Feature Image: Caring for your collections

Caring for your collections

At the National Library we are responsible for the care and preservation of many of New Zealand’s most important books, archives, photographs, sound recordings and art works. There are many things that can be done to preserve your own precious items.

National Preservation Office

We can help you to care for your own collections, whether they are kept in your home or a marae, library, museum or archive. Our National Preservation Office was established to provide advice and assistance to those who hold heritage items of significance to all New Zealanders.

Email the NPO: preservation@dia.govt.nz

Postal address: National Preservation Office, National Library of New Zealand, PO Box 12349, Wellington 6144

Disaster recovery

When disaster strikes, act quickly to seek help with the recovery of damaged material.

Get guidance on dealing with floods, fire, and more


We offer workshops and seminars on preservation and conservation. Contact us to discuss having a session at your library, museum, archive, or community group.

Getting started with the New Zealand Conservators of Cultural Materials

Before you get started on a conservation project, we recommend visiting the NZCCM, which sets ethical and professional guidelines for conservators. They also provide a directory of professional conservators around the country, listed by location and area of specialisation.

Visit the NZCCM site

More help

Get more advice from institutions with expertise.

More Caring for collections guides

Photographs — A guide to handling, storing, and displaying photographs safely to ensure they last as long as possible.

Books — Careful handling and proper storage can extend the life of your books, whether they are family heirlooms or modern publications.

Artworks on paper —A guide to caring for works of art on paper, including watercolours, pencil sketches, etchings, and lithographs.

Family collections — Family collections often consist of precious but fragile items: letters, newspaper collections, certificates and scrapbooks. This guide gives advice on protecting these collections.

Marae photographs — A guide to handling, storing, and displaying photographs around your marae.

Digital images — Some tips for extending the life of your digital photographs.

Digital collections — Digital preservation guide to support iwi, community archives and organisations to manage their digital heritage material so it will be accessible in the future.

Sound recordings — Sound recordings are easily damaged, but by taking precautions you can extend their lifetime.

Digitisation of heritage audio collections — You may want to digitise your audio collections to make them more accessible, but it’s also an essential step in preserving that material for the future.

Funding agencies — There are a number of opportunities available to museums, libraries or archives wishing to undertake preservation projects.