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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?

We have still a long way to go !

"Esson will not waver​ on her view that the books from the Overseas Published Collection will be officially removed from the library – she just doesn't know what to do with them after that."
Stuff Jan 29, 2022

In a recent article, Rachel Esson expresses directly and frankly what she thinks of the Overseas Published Collection, and this shows nothing but contempt for the Literature, Poetry, Philosophy and all the knowledge accumulated in the course of dozens of years by professional librarians of New Zealand

"(...)Esson will not reconsider keeping the rarely-used overseas books, which will make way for a larger Māori and Pacific collect [sic]. But sending them to the recycling bin is the library’s “absolute last resort”.
“People care so passionately. But the world’s moved on, and we don’t need to keep these,” she says. “It’s not good for New Zealand, and for us, to keep them."

Take a look at the library in images on youtube, and see whether this is true

And have a look at the Facebook page of Writers Against National Library Disposals to get a better idea of the incredibly rich Collection of the Overseas Published Books
Earlier in November 2021, R. Esson informed us that "if they decide to export the Overseas Published Collection, or any part of the OPC, they will provide us with two months notice before any such export takes place"
This petition not only asks for the Internet-Archive agreement to be cancelled, but also for public consultation about the future of the National Library of New Zealand, a library where professional librarians will be able to fill the collection with any books of the world they judge pertinent to New Zealand researchers and the public.

Info "Let's Keep and Grow the Collection"

and "Who is Responsible"

November 29: National Library is reconsidering its plan
see article in Stuff

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

What has 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.

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

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.

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


2022-06-04 07:33:48 +1200

1,000 signatures reached

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