CAUL Member Prospectus

CAUL Member Prospectus

Last update: May 2022 

The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) is the peak leadership organisation for university libraries in Australia and New Zealand. The Council members are the University Librarians or equivalent of the 39 institutions that have representation on Universities Australia and the 8 University Librarians of the institutions with representation on Universities New Zealand (UNZ), who make up the Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL), a committee of UNZ. 

This Prospectus sets out the framework for value generation by CAUL and details the benefits of membership and CAUL’s expectations of members. Through an annual “Year in Review”, CAUL reports on specific achievements that demonstrate actual value to members for the preceding year and with a particular focus on outcomes of services, engagement, advocacy and strategic programs pertinent to that year.

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 has a national and international perspective on issues relevant to university libraries and at its heart, the mission of CAUL is to enhance the value and capacity of ANZ university libraries. CAUL provides a supportive, collegial forum for members to enquire, inform, discuss, share, collaborate and learn as they operate and manage the university libraries of Australia and New Zealand.

The value and benefits that CAUL provides to members stem from the achievement of eight goals that CAUL pursues on behalf of members:

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

 The value that CAUL generates for its members broadly falls into four categories:

A. Sector-level services

B. Knowledge, sharing and collaboration

C. Strategic program outcomes

D. Engagement, advocacy and public policy outcomes

A. Sector-level Services

The sector-level services that CAUL provides to members on an ongoing basis are:

  • Content Procurement Services
  • Statistics & Analytics Services
  • Professional Development
  • ULANZ Borrowing Scheme

Content Procurement Services

CAUL’s Content Procurement Services centre around the operations of the CAUL Consortium providing skilled negotiation for sector-wide agreements for the procurement of scholarly content.

The efforts of the CAUL Consortium are focused on improved value for money, through economies of scale and greater leverage in the digital content marketplace, enabling influence on the development of products and platforms and the transformation of access to digital scholarly content. The Consortium negotiates agreements aligned with strategic initiatives on behalf of member institutions to secure optimal acquisition of digital content, using the best possible pricing models, with the most favourable terms for members, and to deliver significant benefits of cost avoidance, thus ultimately saving Consortium Members both time and money.

Although the CAUL Consortium is primarily the vehicle through which the CAUL Content Procurement Services operate, the Consortium may also be used as appropriate, from time to time, for the procurement of non-content services/products. This includes: products providing access to content or analysis of content; any products/services that meet particular needs of Consortium members and for which consortial procurement will produce a better outcome for members. The Consortium also facilitates financial support for services that provide infrastructure to Consortium members for open access to scholarly content.

Statistics & Analytics Services

The CAUL Statistics Services focuses on collecting and presenting data from university libraries in Australia and New Zealand.The data is used for cross-institutional benchmarking, facilitating the demonstration of value and impact, and it also enables the provision of sector-level aggregate data for the profiling of ANZ academic libraries.

Services provided include:

  • Annual CAUL statistics collection service
  • Provision of CAUL statistics interactive platform
  • Sector-wide trends analysis and reports
  • Sector-wide surveys and reports

Professional Development Services

CAUL focuses on developing skills and practice for university librarians and information professionals through an annual calendar of events, workshops, webinars and activities. These include:

  • CAUL Leadership Institute
  • Negotiation & Influencing Skills Workshop
  • Research Repositories Community Days Content
  • Coordinators Forums
  • Conference presentations at Council meetings

CAUL also recognises professional achievement through the annual CAUL Achievement Awards.

ULANZ Borrowing Scheme

ULANZ is a Library borrowing scheme that allows staff and students of Australian and New Zealand universities to borrow in person from any other participating university library. The scheme is a cooperative arrangement between CAUL and CONZUL and benefits members in terms of enabling student achievement.

B. Knowledge, Sharing and Collaboration

CAUL members benefit from sharing knowledge and fostering collaboration through communities of practice, communication and collaborations that focus on leading and innovative models and resources for the advancement of university libraries.

Council Meetings

The biannual council meetings provide a unique opportunity for members to network with colleagues, hear from leading speakers on a range of topics relevant to higher education, research and libraries and also to become involved in the programs and projects facilitated by CAUL.

This is supplemented by the ongoing sharing of information and Collegial exchange via the CAUL Members’ email list.

Communities of Practice

  • Research Support Community of Practice
  • Digital Dexterity Community of Practice
  • Library Value & Impact Community of Practice
  • Statistics Community
  • Content Community

CAUL Newsletter

The CAUL Newsletter keeps members informed of the activities of CAUL as well as those of other sector-related organisations including a wide range of professional development and other events on offer. The Newsletter also plays a key role in promoting CAUL and its work more generally, with an open subscriber base.

C. Strategic Program Outcomes

CAUL reviews its strategic priorities and goals annually and determines strategic themes and associated programs with appropriate initiatives and projects to achieve the goals. 

The aim of the strategic programs is to advance solutions for critical challenges facing university libraries.

