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National Library Bill Will Secure And Protect

3 May 2002

National Library Bill Will Secure And Protect Current And Future Collections And Services

The Friends of the Turnbull Library welcome the National Library Bill now before Parliament for its first reading (subs 3 May).

Mrs Rachel Underwood, president of the Friends of the Turnbull Library, said her oranisation affirmed its general support for the Bill and recognized the leadership of the Minister, the Hon Marian Hobbs in its development.

"We will certainly make submissions to the Select Committee on some important details but overall we consider this Bill largely satisfies the general principles we have developed," she said.

The Friends support Part 2 of the Bill, concerning the Alexander Turnbull Library because it:

* Sets out to clarify its relationship with the National Library.

* Recognises the Alexander Turnbull Library.

* Confirms the position of Chief Librarian.

* Provides for development of the research collections and for services.

* Ensures that the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library are held in perpetuity.

* Establishes Guardians of the Turnbull Library who must have the means to maintain the identity and status of its collections and the character of its services as a research library.

Mrs Underwood said that when passed, the Act will significantly increase public confidence in the security of the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

"It will give assurance to those who will be donors in the future of the safety of the collections. This is an issue of critical importance because a large part of the Turnbull Library's cultural heritage collections is gained by donation," she said.

The Friends also welcome the provision of new policy to

* Address Maori interests in the National Library, (affirming development made).

* Update the requirements for legal deposit making important provision for archiving electronic publications.

* Clarify the status of oral history under the Official Information Act 1982.

In addition the National Library has an important leadership role, with the setting up of the new Library and Information Advisory Commission and other advisory bodies.

The Friends of the Turnbull began a drive for a revision of the National Library Act when the 1998 restructuring threatened the identity, the reputation and the services of the Alexander Turnbull Library as a world renowned research library.

"We have worked solidly for the last four years for legislation to give this national research library greater protection. The Bill is a strong affirmation of the long history of the support of the Friends for the Alexander Turnbull Library.

"We urge all political parties to vote for the Bill to give a sound basis for the future of the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library," said Mrs Underwood.


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