Outgoing Loans Policy

The Outgoing Loans Policy applies to the outward loan of collection items from the Library to other cultural institutions for exhibition including travelling exhibitions.

Version: 2.0
Last Amendment: 01/11/2014
Approved by: Executive
Policy owner/sponsor: Executive Director, Library & Information Services and Dixson Librarian
Policy Contact Officer: Registrar, Exhibitions and Loans
Policy No: PD/75
TRIM File No: 59310
Date: 18/04/18
Next review: 18/04/2021

Policy statement

The State Library of New South Wales (the Library) lends items from its collection to other collecting institutions for temporary exhibition and display. The Outgoing Loans Policy applies to the outward loan of collection items from the Library to other cultural institutions for exhibition including travelling exhibitions. The administration of Outgoing Loans is undertaken by the Registrar, Exhibitions and Loans in the Collection Care Branch.

The Library is committed to enhancing public access to its collections through an active regional, national and international outgoing loans program. The Library works with borrowing institutions to facilitate the efficient administration of outgoing loans, balancing the Library’s obligation for the care, safety and security of its collection and the increasing demands on physical access to the collections.

The outgoing loans program increases the Library’s renown and generates cross-institutional links and opportunities for scholarly collaboration.

Target audience

The Outgoing Loans Policy is intended for Library staff engaged in making decisions and undertaking activities related to the assessment, approval and administration of outgoing loans.

Criteria for loan

Items from the Library’s collections are lent for the purpose of temporary exhibition to cultural institutions that are set up for the exhibition and display of cultural material. The following criteria are to be met:

  • The items are not required for internal exhibitions or programs at the Library
  • The items are in a stable condition and able to withstand the rigours of travel and display
  • The Borrower can provide adequate and appropriate facilities, and meet and maintain facility, environmental and security requirements, and the terms and conditions of the Loan as set out in the Outgoing Loan Agreement. Additional documentation or evidence of compliance with these conditions may be sought in accordance with established procedures
  • All loans must be fully indemnified against all risks and copies of the Borrower’s insurance policy must be sighted and approved by the Library before the loan is dispatched, and
  • The Library can resource the request in an appropriate timeframe.

The Library requires a minimum of six months, and preferably twelve months’ notice for loan requests to assist with planning.

Items will not be lent on a permanent basis.

Occasionally, the Library will lend items on a long-term basis. These loans will be of 12 months’ duration and may be renewed on an annual basis provided that the Borrower continues to meet the Library’s conditions of loan.

All loans must be covered by an Outgoing Loan Agreement signed by the borrowing institution and the Library.

The following items may not be lent:

  • items with an extended recent display history
  • material that infringes the privacy of individuals or corporations or discloses sensitive information
  • items acquired under conditions that prohibit or preclude loan or display
  • unusually fragile, sensitive, significant or valuable items that are at risk of damage from handling or transportation.

Items will not usually be lent to commercial organisations or private individuals.

Any exceptions must be approved by the State Librarian.

Loan fees and costs

The Library charges loan fees to recover costs of administration and preparation of loans. In some cases, a surcharge may be levied to cover additional administrative costs, or to cover costs of special preparation or display requirements. Loans with less than six months’ notice will incur a late fee.

All formats of material – pictorial, manuscript, maps, printed books or objects – have the same fee per item. The Library waives fees for NSW regional libraries in line withthe Library Act, 1939.

The Borrower will be required to cover all costs associated with the transportation of items including crating, packing, travel, security, customs agents and quarantine fees.

The Library will provide a courier for any loan if, in the opinion of the Library, supervision and oversight of loan items is required during transportation, for condition reporting, or for exhibition installation and de-installation. Reasons might include value or significance, or other reasons specified by the Library.

The Borrower is responsible for all costs for travel, accommodation and per diems required for the Library courier to carry out their duties.


The State Librarian – receives loan requests from Borrowers and signs Loan Agreements on behalf of the Library.

Executive Director, Library and Information Services and Dixson Librarian – following item assessment, recommends loan requests to the State Librarian for formal approval, and is responsible for leading the implementation of this policy including its conformity to legislative and other compliance requirements, communicating this policy to managers and supervisors and other relevant activities regarding specific policy implementation.

Registrar, Exhibitions and Loans – manages and administers the Loan Agreement, liaises with the Borrower, insurance provider, contractors and Library staff, completes paperwork, negotiates costs, and processes the loan.

Library and Information Services Division – provides curatorial approval of the loan, confirms valuation of items, provides physical access to the items and coordinates copyright and image requests for reproduction.

Senior Conservator, Exhibitions and Loans – completes conservation assessment of items requested for external loan and prepares condition reports, and arranges for conservation treatment, if required, and preparation of items for transportation and display.

Mitchell Librarian and Engagement Division – provides input and advice on the loan as required especially in relation to items with Indigenous content.

Digitisation Branch – ensures the items are digitised to meet asset management obligations.

Managers and supervisors are responsible for communicating this policy to staff and ensuring that processes comply with it.

Staff are responsible for understanding and complying with this policy.

Related key legislation and policy

Alphabetical list of most relevant legislation:

  • Convention of the Illicit Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Act, 1975
  • Customs Act, 1901
  • Library Act, 1939
  • Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act, 2013
  • Protection of Moveable Cultural Heritage Act, 1986
  • Public Finance and Audit Act 1983
  • Quarantine Act, 1908

Alphabetical list of related or most relevant State Library and government policies:

  • NSW Treasury Internal Audit and Risk Management Policy, TPP 09-5, 2009
  • Preservation Policy 2015
  • Sensitive collections material policy, 2017


Cultural institution: an organisation which works to promote and preserve culture

Outgoing loan: A temporary bailment of items from the Library to an external organisation for the purpose of exhibition or display where no transfer of ownership is involved.

Loan Agreement: Contract between lender and borrower, specifying the terms and conditions of the outgoing loan and the responsibilities of each party.

The Loan Period: the length of time that the items will be exhibited plus a period of up to 4 weeks at either side of the exhibition dates to allow for installation and return of the items.

Item: SLNSW physical collection material encompassing books, manuscripts, paintings and drawings, photographs, maps, realia.

Related policy

This policy may inform the Exhibitions Policy, the Incoming Loans Policy and the Preservation Policy.

Document history and version control

Version numberDate approvedApproved by
1.01 November 2014Executive Council
2.018 April 2018Executive Committee