Wednesday, August 12, 2009

NZ History Online pays tribute to libraries in Library Week.

New Zealand Library Week
A selection of stories about New Zealand libraries and librarians.
New Zealand’s first public library

The first public library
New Zealand’s first public library, (pic left), The Port Nicholson Exchange and Public Library, opened in Wellington in 1841. It was established by a group of the city’s first settlers, and operated for one year, at the corner of Charlotte Street (now Molesworth Street) and Lambton Quay, an area now occupied by the Wellington cenotaph. Read more about NZ's first public library.
Carnegie’s free libraries

Carnegie free libraries
In the early 20th century a number of New Zealand communities established ‘free' libraries with the assistance of Scottish-born American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. In practice 'free' library services proved to be a lofty ideal which many communities struggled to meet, and others simply chose to ignore. Read more about Carnegie's 'free' libraries.
The Munn Barr report

The Munn Barr report on libraries
The Munn Barr report (1934), officially titled New Zealand Libraries: a survey of conditions and suggestions from their improvement, was a seminal document in the history of New Zealand library development. Providing a picture of the deficiencies in the country's library system and recommendations for its development, it is credited with setting the direction for New Zealand's modern library system. Read more about the Munn Barr report.
Library disasters

Library disasters
Fire was the scourge of colonial towns and cities. Old, tinder-dry wooden buildings and books were a highly combustible combination, and many private and public libraries caught alight. Fire has not been the only threat to libraries. Water damage, through floods, heavy rain or sprinkler systems, has proved to be just as destructive to library collections. Read more about some of the fires and floods that have struck NZ libraries.
Read the full piece at NZ History Online.
My thanks to historian/author Gavin McLean for making this material available to Beattie's Book Blog.

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