The 600,000 book cull

David Larsen writes:

So apparently, in order to “manage” their overseas collection – which consists of all the books they hold published anywhere on Earth except New Zealand – the library is proposing to … get rid of their overseas collection. That’s management with teeth. If DOC took this approach to managing the country’s conservation estate, it would save the government a great deal of expense; also, kiwi and kakapo would be extinct. The library’s cull process is under way now, and is intended to be complete by the end of this year. 

No one actually knows how many books, newspapers, pamphlets, magazines, letters, e-documents, and other things loosely definable as “publications” the National Library has. Cataloguing of the older material is often imprecise; but the number is well up in the millions. The Overseas Published Collections comprise only a small fraction of this, totalling about 710,000 items, of which the library wishes to dispense with roughly 625,000 (the remainder having been identified as high value).

There’s many things I don’t like paying taxes for. But the National Library isn’t one of them. I’d much rather the Government increased the funding for the National Library than have them destroy 600,000 books.

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