About two-thirds of staff at the National Library of Australia will need to apply for new roles at the institution as part of a major restructure.
Director-General Marie-Louise Ayres conceded the restructure has been a stressful time for staff, but said the overhaul of roles was due to the changing nature of work required by the library, not funding cuts.
Like many national institutions, the library has faced budget pressures in recent years, but Dr Ayres told Senate estimates on Tuesday night the restructure had "nothing to do with our resourcing scenario".
"Even if the pot of gold had fallen out of the sky and we'd had an increase to our budget, I would still have done the restructure.
"The library is essentially structured the same way it has been for nearly 20 years. There's been very little change in 20 years, but everything about our work has changed."
Roles like social media or communications and marketing had grown over time and were "scattered across too many parts of the organisation," and moves towards digital collecting had also changed the needs of the institution.
"It's a major change for the library. Many parts of the library will change the way they're doing their work," Dr Ayres said.
"Teams are being reconfigured, we're putting in new capability where we don't have it and really trying to make sure that we're getting the most for our investment."
Even if the the pot of gold had fallen out of the sky and we'd had an increase to our budget, I would still have done the restructure.Dr Marie-Louise Ayres
About a third of roles at the library had been "mirrored" onto new roles in the restructure, Dr Ayres said, meaning the job would stay more or less the same.
But for the remaining staff, an expressions of interest process will take place over the next few months, starting with senior staff and working down the ranks, requiring them to apply for new roles.
Despite the upheaval, Dr Ayes said there would be more roles in the new structure than there are currently staff at the library, with the new structure to have 350 roles as well as senior executives.
The library currently had about 320 staff, Dr Ayres said, with an average staffing level cap of 371. The average staffing level had been "managed down" over the last year in anticipation of the restructure, which has been in planning since May last year.
While voluntary redundancies are possible through the restructure, Dr Ayres said they would be considered as an "end point," with re-deployment inside the library or elsewhere in the public service to be considered first. There will be no open redundancy process.
"It is quite possible," some people would find they didn't have a role in the new structure, Dr Ayres said.
Like many of the capital's national institutions, the ageing heritage building next to Lake Burley-Griffin also poses challenges.
The iconic library building "needs an awful lot of work," Dr Ayres said, but under the current structure only has four staff looking after it.
"[That was] tough over this summer, I have to say."
Under the new structure, a new expanded capital works team will be in charge of replacing the building's heating, ventilation and airconditioning system, parts of which are more than 50 years old.