HCL Anderson was principal librarian of the Free Public Library of New South Wales from 1893 to 1906. Anderson created a collection and service policy to give his infant colonial library a stature of national importance. He worked with DS Mitchell, wealthy collector of Australiana, adding, to the bequest of justice Edward Wise, Mitchell's extensive collections of books, manuscripts and maps, to build and preserve the first collection of national significance. Anderson persuaded Mitchell to finance the housing of the collection in what is now the Mitchell Library of the State Library of New South Wales. In addition to this protracted task, Anderson promoted the education of librarians and the expansion of services to the community, (including those in remote areas), as well as to business and industry. His vision, dedication and achievements provide a model for those nominated for the HCL Anderson Award.