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Children's Books Donated To University Library

25 July 2000

CHILDREN'S BOOKS DONATED TO UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

Some 1200 children's books belonging to author and reviewer Betty Gilderdale have been donated to the University of Auckland Library.

The Gilderdale Collection, as it is known, consists of books for children by New Zealand writers. The majority were published between 1976 and 1998 but there are many from earlier years.

It has been housed in a special room in the library's English section on the fifth floor. It will be officially opened at a brief ceremony today at 3.15pm in the sixth floor seminar room.

The collection will be available for research purposes by staff, students and the public.

Mrs Gilderdale acquired the books as a reviewer for 25 years and when compiling her 1982 history of New Zealand junior fiction called A Sea Change. She also wrote the children's literature section of The Oxford History of New Zealand Literature first published in 1991.

She came across numerous out of print, little-known books in second-hand bookshops. When searching in libraries she was shocked to learn that many older books had been pulped.

"A country needs to know its past and preserve its best books," says Mrs Gilderdale.

"New Zealand has been very cavalier about keeping alive its literary heritage. The prevailing philosophy is that the only books which matter are those currently in print."

Another incentive for presenting the collection was that her house in Campbells Bay was "groaning from the weight of all these books".

Mrs Gilderdale hopes that her collection will prove a useful resource for researchers and raise awareness of the wealth of homegrown literature which has shaped children's imaginations.

"The collection is valuable also for the way it charts changing social mores — and the different styles of illustration which have emerged down the years."


MRS GILDERDALE CAN BE CONTACTED ON PHONE 478-7843.


Bill Williams
Public Relations Officer
Phone 373-7599 ext 7698

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