University Library

Identity area

Type of entity

University unit

Authorized form of name

University Library

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1948 -


The University Library was established on 1 May 1948 with the appointment of A. L. G. McDonald as University Librarian. By arrangement with Ormond College at the University of Melbourne, the library collection was housed at Wyselaskie Hall temporarily, and at nearby Trinity College, before being moved to the former Canberra Community Hospital buildings on the ANU site in December 1950 - January 1951. C. P. FitzGerald, Reader in Oriental Studies, was instrumental in collecting valuable Asian collections including the private library of Professor Hsu Ti Shan of Hong Kong University in this early period. When the Canberra University College amalgamated with the Australian National University, it brought with it the Oriental Studies collection that it had formed to support the teaching of the School of Oriental Languages. Another focus of the amalgamation was the cataloguing system as the ANU Library had adopted the Bliss system but the CUC the Dewey system. The first purpose-built library building, the R. G. Menzies Building, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 13 March 1963 as the research library, while an undergraduate library was completed later that year and was later named the J. B Chifley Building. Meanwhile a number of branch libraries in research schools had developed under the umbrella of the University Library. By the 1990s the main collections were organised into Asia-Pacific collections (Menzies), Social Sciences and Humanities (Chifley), Science (Hancock) and Law. The amalgamation of the Canberra Institute of the Arts (formerly the Canberra School of Music and the Canberra School of Art) into the ANU in 1992 brought two more branch libraries. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the collections within branch libraries in research schools were relocated to the main libraries, with off-site storage being used to house older material and to make way for the 'information commons', workstations and group study rooms incorporated into building renovations. The Music library was relocated to merge with the Art library in 2012.


Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

University Librarians:
A. L. G. McDonald: 1948 - 1960
J. J. Graneek: 1961 - 1972
M. G. Simms: 1974 - 1980
C. R. Steele: 1980 - 2002
V. G. Elliott: 2003 - 2011
R. Missingham: 2012 -

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

Graneek, Jacob Jack (1912 - 1980)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship


Dates of the relationship

1961 - 1972

Description of relationship

University Librarian

Related entity

McDonald, Arthur Leopold Gladstone (1898 – 1981)

Identifier of the related entity

Category of the relationship


Dates of the relationship

1948 - 1960

Description of relationship

University Librarian

Access points area


Control area

Authority record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created by Maggie Shapley 14 February 2013




P. A. Vidot, The History of the Australian National University Library 1946-1996, Canberra, 1996

Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC