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Electronic Publishing To Be Captured By Bill

New legislation will see web sites, CD-ROMs and other electronic publications forming a stronger part of the collections held in the National Library as a record of New Zealand’s heritage.

Currently, New Zealand publishers are required to provide copies of books to the National Library. Under the National Library Bill introduced today, anyone publishing material electronically in New Zealand may be asked to provide a copy to the Library. The Bill allows for publishers' commercial interests to be protected.

The Minister Responsible for the National Library, Marian Hobbs, said the Library’s role is to collect and preserve our heritage so that New Zealanders can make use of it.

"Increasingly, information is being published only electronically and for a short time, such as on web sites," Marian Hobbs said. "This material is just as important as books in recording New Zealand’s heritage."

The move is in line with international guidelines and reflects similar legislative changes underway overseas, including South Africa, France, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom.

The National Library Bill also ensures the future security and status of the Alexander Turnbull Library. It confirms that the Crown will hold the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library forever and that the Turnbull Library will remain part of the National Library.

Marian Hobbs said the Bill acknowledges the security and status of the Alexander Turnbull Library by defining its purpose and confirming the Crown's undertakings to preserve, protect, develop and make accessible the collections and services of the Alexander Turnbull Library forever.

"As MP for Wellington Central and the National Library Minister I am thrilled that the hard work of all those associated with the library community has got us to this point," Marian Hobbs said. "Labour came to power promising both to secure Turnbull's unique status and to support the National Library as an institution of primary significance in New Zealand's creative economy."

The Bill provides for a stronger Mäori dimension to the work of the National Library. It affirms the status of the material held by the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library as taonga for all the people of New Zealand.

The Bill clarifies the role of the National Library by providing for it to work alongside organisations with related aims such as museums and archives as well as with other libraries.

Under the Bill, the Trustees of the National Library are replaced by two new groups. One body, to be called the Guardians of the Alexander Turnbull Library, will assume the functions of the Trustees that relate to the Alexander Turnbull Library. This will include providing advice to the Minister, and also provide assurance to the people of New Zealand that the Turnbull Library collections will be kept forever.

The Bill also establishes a Library and Information Commission. This will be a ministerial advisory body that will work across the library and information sector on issues including access to library and information services and developments in the role of library and information services in New Zealand's cultural and economic life.

The new body will support cross-sectoral collaboration and efficiency in protecting, preserving and promoting access to information, including documentary heritage and mätauranga Mäori (Mäori knowledge).

The Bill proposes an amendment to the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) to address a conflict regarding the oral histories commissioned by or provided to the National Library. Up to now, for example, the personal reminiscences of present and former ministers held in the Alexander Turnbull Library have technically been within the scope of the OIA. This meant that the library could not guarantee that it could honour any limitations the donors placed on public access to the material, such as preventing its use until after the donors’ death. The Bill removes this anomaly and puts these oral histories outside the scope of the OIA.


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