Overseas published collections — collection management project

Read about what we are doing to make room for New Zealand, Māori and Pacific stories at the National Library.

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What we are doing with the overseas published collections

We plan to rehome some of our overseas published collections. This is so we can make room to grow our Māori, Pacific and New Zealand collections and we can continue to build well-managed coherent collections that support the National Library’s functions.

More information about what we are doing.

No items from the Alexander Turnbull collections affected

The items being considered for rehoming are from the National Library General Collections. No items from the Alexander Turnbull collections will be part of this initiative.

The research strength of the National Library lies in the Alexander Turnbull Library which holds an outstanding research collection of published and unpublished New Zealand resources, together with collections of international renown based on the original collecting interests of Alexander Turnbull in areas including rare books, John Milton and voyages of discovery.

The Alexander Turnbull Library collections are held as a separate collection in perpetuity.

Response to initial book lists

Since publishing our initial book lists we have received requests from more than 20 different organisations and libraries which include public and specialist libraries. As a result, these books will be retained in the New Zealand library network. We have received orders from prison libraries throughout the country.

Our research specialists will keep reviewing titles from the next lists of Overseas Published Collections (OPC) to identify books for retention that support the collection strengths of the National Library. We’ll continue to publish book lists so that you can check for titles for your library collections.

We are working with Rotary and Lions who have taken the remaining books from the first lists for book fairs they hope to run in October this year.

When we undertook this project, we anticipated a low demand for these books and thought secure destruction might be the likely outcome.

We’re delighted that since releasing the lists to libraries first and then government and third-party organisations we’ve had a more positive interest in this collection than expected and more options to rehome these books. Rehoming rather than secure destruction is now the most likely outcome.

National Library makes more room for New Zealand and Pacific stories — Media release

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What are the overseas published collections?

The Overseas Published Collections is not one single collection but is made up of an assortment of books pulled from different libraries since 1939 – within New Zealand and overseas. These books haven’t been carefully curated for any purpose and approximately 80% of them have not been issued for 20 to 30 years.

Local supply from well-stocked libraries, new offerings of large back-catalogues of e-books and audiobooks for the New Zealand reading public have largely replaced the need for some of our overseas published books.

Overseas published collections — future collecting

We are not rehoming all of the overseas published material. The National Library collections still contain books published overseas. We are committed to ensuring that New Zealanders can access the books that are relevant and of interest to them.

That means a portion of our collection will always be made up of overseas published material. We continue to buy overseas books to provide the lending collection that New Zealanders need. This is especially important given the work with schools on the value and contribution of print collections (both New Zealand and overseas) for reading engagement and literacy of young people.

The National Library acquires between 80,000 to 90,000 electronic and print publications a year that consist of New Zealand, Pacific and overseas material.

The areas of the overseas published collection we will retain are:

  • library and information science
  • music
  • reference works
  • children’s literature
  • family history, and
  • print disabilities.

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Collections policy and collection plans

Our collection needs to work for New Zealanders. A significant part of our role as stewards of Aotearoa’s documentary heritage is to preserve the memory of New Zealand and our place in the Pacific. No other library in the world is going to collect and preserve our stories, that's our job.

We manage our collections in line with our Collections Policy and collection plans. The National Library still collect overseas published material but the National Library’s collections policy puts a focus on collecting New Zealand and Pacific material.

We have consulted about our Collections Policy with a wide-range of stakeholders, with librarians and interest groups. They agree we should be focussing our resource on safeguarding Pacific, Māori and New Zealand content for future generations. We need to make sure we have the right collection for us.

The National Library’s role is to develop, grow and build well-managed collections that are relevant to most of the people they serve.

National Library of New Zealand Collections Policy

Take a tour into the National Library basement

Take a tour with Bill Macnaught and Stevie Davis Tana into the National Library basement and hear about what we are doing to make room for New Zealand, Māori and Pacific stories.

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQtj-hBU1W4
  • Transcript

    Visual

    Stevie Davis-Tana (Youth worker and spoken word poet) in the main entrance of the National Library in Wellington.

    Audio

    Stevie: Kia ora my name is Stevie I am here in Wellington today to meet with Bill who is the National Librarian.


    Visual

    Images of the outside of the National Library building.

    Audio

    Stevie:And he has a really cool project to show me down in the basemen here at the National Library


    Visual

    Stevie meeting Bill in the foyer of the National Library.

    Audio

    Bill: Kia ora Stevie, welcome to the National Library. Kia ora Bill. Come with me.


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill observing the basement full of bookshelves full of books. .

    Audio

    Stevie: Wow there are so many books down here.


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement.

    Audio

    Bill: We’ve got millions of books here in the National Library.


    Visual

    Shots of the aisles and aisles of books in the library.

    Audio

    Bill: We are looking to re home some of our overseas published collections that we have here. What’s the deal?


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement.

    Audio

    Bill: Well most of them have not been borrowed for the last 20 years.


    Visual

    Images of different books on alibrary trolley.

    Audio

    Bill: Some of them 30 years since they’ve been out.


    Visual

    A person looking at an issued stamp on a library book.

    Audio

    Bill: No other library outside of New Zealand.


    Visual

    Lamson telelift in the basement delivering books

    Audio

    Bill: Is going to collect all the stories of New Zealand.


