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First Nations clients

We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for Country.

The University of Sydney Library is committed to embedding culturally competent practice in what we do, and to develop and deliver services that reflect the Library’s diverse clients, and to make their experience more welcoming and inclusive. We work to ensure that all staff, students and community members with whom we interact feel safe, respected and valued. As a custodian of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges and as a site of knowledge production, we are mindful of Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) and encourage ethical use of First Nations Knowledge and culturally appropriate research practices.

First Nations Cultural Protocols

The University of Sydney Library has developed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Protocols guide Library staff in promoting culturally safe practices across services, spaces and resources. These protocols stem from the initial cultural audit undertaken in 2019/2020 to identify the Library’s current state of cultural competence and to highlight areas that require further development. The protocols have been endorsed by the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor if Indigenous Strategy and Services. They address areas as diverse as Library collection development, access to culturally sacred and secret materials, the provision of context to cultural perspectives, and recommended referencing styles for First Nations cultural materials.

The Library recognises that the implementation of the protocols will be ongoing, and in some cases may require multi-year projects.

Read the Library's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Protocols

Digital Placemaking and Acknowledgement of Country project

In 2020 the Library received a grant to commission original digital artwork to be displayed in the foyers of library spaces, as well as on the ThinkSpace video wall. The artwork incorporates an Acknowledgement of Country in English and in Gadigal, and provides historical and cultural context for the the Country where the libraries now stand. The artwork was created by Jazz Money, a poet and filmmaker of Wiradjuri heritage. Jazz is the 2020 winner of the David Unaipon Award from the State Library of Queensland, and her first collection of poetry to be published by UQP in 2021. The artwork she produced for the Library is titled YILABARA (now). Contrasting the built environment of The University of Sydney Camperdown campus with the landscape of Ku-ring-gai National Park, the film elicits the relationship between the contemporary built environment and the landscape that existed for millennia before colonisation.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges Seminar Series

The Library hosted a series of six seminars in 2018 that focussed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges. The seminars provided University staff and students with an opportunity to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing by focusing on various aspects of traditional and contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, including:

Staff Cultural Competence

The University of Sydney Library encourages its staff to participate in cultural competence learning opportunities and to improve their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, traditions and perspectives. Almost 200 Library staff recently completed the University’s Cultural Competence online modules as part of their annual evaluations. A select number of staff including the Library Senior Leadership Team have participated in the Cultural Competence Leadership Program offered by the National Centre for Cultural Competence.