International Interloans at 14 New Zealand public libraries

By Michael Pringle 30 November 2020

The National Library on their website states that, due to the loss of international books from the National Library, “independent researchers can request books through their local public library”. 

We put this to the test, whether in fact it is possible to interloan books internationally from libraries in major centres around New Zealand.

With the assistance of a volunteer we surveyed public libraries in 14 major centres as to their policies on obtaining interloans from overseas and the costs of doing so.

Here are the results. In a number of cases libraries said they are not doing any international interloans because of the Covid situation.

Auckland Libraries: at least $25 per item

Rotorua: Generally does not do international interloans, but might consider it

Will not arrange international interloans

Tauranga: might consider it, on a case by case basis, will get a quote and then advise the customer

Napier: From Australia only, cost $29 per book

New Plymouth: Will not arrange international interloans

Whanganui: Will not arrange international interloans

Palmerston North: Will not arrange international interloans

Wellington: $30 per book, could be more, depending on from where.

Nelson: case by case basis. Cited recent quote of $150 (one-way only) to interloan one book from the US

Christchurch: yes, but on a cost recovery basis. Cost in the region of $20 to $60 per book, could be more.

Timaru: Will not do international interloans

Dunedin: From Australia only, cost $29 per book

Invercargill: Can do, but very expensive due to postage and customs fees being paid in US dollars. Tries to get items from NZ universities.

It is very evident from this survey that citizens in several centres are disadvantaged in not being able to interloan at all. Also that costs are prohibitive where this is theoretically possible.

Not factored in here is the time it takes for a book to arrive from an overseas library to New Zealand, which can be considerable. New Zealanders should not have to pay again for books that they already own in our National Library.

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