Donations to Fryer

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Donation guidelines - original material

This guide is to help you identify and prepare collections of original material for donation to the Fryer Library.

Before donating, ask

1. Is the collection relevant to Fryer Library’s existing holdings?

We collect in a wide range of subjects relating to Australian literature, poetry, theatre, art and architecture. If your collection does not fit within our collection development policy we may be able to suggest another more appropriate collecting institution.

2. Does the collection have enduring historical, information and research value?

The Library's main purpose is to support teaching, learning and research in the humanities and social sciences. We therefore acquire items and collections if they have ongoing historical, informational and research value in these fields. In making this determination we consider the provenance of the material (who created it and why) and its contextual significance, and we take into account past, current and emerging research trends.

3. Does the collection contain unique and original material?

As a general rule, we do not collect or retain additional copies of material already held in the Library or which is held by other collecting institutions. Additional copies of books are retained only if they have some unique feature such as the author’s signature or some other significant annotation.

Similarly, we usually do not accept research collections comprising copies of original documents held elsewhere, or manuscripts of books which do not differ in a substantial way from the published volume.

Examples of things we collect

  • Drafts of published works
  • Personal papers and correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Minutes, correspondence, articles of association, rule books, and publications of non-government organisations
  • Photographs
  • Oral history recordings
  • Books, especially rare books and books bearing the author’s signature or other significant annotations

Examples of things we do not collect

  • Old newspapers which are available online, on microform or in newspaper collections held by Fryer Library or other institutions
  • ‘Housekeeping’ papers of little research value (for example, electricity bills, bank statements, cheque book stubs). Similarly, the day-to-day financial and administrative records of an organisation are generally not required
  • Research photocopies of documents held by Fryer Library or other collecting institutions

Other considerations


Be aware of the possibility that your material contains personal information relating to other people or organisations, which might cause hurt or embarrassment. While we aim to maximise access to our collections, it may appropriate to restrict access to particular parts of a collection for a defined period of time. Please identify sensitive material you feel could be a problem and discuss it with us before donation.


We regularly receive requests for copies of material held in the Library, often from researchers who are unable to travel to Brisbane to view the items in person. However, unpublished manuscript items and other material under copyright cannot legally be copied without the permission of the copyright owner. The copyright owner is the person (or organisation) who created the work or has lawfully acquired copyright from the creator. Please provide the Library with any information you have about who created the material in your collection and who might currently own copyright over it. If you are the copyright holder, we can discuss several options for making the material available to researchers while still protecting your copyright.

To donate

Preparing your collection for donation

Arranging and describing collections of original material so they can be catalogued for public access is a time-consuming task. Your assistance in the preliminary arrangement of your material helps the Library in a very practical way.

Where possible, please:

  • date and identify the subject of photographs
  • provide a list of contents
  • arrange the material in a logical order, with similar material together (for example, keep meeting minutes together, photographs together, etc.)
  • provide relevant contextual information about the collection, such as biographical notes in the case of personal papers or an administrative history in the case of records of an organisation
  • remove any material that is not original or unique, or holds little research value
  • make note of any damaged or fragile material.

Donation guidelines - published works

If you would like to donate standard published material (books, journals etc) to the Fryer Library, please complete a donation form.


To enhance access to and awareness of Fryer Library’s holdings, we regularly digitise items for display in our exhibition spaces and online. When items are donated we request donor approval for the collection to be used in this way.

Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program

The Fryer Library acquires its collections through donation and purchase. Offers of material and donations from members of the public are welcome, including donations made under the Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program. While we accept collections under the Cultural Gifts Program, we stipulate that donations given under this program must exceed a value of $10,000.