Does Canberra really have “over 300 libraries”, or is it just a myth?

Canberra is lucky when it comes to libraries, as it not only has the whole range of different library types, but  also libraries in every level of government (local/state/federal), not to mention libraries in all levels of educational institutions and private organisations.   But, does Canberra have the oft’ quoted, almost mythical figure of “over 300 libraries”?  Well, a look around the net indicates that Canberra really does have allot of libraries…

We have the local ACT Public Library Service (with 8 branches), and the local New South Wales regional Queanbeyan Public Library (with 3 branches).

As well, there is the National Library of Australia, which is the national deposit library, and home to the Australian union catalogue (accessible using Trove).

The major Federal Government departments almost all have libraries (members of AGLIN like the Australian Parliamentary Library, Defence , Environment, Attorney-General’s, DFAT, and Broadband & Communications)

The Territory Government departments also have libraries (like the ACT Health Library, the Supreme Court Library, and the Education Department).

Statutory Authorities are independent government funded organisations, and most of these have libraries (like the Institute of Criminology, Productivity Commission, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Australian Federal Police, Australian Electoral Commission, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and the Australian Sports Commission).

Canberra is home to many national institutions with libraries (like the National Museum, the National Gallery, and the High Court of Australia).

Archives are also kept in Canberra (like the National Archives of Australia, the ACT Heritage Library, the Australian War Memorial, the National Film and Sound Archive, and the ACT Archives).

There are four University Libraries (Australian National University, Canberra Uni, Catholic Uni, and the Uni of NSW Australian Defence Force Academy Library).

There are libraries in almost all the local schools, both public (e.g. Gold Creek, Lyneham Primary, Florey Primary, Majura Primary, Yarralumla Primary, Palmerston Primary, Campbell High, Lanyon High, Canberra HighDickson College, Hawker College, Narrabundah College, Melba/Copland, Lake Tuggeranong College) and private (e.g. Canberra Grammar, Daramalan, Radford, Burgman), as well as joint-use libraries (like Erindale College and Gunghalin), and special schools (like Black Mountain), and ofcourse, there is the Canberra Institute of Technology Learning Centre.

Many organisations, associations, and companies have their headquarters in Canberra, and many of these have libraries (like the St Mark’s National Theological Centre).

Finally, lots of community groups and local non-profit organisations have small libraries (like the Canberra Rabbit Club Library, Canberra Astronomical Society, the Vishnu Shiva Mandir Temple and Library, the ACT Mental Health Foundation, Canberra and District Historical Society, Beseda Club of Canberra, ACT Writer’s Centre, Alliance Francaise, Australia’s Bicycle History Library, andthe Canberra Bridge Club)

And these are just a few of the total libraries available in Canberra.  So the truth is, there really is well in excess of 300 libraries in Canberra – that’s more than one library for every thousand people.


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