Thursday, February 26, 2009

Opening up the National Library of New Zealand

This from the excellent Auckland City Libraries website:

There was an article today in the New Zealand Herald about the new National Library building in Wellington.

The opening up of the National Library's collections is a good idea. Our national treasure house for documentary heritage includes the Alexander Turnbull Library's unique collections of New Zealand's heritage material, which is largely inaccessible in a building designed in the 1970s and not completed until 1987 - it was already out-of-date when it was opened and certainly cannot accommodate the customer needs of today's generations of enthusiastic users, researchers, learners and library staff. New Zealanders and tourists alike love to see and experience their and our heritage - it is difficult to see how this can be expanded in the current building which has awkward public spaces and which has already run out of storage.

The reality is that now libraries have to deal with digital access, storage and preservation as well as the physical. These challenges cannot be met under existing circumstances. Our documentary heritage deserves to be showcased much more than it is, and this includes the unique collections also of national significance, particularly the Hocken collections at Otago University and Sir George Grey collections at Auckland City Libraries.

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