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National Library sell-off breaches the law

Labour
2000 web siteLabour MP Marian Hobbs believes that National Library Minister Nick Smith has breached the National Library Act by not approving the sale of 32,000 books from the library to an Auckland second-hand book seller.

Marian Hobbs said the Act made it clear that any sale had to be approved by the Minister yet Mr Smith said in Parliament that his approval was not needed.

"Instead he is hiding behind the 'collections policy' of the library. Yet surely, in the case of a sale of this magnitude, the Minister should be taking his responsibilities under the Act a bit more seriously than he is," Marian Hobbs said.

"Labour strongly opposes the depreciation of National Library stock and believes that the collection policy that the Minister is using to defend the sale should be changed.

"Currently it disregards books that are not New Zealand or Pacific books and ignores the heritage of all New Zealanders who have ancestry from outside of these regions. It also dictates that if a book has not been borrowed in ten years, it is not worth keeping. But this is a research library, not a populist library where the public can walk in off the street and borrow something. Just because a book is not hugely popular does not mean it is worthless and should be hocked off.

"The selling off of collections that have been built up over decades must stop.

"Of particular concern is the news that up to 100,000 more books are packed up in the basement of the library ready to be sold.

"Labour will continue to raise this issue with the Minister," Marian Hobbs said.

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