Find out about recent achievements and future priorities of the Commons Library in our 2021-2022 Annual Report.

Message from The Chair

The recent Australian federal election saw a huge influx into the public space of people who had never before – and still don’t – see themselves as ‘activists’. The Commons Library was the place they found books, articles, videos and podcasts to help them get organised. Participating effectively in civil society to make positive change inevitably requires the skills to raise some funds, develop a political strategy, conduct a campaign, work with people in groups, manage volunteers, and more. The Commons Library was on hand with deep and broad collections that offered help to people wherever they were on their journey of civic engagement. It is no vain boast to say that the Library played a role in the extraordinary outcomes we saw in 2022.

The election outcome has now created new opportunities for social change, and once again the library is playing an essential role in equipping a whole generation of new change-makers. There are plenty of big ideas around but we need skilled people at every level and in every place to prosecute these proposals in a disciplined and planned manner to ensure success. Local place-based organising is enjoying a resurgence, recognising leadership that already exists in communities, so what better tool to have on hand than a digital library, accessible to all?

The last year has not been an easy one across society, yet the Commons Library is still standing: we showed up, we kept going, we delivered support where we could.

We could do more if we had more, so a major focus of the board and staff is continued fundraising in order to expand our ability to reach more Australians every day and equip them with the skills they need to tell expansive stories and offer a sense of agency to those around them. Investing in infrastructure sounds dull but is essential: good foundations make the incredible possible. The board and staff of the Commons Library are acutely aware that the generosity of our donors makes our important work a reality, and we sincerely thank you all.

Your support enables us to build civil society’s capacity to learn and grow its work for the common good by providing access to high quality resources for all people who share a social conscience.

Sue McKinnon


  • Vision and Mission
  • Why ‘The Commons’?
  • What We Do
  • Message from the Director
  • Message from the Chair
  • Highlights from the Year
  • Explore the Commons
  • Many Ways to Learn
  • Key Resources
  • Collections
  • Project Partners
  • Feedback from Project Partners
  • Feedback from Library Users
  • Commons Staff
  • Commons Board
  • Commons Volunteers
  • Commons Donors
  • 2022 – 2023 Priorities
  • Financial Summary


2021-2022 Commons Library Annual Report

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If you value the work of the Commons Library please donate today so we can put crucial resources in the hands of people working for social change.

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