For 2020-2022 the strategic themes are:

D. Engagement, Advocacy and Public policy outcomes

CAUL purposefully engages with a range of sectoral stakeholders to achieve specific outcomes and advocates to achieve changes including changes to policy impacting higher education, research and libraries.

  • Advancing public policy discourse through submissions, policy statements and position papers
  • Advocacy and promotion of Australian university libraries, and their enabling of student achievement and research excellence
  • Representation of views and interests to government, regulators and other key stakeholders
  • Establishing and fostering collaborations with allied organisations within Australia and internationally

In addition to membership of IARLA (International Alliance of Research Library Associations) and ICOLC (International Coalition of Library Consortia), on behalf of members, CAUL has paid institutional membership of the following to further advocacy and public policy outcomes:

  • SPARC – Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
  • COUNTER (Standard for counting use of digital content resources)
  • ALACC – Australian Libraries and Archives Copyright Committee

CAUL partners and works closely with a number of other sector-related organisations as detailed on the CAUL website.

CAUL Council Membership

Benefits of Council Membership:

As detailed above, CAUL provides a range of services and benefits for Council Members and specific achievements demonstrating value are reported annually. Membership of CAUL automatically implies participation in the CAUL Consortium as detailed below.

Categories of Council Membership:

  • Full Council Membership: Australian universities
  • Associate Council Membership: New Zealand universities

Full membership of CAUL is open to the University Librarian or equivalent of each university that is a member of Universities Australia (UA). Associate membership of CAUL is open to the University Librarian or equivalent of each university that is a member of Universities New Zealand (UNZ), and as such, a member of the Council of New Zealand University Librarians (CONZUL), a committee of UNZ.

Expectations of Council Members:

To ensure that CAUL functions optimally in the best interests of all members, Council Members are expected to:

  • Attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the incorporated association or assign a proxy to attend
  • Attend biannual Council Meetings in March and September each year or assign a delegate to attend
  • Actively contribute to and participate in strategic programs and events
  • Share and collaborate with fellow members for the betterment of the academic library sector
  • Maintain confidentiality of corporate information about CAUL’s finances, governance and risk management obtained after logging in to the CAUL website. This includes meeting papers and reports marked “Confidential”
  • Participate in the annual collection of sector-wide statistics
  • Pay CAUL invoices for annual membership fees, consortium levies, ALACC levies and events within the specified timeframe on invoices

CAUL Consortium Participation

Consortium Participation Categories

  • CAUL Council Consortium Participants (CAUL Full Council Members and Associate Council Members)
  • Non-council Consortium Participants (entities external to CAUL). A process for admission of new participants in this category is currently under development.

Consortium Participation provides the following benefits:

The benefits of CAUL Consortium participation are detailed in the description of Content Procurement Services above. Approximately half of all sector wide university expenditure on scholarly content is procured through the CAUL Consortium with significant cost avoidance and price increase avoidance achieved through consortial negotiations. In addition to this, the processing of procurement transactions through CAUL provides significant human resource savings for members.

Expectations of Consortium Participants:

To ensure that CAUL functions optimally for the benefit of all, participants are expected to:

  • Authorise the CAUL Director of Content Procurement, supported by the CAUL Content Procurement Committee, to negotiate sector-wide content procurement agreements on their behalf
  • Ensure the designated Content Coordinator is authorised to act on behalf of the institution
  • Provide content usage reports to CAUL and permit CAUL to access content usage reports directly from publishers or via JUSP, or other usage data harvesting tools
  • Permit CAUL to obtain open access sales data and other publishing data from publishers and content vendors, or through open access data harvesting tools
  • Maintain appropriate access to ConsortiaManager for institutional staff and ensuring termination of access of staff who have left the employ of the institution or changed roles within the institution
  • Adhere to timeframes provided by CAUL for accepting or rejecting consortium offers in ConsortiaManager and respond to requests for information in accordance with timelines
  • Pay CAUL invoices for content subscriptions within timeframes specified on invoices
  • Pay CAUL content subscription invoices into the correct currency account as stipulated on each invoice (AUD, EUR, GBP, USD)
  • Pay GST on AUD content subscriptions as invoiced (CAUL does not collect GST on these transactions, it simply allows for a flowthrough of the GST to the content vendors)
  • Notify CAUL of any customised changes to licence terms and conditions negotiated at an institutional level for sector-wide agreements that permit such changes (i.e. excluding “all-in” agreements)
  • Ensure Contracts and Licence Terms and Conditions are reviewed, signed and countersigned by the appropriate authorities and that the institution retains a current, countersigned copy at all times
  • Ensure institutional staff do not represent the CAUL Consortium to vendors or others without express agreement of CAUL
  • Ensure institutional staff do not disclose details of CAUL agreements to vendors or others
  • Ensure institutional staff participating in the Content Community use the email list appropriately
  • Abide by the "Competition Guidelines relating to negotiations with publishers" issued by CAUL in line with legal advice


Author Cicy Zheng
Last modified 19 May 2022