Sigh. Jim Traue weighs in on THAT merger. There are a number of aspects of his opinion piece that I can agree with, and there are a number of aspects of that I disagree with. I am however finding it difficult to formulate a proper response, because it has got me angry.
Why am I an angry? Because, and I may be wrong in my reading, I found the article insulting to the dedicated professionals that work at both the National Library and Archives New Zealand. A great swath of the hyperbole seems to be based on the assumption that the Librarians and Archivists working in those institutions would somehow view the treasures entrusted to them with less care than they do now.
Quite frankly Jim owes a lot of people an apology after that.
Plan to integrate collections is dangerous nonsense [Otago Daily Times]
The Government plans to merge the National Library and Archives New Zealand into the Department of Internal Affairs. Jim Traue has serious reservations.
John Milton’s body will spin in its grave on the other side of the world when his spirit receives the message that Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, his other poems and political pamphlets, including his classic defence of freedom of expression, highlights of the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, are now all equated by Her Majesty’s Government in New Zealand with the registers of births, deaths and marriages in the Department of Internal Affairs.
It’s enough to make the man a raving republican.
The Maori Party, the Iwi Leaders Group and Maori voters will be incandescent when they discover that their taonga held by the Turnbull, its collections of Maori language books, periodicals, newspapers and manuscripts, now have the same mana as the electoral rolls.
Thousands of sons and daughters who have entrusted private family letters, diaries and photographs to the Turnbull because they trusted the library to preserve them and ensure they would be used with proper sensitivity will be ropable that they are now classified as “civic information” on a par with the census records gathered by Statistics New Zealand.
Katherine Mansfield will be very bitchy at the thought that the manuscripts of her short stories, poems, letters and diaries are just like passport documentation.
Susan Price and Dorothy Neal White will be flabbergasted that their fine libraries of children’s books, highlights of the National Library’s research collections, are “civic information”, lumped in with the records of naturalisation, gambling, lottery grants and film censorship.
Charles Heaphy VC will be appropriately heroic when he learns that his paintings and drawings of early New Zealand are equivalent to the land registration records held by Land Information New Zealand.