It was announced, or was it rumoured but not denied, earlier on in the week that the National Library and Archives New Zealand were possibly to be taken into the Department of Internal Affairs, and not have there own stand alone agencies. I have been waiting for more details to come out on this, but alas I have seen nothing. While on one hand I can see the economic sense in bringing them in house to one administrative department, I also can see philosophical and technical difficulties that would need to be overcome.
I was glad then to see LIANZA putting out the following press release. I too am concerned over lack of consultation, or any sort of documentation. Are we chasing at windmills or is this a serious proposal?
The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA), is concerned there has been no detailed information released to date about the Government proposal to merge the National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand within the Department of Internal Affairs.
Libraries adhere to the general principle of Freedom of Information whereas the Department of Internal Affairs has a censorship role which could potentially result in a conflict.
The National Library enriches the cultural and economic life of New Zealanders by supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries across the country. The National Library allows New Zealanders to be connected with information through the protection of New Zealand’s documentary heritage, ensuring that access to information is facilitated and that New Zealanders are skilful and confident in using information.
LIANZA fears that a merger could compromise the vision and core services of the National Library and this could ultimately decrease literacy skills in New Zealand.
The National Library provides national frameworks, knowledge systems and professional guidance to all New Zealand libraries and is a key partner in ensuring effective collaboration with others in the cultural and education sectors. It also enjoys an international reputation as an innovative leader in regard to preservation and access to culture and heritage.
LIANZA and the National Library have a very long working relationship; the Association played a strong advocacy role by lobbying government between 1911 and 1945 which resulted in the establishment of the National Library.
LIANZA would expect that any structural changes made would enhance rather than detract from the many services provided by the National Library and enjoyed by New Zealanders today.
As a key stakeholder LIANZA has a lot to contribute and would appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the wider consultation process.