State Library of Queensland Digital Strategy

State Library of Queensland
digital strategy

becoming digital by design

State Library of Queensland is a trusted place for people to learn about, reflect upon and contribute to the shared, constantly developing history of Queensland. State Library is committed to providing accessible and inclusive collections and services, embracing diversity, addressing disadvantage and enhancing life participation via strong community connections.

State Library has embraced ‘digital’ - building digital collections and enabling access to them for use and re-use, and integrating digital experiences in our events and exhibitions. State Library also takes a leading role in the open data movement, and supports public libraries with digital programs and services. So a digital strategy for State Library is not so much about transformation from analogue to digital – a seismic shift. Rather, it is about evolution from a first generation digital library to a library that is digital by design.

‘Analogue’ and ‘digital’ are not mutually exclusive or opposing forces. Our physical collections, onsite exhibitions, programs, services and extraordinary building are an integral part of the ‘digitalisation’ of the library.

A library that is digital by design means that our intention is to think, act and be digital first - for digital experiences to be intrinsically part of the life of the library and the people who visit, use, collaborate and create with us. Now is the time to fully realise the opportunities of digital evolution.

We will have succeeded when we are known as leaders in digital collecting, engagement and empowerment for Queenslanders. However, the most telling success measure will be that we have no further need for a digital strategy; that the next step in our evolution will be simply a strategy for the future.


We live in an environment of continuous technological change. Smart devices, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and the internet of things are changing the way services are conceived, developed and delivered. Only organisations that are responsive and agile will be able to innovate and thrive in this environment.

With more than half of the population living in regional, rural and remote areas, connectivity to reliable and fast internet is problematic for many Queenslanders. Queensland also scores behind most other states in the digital inclusion index , calculated using measures of access to and affordability of the internet and the ability to use online tools and services.

There is now an expectation that digital products and services will be simple and intuitive, and deliver personalised online experiences. However, there is a tension between this expectation and limiting legal, socio-environmental and technological factors.

Preservation of digital collections is a significant challenge for libraries. Digital content is ubiquitous but more at risk of loss in the future than analogue materials. Preserving digital content is not just about preserving files, but also providing ongoing access to the content and being able to render it in a usable way, or emulate the original user experience.

Becoming a library that is digital by design

Increase online access to our collections

We will digitise more of our unique collections and proactively place them where people are looking for content – not requiring them to come to us, but for us to be where they are. We will also increase our collecting of content in digital formats.

We will champion open licensing, open data and open access and advocate for legislative and regulatory reform enabling the widest possible use and re-use of content.

We will see collections as data – and collaborate closely with those who are using data to discover more about Queensland’s past, present and future. We will also expand and enrich the data we hold, ensuring that we provide datasets that are relevant to our users.

Embed rich digital experiences in everything we do

We will develop an online presence that is contemporary, responsive, personalised, and collaborative.

We will devise frictionless digital services (onsite and online) with the technology offer matched to user interests and abilities.

We will seamlessly integrate physical and digital into our exhibitions and programs, ensuring those who use the library onsite and online have stimulating and rewarding experiences.

Strengthen digital literacy in our communities

We will grow our collaboration with the network of Queensland public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres to deliver digital literacy programs which meet community needs and aspirations. We will seek further partnerships with organisations who champion digital literacy and are committed to working in and with communities to bring about change.

We will advocate for the critical role of public libraries in developing digital literacy to build strong, healthy and economically robust communities.

We will develop onsite and online activities to encourage and support digital literacy – online volunteering, workshops and learning opportunities for all.

Enabling our digital strategy

Empowering technologies

agile, intuitive, robust, secure

We will use digital technologies to improve all aspects of the work we do and the services we provide.

We will ensure our systems are optimised to support our mission and strategy through the development of an ICT futures plan. We will develop digital ‘play spaces’ where staff can explore, experiment, and develop capability and understanding of emerging technologies, and critically evaluate their potential use.

We will commit resources and expertise to implement digital preservation, to ensure long term access to digital content which tells the story of Queensland.

Digital capability and expertise

a workforce that thinks ‘digitally’

We will develop our digital ecology to create opportunities for people across the library to lead digital initiatives and evolve our understanding of digital technologies.

We will place existing work practices under the microscope, question long-held “truths,” and accept and encourage discomfort as we integrate digital into everything we do.

