Wellington.Scoop »Ten writers at public protest against National Library considering getting rid of books


Ten Wellington writers will take part in a reading on November 11 at 7 p.m. at St Peter’s Church on Willis Street, which will be the first live public protest against the National Library’s plans to donate up to 600,000 books from its collection. .

Readers will be: Asst. Professor Dolores Janiewski, Dame Fiona Kidman, Simon Sweetman, Lindsay Rabbitt, Denis Welch (friend), Chris Bourke, Mark Pirie, Michael O’Leary, Mary Anne Bourke and Harry Ricketts.

Organizer William Direen writes:

November 11 is the date World War I ended and 84,000 New Zealand survivors were told they would return home from war-torn Europe. They came back to build a better world. It is no exaggeration to say that the devastating experiences of soldiers in both wars prompted the enlightened acquisition of some of the National Library’s collections.

These writers meet on November 11 because 600,000 volumes of research, art, crafts, poetry, history, philosophy, history, gender studies, ecology, ethnic studies … Could be donated. The replacement value is $ 60 million or more. The “used” market value is approximately $ 10 million. Our government has allowed the value of the asset to be referred to as ZERO $.

As a result, some books will go to national libraries in Scotland, the Philippines and Greece, but most are likely to be sold (or even destroyed), enriching the Internet Archive (with 428,000 books) and impoverishing future neo generations. -Zeeland.

Some overseas libraries have scanned some of their own public domain books and sent the scans to the Internet Archive to provide worldwide access. These libraries still have their books, old and new, in their own collections. But unlike other national libraries, ours missed every opportunity to save our books. He just wants to get rid of it. As crazy as it sounds.

The different strategies and arguments of the directors of the National Library have evolved with the wind. Their intention has never been the preservation and accessibility of knowledge, but to get rid of our books by all means. Part of that means he’s a rotten old asset with no financial value. But the books are clearly worth at least $ 8 million on the open market (at an average of $ 20 used each), and their replacement cost is well over $ 60 million.

All the hard work of wise librarians, their acquisitions and their curation over the last century (and more) will be undone. The National Library is descended from the Library of the General Assembly, founded in 1862. Some of our books threatened with transfer, and many of the Alexander Turnbull Library have drawn on this heritage. Books are part of our tradition. They are special items, aging assets that are not worthless – and their value increases over time.

All attempts to persuade our politicians that responsible conservation of these collections is crucial for a fully endowed 21st century national library have so far failed. These politicians, through the intermediary of library managers, effectively “legislate” (in a philosophical sense) against our books.

Public outcry is now our recourse.

Admission is free to the November 11 rally. We could pass the hat off. It’s in the church itself, seating 350, so there’s plenty of room for good social distancing.


William Direen
Writers against the cession of the National Library

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