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To: House of Representatives

Urgently stop National Library from sending thousands of books to the Philippines

Urgently stop National Library from sending thousands of books to the Philippines

We are asking that the House of Representatives urgently stop the National Library from sending overseas published books from its collection to the Philippines, require it to publicly consult about the best way of preserving, managing and offering these books to the public.

We believe this has been decided without enough consideration, and that these books are of universal interest and are a historical part of the National Library of New Zealand. Most of the Overseas Published Books Collection, featuring over 600,000 books from many countries, will soon leave our country, to go to the Philippines where they may be digitized by Internet Archive. The Library has already disposed of many of these overseas published books and we believe none will ever come back again.

Why is this important?

November 29:
There has been progress!
National Library reconsiders agreement with Internet Archive
But we still need your signature since we request the agreement with Internet-Archive to be cancelled, and not just suspended.

see article in Stuff

Available on the National Library website:
"Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa National Library is reconsidering its plans for the Overseas Published Collections in light of concerns raised by interested parties, including issues associated with copyright. The National Library will not export any of the Overseas Published Collections until it considers its next step"

This is good news since we are seeking an MP to present our petition to Parliament, and asking him/her to support us regarding the future of the National Library's collecting, managing and offering of overseas published books to the public

Who is responsible for the books ?

the library in images on youtube

Groups Opposed:
Writers Against National Library Disposals

See the photos of our Nov. 11 event "Writers against National Library Disposals" at St Peter's Willis St in DomStuff for a good idea of the atmosphere or check out Karyn Hay’s LATELY for a live cross just after the event
15 Nov, Newsroom

Extract from Scoop. 29 Oct

"All the hard work of thoughtful librarians, their acquisitions and curation over the past century (and more), will be undone. The National Library is descended from the General Assembly Library, founded in 1862. Some of our books threatened with disposal, and many in the Alexander Turnbull Library have drawn from that heritage. The books are part of our tradition. They are special items, not worthless, ageing assets – and their value is increasing with time.

All attempts to persuade our politicians that responsible curation of these collections is crucial for a fully resourced 21st-century national library have failed until now. These politicians, through the library’s directors, are effectively ‘legislating’ (in the philosophical sense) against our books.

Public outcry is now our recourse."

William Direen

What happened:

Two years ago the National Library announced a plan to rid itself of most of its Overseas Published Collection. These books are national assets and should be treated this way. They contain a wealth of knowledge we do not want to lose. They will be costly to replace, and some will not be able to be replaced. Researchers, writers and students use this collection regularly.

▪︎ Over 600 000 books were initially slated for "secure destruction " by the National Library.
▪︎ The National Library's own statistics show these books are used about as much as any other part of the National Library's collection.
▪︎ 57 000 of the books were sent to a massive book sale at Trentham earlier this year. Approximately 10 000 sold.
▪︎ The National Library has entered into a contract to gift 428 000 books to an American company, Internet Archive, in return for digitising the books. The books will never come back again
▪︎ Internet Archive is facing a major lawsuit alleging breach of copyright in the USA and is opposed by writers and publishers groups nationally and internationally

The National Library's rationale for getting rid of the books has shifted over time.
▪︎ It started as a cost saving exercise so it did not have to pay for storing them. "Secure destruction " was its original plan.
Publishers figures for 2019 showed 2662 books were published in New Zealand. It would take 150 years to fill the space left by getting rid of the Overseas Published Collection.

We ask that
▪︎The contract with Internet Archive be cancelled
Parliament must ensure that the National Library carries out its job in a careful, prudent way as envisaged by those who drafted the legislation it currently operates under.

Scoop 8 Nov


How it will be delivered

As soon as a decision regarding Internet Archive is made, it will go on the Parliament site, and an MP will present the petition to a committee for consideration (any MP could do it, but we are looking for a personality along with a party which accepts to support us). We hope that this Committee will recommend action to the Government, which will have 90 days to make a decision


2021-11-15 10:12:59 +1300

500 signatures reached

2021-11-12 04:54:21 +1300

100 signatures reached

2021-11-11 19:13:27 +1300

50 signatures reached

2021-11-11 16:30:33 +1300

25 signatures reached

2021-11-11 14:34:44 +1300

10 signatures reached