We will grow a digitally fluent workforce, with capabilities and competencies to use, understand and adapt digital technologies; working collaboratively, solving problems and improving services.

We will share digital skills and knowledge and learn from our professional colleagues, taking collective responsibility for our digital evolution.

Strategy in Action

Corley Explorer

Corley Explorer

From the 1960s to the 1970s, Frank and Eunice Corley drove the suburban streets of Queensland in their pink Cadillac, taking photographs of houses and selling them to homeowners. The Corley Explorer has been developed as part of the State Library’s Home: A Suburban Obsession exhibition as an innovative, interactive and addictive way to explore more than 60,000 house photographs in the Frank and Eunice Corley Collection, tag and describe photos, and share stories and images of suburban life in Queensland.

More about the Corley Explorer
Kalinga Honey

Flickr Commons

In January 2019 State Library reached 20 million views of collection photos on The Commons on Flickr, an online community of libraries archives and museums making public domain images free for all to use and re-use. This milestone was almost exactly ten years since the first image was uploaded, an early initiative to increase online access to the library’s collections. There are more than 3,500 photos to explore, curated into themes as varied as Bathing Beauties and Camping in Queensland.

More about State Library’s Flickr Commons collection
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3D printed Braille globe

State Library has opened up a window into the exciting possibilities of photogrammetry and 3D printing technologies by creating a replica of a rare and fragile Braille globe. The original was made by Richard Frank Tunley, who dedicated his life to supporting the education of vision impaired children in Queensland. With support from the Queensland Library Foundation the library was able to create the 3D printable globe, enabling use of the globe as it was intended, and has also released the source files for re-use.

More about the Tunley Braille globe
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Free access to the on-demand film streaming service Kanopy is now available for all State Library and Queensland public library members, in libraries, from home, or on a mobile device. Kanopy showcases over 30,000 of the world’s best films, including award-winning documentaries, hard-to-find titles, film festival favourites, independent and classic films and world cinema. There is also a wide array of foreign language films available.

More about Kanopy at State Library
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Imagine a world where every librarian added one more reference to Wikipedia. This is the vision of Wikipedia’s global #1Lib1Ref campaign, encouraging librarians to contribute their skills and knowledge to improve Wikipedia as a robust research ecosystem and the first stop for researchers worldwide. In 2018 State Library contributed over 1000 citations to Wikipedia during the 3 week campaign, with an emphasis on building digital capability within our workforce.

More about #1Lib1Ref at State Library
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Learning online

Online services enable State Library to provide all Queenslanders with learning opportunities, wherever they live. is an online learning service with over 136,000 video tutorials on everything from computer programs, photography, web development, marketing, IT, business management, and job seeking. Anyone who is an State Library member has free access, both onsite at the State Library and offsite from home, public library, office or on a mobile device.

More about at State Library
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First World War soldier portraits

Nearly 30,000 Queensland soldiers had their portrait taken and published in The Queenslander newspaper during World War 1. State Library has digitised all of these portraits and made them available for anyone to use. You can find them on One Search, our catalogue, open data portals and even on where they have been added to thousands of family trees and stories.

More about the Soldier Portraits project
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Deadly Digital Communities

Changing lives through community-based digital literacy and technology training is the aim of Deadly Digital Communities, an initiative of the State Library of Queensland and Telstra in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Councils in Queensland and delivered through Indigenous Knowledge Centres and local councils.

More about Deadly Digital Communities
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State Library has developed Unstacked - a real-time visualisation of the resources people are accessing from One Search, the library’s catalogue. Collection items are displayed in Unstacked as an image, a book cover, or a colour coded tile based on their Dewey decimal number. Through crowd curation, Unstacked reveals the richness and diversity of the collection and the interests of its users in an innovative and visual way.

More about Unstacked at State Library
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Maker workshops at The Edge

State Library staff are becoming a more digitally fluent workforce, with capabilities and competencies to use, understand and adapt digital technologies. A series of after-work maker sessions at The Edge gave staff the opportunity to explore and create - from fabricating a custom lampshade using Illustrator and a laser cutter, to playing with The Edge’s resident biochemist to create functional objects out of mushrooms and old coffee grounds.

More about short courses at The Edge at State Library


This strategy is positioned within a wider State Library and Queensland Government strategies, in particular:

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