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement

    Audio

    Bill: That’s our job in the National Library we are going to make more room,


    Visual

    Library staff member moving the aisles of books with a rotating wheel and observing books.

    Audio

    Bill: for the New Zealand, Māori and Pacific collection.
    Stevie: What kinds of homes are they going to?


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement

    Audio

    Bill : We’ve offered them to all the libraries across New Zealand if they want to have them that’s great.


    Visual

    Staff members packing books in basement

    Audio

    Bill: After that we are offering them to rotary, lions and other community groups.


    Visual

    Staff member moving a trolley filled with books in the basement.

    Audio

    Bill: For them to put into their book sales.


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement

    Audio

    Stevie:So if someone sees one of the books, they haven’t been nicked?
    Bill: Not at all we are looking to re home so they might spark joy in somebody else’s life


    Visual

    “We’re making room to grow the New Zealand and Pacific collection. Thank you for your support.”

    Audio

    Music plays

  • Transcript

    Visual

    Stevie Davis-Tana (Youth worker and spoken word poet) in the main entrance of the National Library in Wellington.

    Audio

    Stevie: Kia ora my name is Stevie I am here in Wellington today to meet with Bill who is the National Librarian.


    Visual

    Images of the outside of the National Library building.

    Audio

    Stevie:And he has a really cool project to show me down in the basemen here at the National Library


    Visual

    Stevie meeting Bill in the foyer of the National Library.

    Audio

    Bill: Kia ora Stevie, welcome to the National Library. Kia ora Bill. Come with me.


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill observing the basement full of bookshelves full of books. .

    Audio

    Stevie: Wow there are so many books down here.


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement.

    Audio

    Bill: We’ve got millions of books here in the National Library.


    Visual

    Shots of the aisles and aisles of books in the library.

    Audio

    Bill: We are looking to re home some of our overseas published collections that we have here. What’s the deal?


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement.

    Audio

    Bill: Well most of them have not been borrowed for the last 20 years.


    Visual

    Images of different books on alibrary trolley.

    Audio

    Bill: Some of them 30 years since they’ve been out.


    Visual

    A person looking at an issued stamp on a library book.

    Audio

    Bill: No other library outside of New Zealand.


    Visual

    Lamson telelift in the basement delivering books

    Audio

    Bill: Is going to collect all the stories of New Zealand.


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement

    Audio

    Bill: That’s our job in the National Library we are going to make more room,


    Visual

    Library staff member moving the aisles of books with a rotating wheel and observing books.

    Audio

    Bill: for the New Zealand, Māori and Pacific collection.
    Stevie: What kinds of homes are they going to?


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement

    Audio

    Bill : We’ve offered them to all the libraries across New Zealand if they want to have them that’s great.


    Visual

    Staff members packing books in basement

    Audio

    Bill: After that we are offering them to rotary, lions and other community groups.


    Visual

    Staff member moving a trolley filled with books in the basement.

    Audio

    Bill: For them to put into their book sales.


    Visual

    Stevie and Bill by the aisles of books in the library basement

    Audio

    Stevie:So if someone sees one of the books, they haven’t been nicked?
    Bill: Not at all we are looking to re home so they might spark joy in somebody else’s life


    Visual

    “We’re making room to grow the New Zealand and Pacific collection. Thank you for your support.”

    Audio

    Music plays

Principles for retention or deselection of the overseas published collections

The ‘Principles for retention or deselection of the overseas published collections’ document has been created to ensure that due diligence has been applied to the distribution of the overseas published collections.

The document provides visibility to National Library stakeholders and staff directly involved on the distribution/process work and any other interested parties, on the principles to be applied when distributing the overseas published collections.

As this collection has not been reviewed for many years, this exercise is a significant undertaking and principles have been developed to ensure that the publications that are out of scope for remaining in the collection are handled in an appropriate manner.

Principles for retention or deselection of the overseas published collections held by the National Library of New Zealand 2019 (pdf, 170KB)

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Register your interest

Libraries and organisations can register their interest in books from the latest lists. We will be prioritising requests from libraries first.

Have a look at the spreadsheets of available books, under the heading ‘Download the available book lists’. Copy and paste the books or section of the lists you're interested in and email opcmanagement@dia.govt.nz

Book lists available

We are releasing a further 70,000 titles from the overseas published collections. These latest lists are non-fiction books in the Dewey Decimal scheme range 600 (technology) to 900 (history and geography), plus a number of unclassified titles.

We have retained around 33,500 items from the overseas published collections so far.

If you see any titles you believe should be retained by the National Library that meet our Collections Policy let us know. We welcome feedback and input into this large project.

We are seeking expressions of interest for the next phase of rehoming the overseas published collections from libraries, government agencies and third-party organisations.

Download the available book lists

Expressions of interest for these non-fiction titles will close on 12 October 2020.

Previous book lists — these lists are closed

The first phase of rehoming books began late last year. The book lists for the first phase of this project were available on the website from October 2019 to August 2020.

Expressions of interest for these books have closed.

The book lists below are provided for information only as expressions of interest have closed for these books.

Thank you

Thank you for your feedback and participation in the first and second phases of our overseas published collections project. You have helped us to develop and refine our processes such as adjusting our timelines to allow more time for libraries, government agencies and community organisations to register their interest.

If you have any questions email us at opcmanagement@dia.govt.nz

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Page updated 9 September 2020