with a range of other formats. Refugee-related manuscripts

The Papers of Julian Burnside and Kate Durham, and the Elaine Smith Papers, are two significant collections relating to asylum seekers in detention. While not a principal collecting area for Fryer, material documenting the experience of refugees seeking asylum in Australia will be selectively considered for acquisition. The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia Collection

The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia (PNGAA) Collection includes materials documenting personal experiences of colonial administration in Papua New Guinea up until independence in 1975. Unpublished material including letters, photographs and diaries are selectively acquired for addition to this collection; public records (e.g. patrol reports) and publications are not collected.

9.2.4 Hanger manuscripts

This collection of unpublished manuscripts of Australian plays was started by Eunice Hanger, a lecturer in Drama at the University, and continued by Alrene Sykes, also a lecturer. Scripts held are mainly from the 1950s to 1990, covering stage, radio and television productions. This collection is added to; the most recent large acquisition was in 2008 from a Melbourne theatre company.

9.2.5 Ephemera

Fryer Library holds three collections of ephemera: political ephemera (Fryer Vertical Files, FVF), gallery files (Fryer Gallery Files, FGF) and theatre program files (Fryer Theatre Program Files, FTPF). Items in these collections have been gathered over a number of years, and each focuses on Queensland related material.

These files are open for additions, usually through donation. Political ephemera files no longer include council, state or federal election materials, as these are collected by both the National Library of Australia and the State Library of Queensland. The gallery files contain catalogues along with other ephemera; more substantial catalogues are catalogued to the book collection. The theatre program collection covers theatres throughout Brisbane, and complements Fryer’s holdings of theatre collections.

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Digitisation and access

The Fryer Library seeks to make its collections as openly accessible as possible and acquires material with a view to digitising and, where appropriate, making items available to researchers online through the University’s institutional repository, UQ eSpace. Retrospective collections are being digitised in accordance with the Digitisation Policy.

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Acquisition through donation and purchase

Material is acquired by the University of Queensland Library through donation, bequest and through the Federal Government’s Cultural Gifts Program. Where funds permit purchases are made.

In assessing the suitability of materials, the Fryer Library considers the following factors:

  • The collecting purpose of other branches of the University of Queensland Library (particularly the Social Sciences and Humanities Library and the Architecture and Music Library) and other collecting institutions within the University and beyond. In some cases, these may be deferred to where a strong academic or cultural case can be made;
  • Assessments of expert staff in the Fryer Library and endorsement by the Fryer Library’s Accessions Working Group, the University of Queensland Library’s Collection Management Group and the Executive Committee;
  • Condition of material and any legal or ethical implications, including provenance and title;
  • Unencumbered accessibility for researchers.

Offers of manuscript donations can be made online via the Expression of Interest: Donation of Manuscript Collections. Use of the Cultural Gifts Program is restricted to donations expected to be valued at $10 000 or more.


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Document details and related documents

Approval Authority

The University of Queensland Library Executive

Last Approval Date


Review date


Related Documents

Document Web Links


University Librarian

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