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Te Puna Launches New Era For National Library

Education Minister Nick Smith today launched Te Puna, the National Library's new on-line information access system and announced that he had approved the National Library's restructuring plan.

"Te Puna is a break-through for users of the National Library. It means that Libraries, Universities and Polytechs, Research Institutions and Schools throughout New Zealand can have direct access to the huge range of resources that we have accumulated in our national collections. Already over 300 libraries have linked up with Te Puna, and that is just the beginning. It is proving to be fast, efficient and above all user friendly."

Te Puna replaces the old New Zealand Bibliographic Network which was cumbersome, could only be used by specially trained librarians, and was not Y2K compliant. The new system uses two off-the-shelf packages that are well understood and have been thoroughly proven overseas. Installed at a cost of $9.1 million, Te Puna is both on time and in budget.

"In parallel with the information technology changes, the National Library is going to go though a process of restructuring to get the right skills to make the best use of Te Puna and to ensure the Library lives within its budget."

The total staff of the library will reduce from 365 to 350 full time equivalents. The number of librarians increases from 123 to 128.5. The principle reductions in staff are in management and support roles.

"The National Library is an icon of New Zealand, but it must not become a fossil. To be a leading player in the knowledge based economy it must evolve and respond to the changing demands for information. There is no point collecting and storing information if the people who need it cannot have fast and effective access. Te Puna is a powerful tool which meets that requirement, and will be able to grow as the demand increases".

Te Puna is at the leading edge of a range of initiatives which the National Library is undertaking to enable it to be relevant in the new millennium. However, the traditional and fundamental roles of both the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library will not be in any way compromised by the improvements in the way the Library operates.

"Technology projects have come in for some criticism recently. Te Puna is a fine example of a well conceived and well managed project that meets and exceeds the requirements of it's users. It is proof that new technology can be effectively harnessed for everyone's good. Today's launch places our National Library at the forefront of library operations worldwide." ENDS

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