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National Library of NZ

Mary E Davenport made this Official Information request to Department of Internal Affairs

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From: Mary E Davenport

Dear Department of Internal Affairs,

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 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) Department of Internal Affairs/ Minister/ Double Denim Agency and with any relevant Minister including Tracey Martin, 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 E Davenport

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From: OIA
Department of Internal Affairs

Tçnâ koe Mary,

Thank you for your OIA request to the Department of Internal Affairs (included with this email)

The Department will provide its response to your request as soon as practicable and within twenty working days.  The 20th working day is 12 October 2020

Please note that in cases where the Department’s response provides information that is identified to be of general public interest, the response may also be published on the Department of Internal Affairs website.  If the Department publishes its response to your OIA request, all personal information, including your name and contact details, will be removed.

Ngâ mihi

Michelle Reed | Lead Advisor – Official Correspondence 
Te Urungi - Organisational Strategy and Performance
Te Tari Taiwhenua - The Department of Internal Affairs
45 Pipitea St | PO Box 805, Wellington 6140, New Zealand |  www.dia.govt.nz

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From: Heather Mathie
Department of Internal Affairs

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Attachment Official Information Act 1982 Request 2021 0163 Extension.pdf
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Dear Ms Davenport,


Please find attached a letter regarding an extension to your OIA request
of 12 September 2020.


Kind regards,



Heather Mathie | Business Advisor  Office of the National Librarian
National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa







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