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The disposal of books by the National Library of New Zealand

Mary E Davenport made this Official Information request to Ministry of Education

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From: Mary E Davenport

Dear Ministry of Education,

I refer to recent articles by The Guardian, relating to the disposal of "overseas" books by our National Library of New Zealand.

I make this request under s12 of the Official Information Act 1982. I am a valid person pursuant to ss(1)(a) of the Act to make a request.

The Article

I refer to the article in The Guardian dated 11 September 2020. This sets out the National Library's position on the culling of 600,000 books currently held at the Library. The proposed culling of the library books includes 2,200 first editions, and an "overseas collection" including first edition of Richard Neville's "Play Power", and a 1912 Edition of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility", among other important collections.

The Library states that it's rationale is to cull the "foreign books" in order to make space for "New Zealand" works. The Library's head Librarian, Bill McNaught, suggests that there are 80-90,000 additional books to store per annum, and that the "overseas collection" would now "spark joy" in other places. Mr McNaught also sites the cost of holding such books as a reason for the cull.

Mr McNaught has appeared on a promotional video, undertaken by a wellington PR company, who's bill has been paid by the Department of Internal Affairs.

The Request

Please provide all relevant information relating to the decision-making process in this matter as follows:

1. All information held by the Ministry of Education, National Library of New Zealand, and Department of Internal Affairs relating to the proposal to cull the books, and the decision-making process undertaken by the National Library.

2. Please provide confirmation of the cost of the PR exercise including the payment of any invoices to Double Denim Agency.

3. Please provide a copy of any/all Costs and Benefit analysis undertaken by the NLNZ on the costs of holding the books, and prior to the decision being made by Mr McNaught.

4. Please provide any reports/file notes/meeting records or emails between NLNZ (including from and to Mr McNaught, but not limited to Mr McNaught) /Ministry of Education/Department of Internal Affairs/ Minister/ Double Denim Agency and with any relevant Minister including Tracey Martin, and Chris Hipkins, or any other relevant minister, demonstrating how the decision was made, and what information that decision was based on.

5. Copies of any sign-off of the proposal and the timeframe for the cull.

6. A list of all books removed, or to be removed from the Library, and a list of where these books have been removed to.

7. A list of any books removed and destroyed.

I look forward to your response in accordance with s15 of the Act, and in accordance with the timeframes set out at s15(1).

Yours faithfully,

Mary Davenport

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From: Enquiries National

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Ngā mihi, nā

Tīma Whakaui ā-Motu / Enquiries National Team

Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga / Ministry of Education

Mātauranga House
33 Bowen St, Wellington


[1]education.govt.nz    |  Follow us on Twitter: @EducationGovtNZ

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Mr Rodgers left an annotation ()

I'm not sure why you are asking the Ministry of Education when the National Library falls under the mantle of DIA. Your request will be delayed while they transfer it to DIA.

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From: Enquiries National

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Dear Mary Davenport

Thank you for your request for information below. The Ministry will
consider and respond to your request in accordance with the Official
Information Act 1982 (the Act).


The Act allows up to 20 working days for a response, making 9 October 2020
the latest date for our response to you.  If more than 20 working days are
needed due to the potential workload involved in answering your request,
we will notify you accordingly.


Please note, the Ministry may publicly release on our website the response
to your request five days after you have received it. Any personal
information will be removed.


In the interim, if you have any questions about your request, please email
[1][email address].





Enquiries National Team | Ministry of Education | TW
33 Bowen St, Wellington

[2]education.govt.nz  |  [3]Follow us on Twitter: @EducationGovtNZ
We get the job done  Ka oti i a mātou ngā mahi
We are respectful, we listen, we learn  He rōpū manaaki, he rōpū
whakarongo, he rōpū ako mātou
We back ourselves and others to win  Ka manawanui ki a mātou, me ētahi ake
kia wikitoria




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