Volume 28 Issue 3, 2013

Getting to know the AFP National Library Service

Karen York

Karen York of the Learning and Development area within the Australian Federal Police provides an overview of the AFP National Library Service.


The AFP National Library Service is located at the Australian Federal Police (AFP) College, Barton in Canberra, and is more than just a library. It is central to the information needs of AFP officers and staff in Canberra, interstate and around the globe. The library has a wide range of open source information products and provides services that support both national and international policing operations. This contributes to the development of essential knowledge and skills for enhanced decision-making and effective policing.

The library offers all the traditional library services, such as books, journals and a quiet place to study. In addition it also includes language resources, online databases, training materials for its courses, space for group or private study, research services and an Internet café. The library offers secure 24/7 access for staff and has librarians on hand to assist from 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.

Library staff include the Library Manager, Library Team Leader, three Client Services librarians and an Interlibrary Loans Officer. There are also two Literacy and Training Support officers who facilitate courses for AFP clients on a variety of information and literacy subjects. Courses include:

  • Database Searching
  • Effective Internet Searching
  • Legal Research
  • Foundation Writing Skills
  • Writing for Executives, and
  • Study Skills.

Currently there are more than 60 000 items listed in the library’s catalogue in print and electronic form. Speciality topics related to policing are catered for in areas of:

  • transnational and organised crime
  • terrorism
  • community policing
  • drug trafficking
  • cyber crime
  • forensics
  • law
  • criminology
  • leadership, and
  • training.

Library products

The library produces the AFP Digest which is a database indexed and abstracted by library staff. The AFP Digest is available via the Internet by subscription from RMIT Publishing.

The library pushes out products such as Just Captured which is a list of new library collection purchases. Just Captured is often themed. For example a comprehensive list of recently released books and DVDs on emergency management was published in July 2012.

Library functions

A major function of the library is research. This is undertaken by the Client Services librarians. Each day brings new topics of interest for the AFP and the librarians constantly monitor newspapers, websites, and social media for new information. A series of alerting services is compiled and distributed to interested clients.

The library has a popular intranet site which provides access to a broad range of law enforcement information, including e-books, smart phone application updates, and a blog which highlights recently published material of relevance to the AFP and its intelligence partners.

The library supports the AFP College, which is a Registered Training Organisation located in Canberra. In addition to training new federal agents, ACT Community Police and Protective Service Officer recruits, the College offers training programs for AFP members and staff from other government and policing agencies. The AFP Library provides support to all attendees, through course and pre-course reading materials, computer access, and research services as required. The courses include the:

National Strategic Intelligence Course – the AFP, in partnership with Charles Sturt University and the Australian Crime Commission, provides course participants with a practical knowledge of strategic intelligence, research methods, program management, data collection, and analysis.

Management of Serious and Organised Crime – this course deals with management practices as they apply to the investigation of serious crime, developing and sharing information, skills, strategies and techniques, and creating collaborative networks, nationally and internationally to overcome serious crime.

Inter-agency Integrity Investigation Program – this is designed to provide investigators with an enhanced understanding of the integrity environment; exposing them to emerging issues and best practices.

Research support for police – related study and professional development is available to officers and staff engaged in tertiary studies.

Library staff regularly participate in recruit scenario and training days. This is important as library staff gain a great appreciation of the work of police officers, and training participants get to know their librarian support team.

Chipping in

The library staff are always eager to support good causes. They are involved in fundraising by selling chocolates or hosting morning teas for the College. Some of the causes and personnel supported include the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, Bravehearts, the RSPCA, UNICEF School-in-a-box, David O’Donohue, and other Police officers and their families.

AFP National Library contacts

Email: library-afp@afp.gov.au

Phone: 02 6270 4893

Website: www.afp.gov.au/library