A Stay of Execution: The National Library of New Zealand Caves to Authors

Well, well. Looks like Christmas has arrived early, with a victory over vandalism. You may recall this little furore about the future of the National Library of New Zealand’s Overseas Published Collection:


Well, those outrageous plans to digitise and pirate copyrighted works have got enough negative attention that the Library has decided to back off. For now. This at least grants 400,000 books a stay of execution, and allows everyone else more time to knock some sense into these confounded management idiots.

The following was uploaded to the National Library’s website earlier today: https://natlib.govt.nz/about-us/strategy-and-policy/collections-policy/overseas-published-collection-management

Latest update from Te Pouhuaki National Librarian

Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa National Library is reconsidering its plans for the Overseas Published Collections in light of concerns raised by the various interested parties, including issues associated with copyright. The National Library will not export any of the OPC until it has considered its options for the next steps. The National Library has listened to multiple views and worked hard to support New Zealanders’ ongoing access to books from the Overseas Published Collections.

We are aiming to balance our duty to all New Zealanders with the concerns of our valued book sector colleagues and will continue to build relationships with them. It is part of the National Library’s mission to remove barriers to knowledge, ensure New Zealanders have the skills to create knowledge and preserve knowledge for future generations. We are taking some time to look at all available options that align with our collection plans, while preserving author and publisher interests.

When the project first began mid-2018 it appeared likely that books remaining at the end of the project would face secure destruction. The National Library continues to work to avoid this outcome. Books from the Overseas Published Collections that fit within the National Library’s collecting priorities, as set out in the 2015 Collections Policy and Collecting Plan, have been identified by skilled library staff and will be retained by the National Library.

The Overseas Published Collections are from the National Library General Collections. No items from the Alexander Turnbull collections or New Zealand publications are part of this project. The Alexander Turnbull Library Collections, which continue to grow, are held as a separate collection in perpetuity.

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