The National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) Act 2003 requires that the Alexander Turnbull Library should be administered 'To preserve, protect, develop and make accessible for all the people of New Zealand the collections of that library in perpetuity and in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga.'
The Preservation Policy contains five guiding principles used to develop other policies and programmes so the Library can fulfil this obligation:
- Access should never compromise the preservation of an object requiring permanent preservation.
- The observance of the appropriate tikanga is essential for the preservation of collections.
- Preservation requires a constant respect for the integrity of the original object.
- Preservation recognises the full range of aesthetic, historical, technological, scientific, social, spiritual and other values for future, present and past generations.
- Preservation requires the achievement of basic standards of preventive care for all collections to minimise damage and deterioration.
- Any remedial treatment, alterations and/or additions to an original object must be documented and identifiable, and should be as minimal and reversible as possible.
Two additional documents are used to implement the Preservation Policy.
The Conservation Guidelines provide a framework and standards for programmes and projects to preserve Library documentary heritage collections, and make sure they are accessible to New Zealanders in the future as well as today.
The Copying Guidelines provide a framework and standards for the copying of the Library documentary heritage collections for both access and preservation. These guidelines ensure that copying projects and services are efficient, but also do not damage collections so they are preserved for future New Zealanders to see.