About CAUL

The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) is the peak leadership organisation for university libraries in Australia and New Zealand. CAUL members are the University Librarians or equivalent of the 39 institutions that have representation on Universities Australia (UA) and the 8 University Librarians or equivalent of the institutions that have representation on Universities New Zealand (UNZ) and who form the Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL), a committee of UNZ. More information on the two membership categories of the Council is available here.

CAUL makes a significant contribution to higher education strategy, policy and outcomes through a commitment to a shared purpose: To transform how people experience knowledge – how it can be discovered, used and shared.

CAUL’s vision is that society is transformed through the power of research, teaching and learning. University libraries are essential knowledge and information infrastructures that enable student achievement and research excellence.

CAUL is an incorporated association in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), it is governed by a Constitution and a set of Strategic priorities that further its goals as an association.

CAUL acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and that the Council Members are located across all of Australia. We pay our respect to the Elders past, present and emerging, for all First Nations Peoples, wherever they are located.

In early 2022, an event "Discovering More about CAUL" was held for libary staff in member institutions as well as other stakeholders. The recording is available and provides a useful overview of what CAUL is and what we do.

CAUL's Goals

  1. Position university libraries as essential infrastructure for teaching, learning and research in their institutions.
  2. Advance open and equitable access to knowledge, information and data.
  3. Be a recognised authority on the purpose, value and impact of university libraries in higher education and research.
  4. Foster cooperative activity between university libraries in Australia and internationally for the benefit of their students, teachers and researchers.
  5. Represent the interests of its members to government, the community and other stakeholders (see CAUL Stakeholder Engagement Strategy)
  6. Promote members’ views and values in national and international discourse on relevant issues and public policy developments.
  7. Facilitate the sharing of best practice, information and innovation among its members.
  8. Foster leadership and professional growth of current and future leaders in university libraries.

Strategic Priorities - areas of focus for 2023-2025:

  • Open Access
  • Open Educational Resources
  • From Decolonisation to Indigenisation* 

Download the CAUL Strategy 2023 - 2025.

* From Decolonisation to Indigenisation is a working title for the program.


The CAUL Board establishes strategic priorities aligned to CAUL's goals. The Board is responsible for policy and its execution; the governance, prioritisation and allocation of resources; and, establishing and fostering strategic partnerships and collaborations to address, nationally and internationally, the issues and opportunities impacting Australian university libraries.


CAUL has a national and international perspective on issues relevant to university libraries. CAUL provides a forum for discussion and collaboration, and works to promote the common interest. To this end CAUL undertakes a wide range of activities on behalf of its members and the community. 

Key activities include:

  1. Advancing public policy discourse through submissions, policy statements and position papers.
  2. Developing skills and practice for university librarians and information professionals through an annual calendar of events, workshops, webinars and activities.
  3. Providing insight through an extensive range of data, analytics and reports on university libraries.
  4. Advancing solutions for critical challenges through strategic programs of work including advancing open scholarship, enabling a modern curriculum, respecting indigenous knowledge and inspiring sustainability
  5. Facilitating digital scholarly content procurement program for Australian and New Zealand universities and research organisations.
  6. Sharing knowledge and fostering collaboration through communities of practice, communication and collaborations.


Since the first meeting of Australian university librarians in 1928 and the formation of the Committee of Australian University Librarians in 1965, CAUL has sought to ensure a common voice and representation for leaders of university libraries, provide a forum for discussion, and promote common interests.

  • The Council of Australian University Librarians was established as an unincorporated association in 1992 
  • The CAUL Office was established in 1995 at the Australian National University (ANU), with Diane Costello as the inaugural Executive Officer.
  • In 2003, CAUL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CAUDIT and ACODE.
  • In 2004, CAUL approved guidelines for the composition of committees and working groups, and guidelines for determining whether CAUL will take up membership of associated organisations.
  • In 2010, a major review of CAUL's committee structure was undertaken.
  • In 2016, CAUL joined with other academic & research library organisations to form IARLA (International Alliance of Research Library Associations).
  • CAUL was an unincorporated association until its incorporation in 2019, the old CAUL constitution was last amended in March, 2014.
  • In early 2019 Diane Costello retired from the role of Executive Officer. 
  • On 18 February 2019 CAUL became an incorporated association in the ACT (see the CAUL inc Certificate of incorporation and new Constitution). Read more about CAUL's incorporation.
  • In 2019, following a review the previous year, the CAUL Office was restructured and renamed the "CAUL National Office" with new roles for Executive Director and Director, Content Procurement. Mark Sutherland was appointed Executive Director in July 2019 and Angus Cook was appointed Director, Content Procurement in January 2020.
  • In late 2020 a position of Director, Strategy & Analytics was established in the CAUL National Office and Dr Kate Davis commenced in the position the following April.
  • On 7 January 2021 CAUL became a direct employer, decoupled from ANU, and established a new presence and registered address at ALIA House in Deakin, Canberra with staff working remotely across three states.
  • In July 2022 a new position of Associate Director, Content Procurement was established in the CAUL National Office with a particular focus on open access agreements. Dr Arthur Smith commenced in the position in September of that year. 
  • At the end of 2022, Mark Sutherland retired from the role of Executive Director and Jane Angel commenced in the position on 14 November 2022.
Chairs of CAUL as an association incorporated since February 2019
2023 – present Carmel O'Sullivan University of Southern Queensland
2019 – 2023 Jill Benn University of Western Australia
2019 – 2019 Margie Jantti University of Wollongong


Presidents of CAUL as an unincorporated association prior to February 2019
2015 – 2019 Margie Jantti University of Wollongong
2013 – 2015 Heather Gordon James Cook University
2009 – 2013 Cathrine Harboe-Ree Monash University
2008 – 2009 Andrew Wells University of New South Wales
2005 – 2007 Eve Woodberry University of New England
2002 – 2004 Madeleine McPherson University of Southern Queensland
1998 – 2002 Helen Hayes University of Melbourne
1997 – 1998 Alex Byrne Northern Territory University and University of Technology Sydney
1992 – 1996 John Shipp University of Wollongong and University of Sydney




Author Harry Rolf
Last modified 10 October 2023