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FAMOUS - principles for delivery of external agency information

The Public Libraries Consultative Committee endorsed the following principles for the sustainable delivery of external agency information or services to communities through local libraries.


Public libraries are open to all, informing and enriching individuals and communities. The New South Wales public library network offers information and library services, on site and online, to the people of the state in accordance with the Library Act 1939 and the Library Council of NSW Guideline on Access to Information in NSW Public Libraries. This policy framework establishes the principles of free access by the public and the provision of unbiased, comprehensive and balanced collections.

NSW public libraries are operated by local government with assistance from the State Government through the State Library of NSW which also provides strategic and targeted support services to the councils and libraries. In addition, the State Library delivers statewide information services including an extensive range of eresources and a growing corpus of digitised heritage materials.
The 367 public libraries across NSW form a network of local access points for information and services provided by local, state and federal government. The network is accessible by the whole population with 44% registered as members.

These principles have been prepared to assist with the assessment of proposals to provide collections, resources or services from government or non-government agencies wishing to partner with the NSW public library network.

While strongly committed to facilitating access to information, including e-government information and services, public libraries face constraints in space and facilities, staffing, connectivity and equipment and funding which limit their capacity to take on the delivery of additional services. In particular, public libraries are public spaces and are therefore not appropriate for the delivery of some services such as personalised services for individuals or services with privacy implications, although they may be able to provide meeting rooms for visiting specialists offering such services.


Proposals to partner with the NSW public library network to provide collections, resources or services from government or non-government agencies should be ‘FAMOUS’: 

  1. Feasible for delivery within the space and design constraints of the public libraries.
  2. Appropriate for delivery via the public libraries.
  3. Mutually beneficial for the libraries and the partner agency.
  4. Optional for participation by the public libraries.
  5. Useful and timely for public library clients.
  6. Sustainable with the existing resources of the public libraries.

Application of the principles

All proposals for partnership will be assessed against these principles by applying the following criteria.  The State Library of NSW will assist with the assessment of such network wide proposals and may agree to facilitate ordering, distribution or promotion to public libraries on a case by case basis.
Agencies are encouraged to self-assess against the criteria prior to contacting the State Library of NSW.

Feasible for delivery within the space and design constraints of the public libraries

  • Has the proposal been piloted with public libraries?
  • What consultation has been undertaken?
  • Does the proposal have space, display or signage requirements?

Appropriate for delivery via the public libraries

  • Would the proposal be consistent with the collection profiles of public libraries?
  • Would the proposal be appropriately delivered through public libraries with regard to accessibility, privacy, staff skills, infrastructure, etc?
  • Are there any risks inherent in the proposal? How might they be mitigated?

Mutually beneficial for the libraries and the partner agency

  • What is the proposed promotional strategy? 
  • Will there be any opportunities for mutual promotion or co-branding?
  • Will the initiative be evaluated? At what point?

Optional for participation by the public libraries

  • Can public libraries participate via an opt-in arrangement?
  • Can public libraries decide to participate or withdraw subsequent to the launch?

Useful and timely for public library clients

  • Does the proposal meet relevant standards in accuracy, authority, presentation?
  • Is there provision to update the collection or resource?
  • Is the initiative for a specific date or time period or is it continuing?

Sustainable with existing resources of the public libraries

  • Would the proposal incur additional costs for public libraries?
  • If so, would the costs be offset by any savings and/or is a subsidy available?

If you have any questions about these principles please contact Cameron Morley.