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Our collections

The Library collection has been developed since the foundation of the Western Australian Institute of Technology in 1966. It comprises books, journals and databases, and has increasingly become electronic in format over the last ten years. As at December 2022, the ratio of books was 74% electronic to 26% physical.

The subject content of the collection reflects the current and past research and teaching interests of Curtin University. We also hold a number of discrete collections of primary resources relating to specific University projects and individual achievements.

The collection’s depth varies in different subject areas, with some acknowledged and emerging strengths. In particular, the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library contains a world-class collection of primary records, in various formats, that focus on the life and times of John Curtin.

In addition to the formal Library collection, the TL Robertson Library also has a Read & Return collection. This includes recreational and non-specialist physical books, which are available for anyone to use and return once finished.

Recommending items for the collection

We welcome recommendations for books and other items to be added to the collection. Use our online form to make a request or contact us for any questions.

The Library has a ‘digital by default’ collection development policy to maximise resource availability and best meet the needs of our client groups wherever they are located.

Items are purchased for the Library within the framework of our Collection Principles and the limits of our annual budget, and it may not always be possible to acquire all resources that are requested. Requests for new subscriptions are considered on an annual basis and are decided on towards the end of the year. Because of the ongoing financial commitment, they are examined carefully, and it may not be possible to accommodate all requests.


While the Library’s collections are increasingly electronic, we recognise the benefit of donations of unique physical material to enrich our collections.

Donations will only be accepted on the basis of significant relevance to the University’s teaching and research programs. Books and unpublished archival material that aligns with the subject coverage of our special collections and rare books will also be considered. Textbooks, print journals and other readily available material will generally not be accepted.

Items that are not accepted into the Library’s main collection may be considered for the Read & Return collection.

Please contact us about making a donation before bringing items to the Library.

Collection principles

An overview of the collection principles that are used in developing and maintaining our collection.