Australia's National and State libraries all offer an "Ask a librarian" service. This is a free service provided by professional librarians for members of the public who have a research question or need help to find or access information. The National and State Libraries of Australasia state:
“We are strongly committed to principles of social justice and to equity of access to information, to providing a high level of service to all members of the community and to treating all enquiries with respect and confidentiality…NSLA libraries expect their staff to provide timely, courteous and professional service. Our service guidelines and standards are outlined in our service guidelines.”
Depending on the nature of your question, this service provides:
- guidance on the most appropriate information resources for you to continue your own research
- details of resources librarians have consulted to respond to your enquiry.
- up to 1 hour of research on most enquiries. We may spend more time on enquiries that require researching materials unique to our Library.
Q: Why is this link on Wikipedia?
A: Putting a link in the "WikiProject Australia" template makes this service more directly accessible to Wikipedia editors.
Q: Can anyone ask a question?
A: Yes. The Ask a Librarian reference service gives priority to assisting Australian residents, but will also respond to enquiries from researchers overseas if the question relates to Australia or unique collections held in Australian libraries.
Q: How soon can I expect a response?
A: The majority of enquiries are answered within a week, although enquiries involving more in-depth research of collections may take longer.
Q: Why are there so many fields in the enquiry form?
A: Most fields are not mandatory, but the more information librarians have about the context of the enquiry, the better the response they can provide: what your question is, how to contact you, how you would like to be addressed (your username is perfectly fine) and where you're located (postcode and country). Location information helps the librarian who is answering your question to find research material in libraries closest to you, in case you need to consult it in person. The libraries also use location information to learn where their services are being used, so they can plan for service delivery in the future. The other questions help the librarian to get a better understanding of what you need and where you've already looked. It would be very helpful if you could include the name of the Wikipedia article(s) you're hoping to improve, as this enables the librarian to tailor their response to your needs and also to learn how many Wikipedians are using the service.
Q: Can I provide feedback?
A: When you receive your response, you’ll be invited to provide feedback on its quality and timeliness, as well as the overall service. Please take a moment to do this.