National Library of Australia staff could be made redundant as part of a major reorganisation being undertaken at the leading cultural institution, a union has warned.
The Community and Public Sector Union said that redundancies are "a live possibility" as the National Library undertakes a wholesale reorganisation of its staffing and operations.
The changes were first flagged last year when the institution established a taskforce to draw up an agency-wide restructure plan.
Many details of the plan are yet to be made public, but the Canberra Times has revealed they include closing the Asian Collections Reading room and cutbacks to overseas collecting and publishing. There has been a series of Reading Room closures and consolidations in the past decade.
The library has been under sustained financial pressure from tight budgets and its average staffing level cap has been slashed by around 50 positions in the past six years.
The funding and personnel constraints have coincided with surging demand for digital services, and part of the library's response has been to develop the Trove and National edeposit platforms.
Australian Library and Information Association chief executive officer Sue McKerracher said the library has "suffered significant budget cuts over the years and any restructure will be as a result of that changed environment".
On February 24 an all-staff meeting was held at which more details of the proposed restructure were announced, and a two-week period of staff consultation has commenced.
Sources said that around a third to a half of existing positions would be translated across into the new structure, with the remaining employees yet to be matched to new roles.
CPSU Deputy Secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said it was "an anxious and stressful time for staff".
Ms Vincent-Pietsch said management had indicated there would be no overall reduction in the number of positions but had admitted that "some staff will find they no longer have a role in that modernised structure, and redundancies are a live possibility".
She said the library should not use the restructure as an excuse to save money.