The Book Guardians note the irony of the National Library asking for a copy of the Book Guardians Aotearoa poster for a collection which lacks a curator!

To Bill Direen and Phantom Billstickers – a huge thank you and cheers for donating your time, skills, materials and effort to designing, printing and putting up the magnificent Save Our Treasured Overseas Collections posters which were displayed in central Wellington in late March and early April.

They looked great – see the photos. They made a statement which resonated for just over a fortnight on the walls of Wellington – and now they are gone forever? Well no, not if we had a functional library devoted to collecting and preserving ephemera – the posters, fliers and other publications which are here for a good time but not a long time.

Poster outside Te Papa, Wellington

New Zealand does – theoretically – have such a library, the Alexander Turnbull Library (ATL).

That library does (or did) collect such ephemera. But the post of the librarian in charge of the Ephemera collection has been vacant for six months, ever since the previous incumbent left the position.

Book Guardians Aotearoa knows that there are other people qualified to do the job, so we can only assume that the position remains unfilled because of the vicious cost-cutting policy of the Department of Internal Affairs, which has been imposing a suffocating sinking lid on the ATL and its sister library, the National Library, ever since it was given control of them in 2010.

How ironic, then, that someone working in the National Library asked BGA for a copy of the Save Our Treasured Overseas Collections poster to add to the the ATL’s Ephemera Collection! Of course, if any poster deserves to be in that collection (preferably displayed at the entrance to the library) it is this one.

But until the Department of Internal Affairs stops squeezing the libraries it manages dry, and the Ephemera librarian’s post is filled by a suitably qualified person, we will be keeping our spare copy in a really safe place.

At Wellington railway subway

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