At the end of November 2022 Book Guardians Aotearoa (BGA) wrote an Open Letter to the National Librarian of New Zealand setting out what we believe needs to happen to improve the National Library’s current collection and disposal policies.

On 16 January 2023 the National Librarian responded with her own letter, which we have published below, with BGA’s response. We are pleased that the National Library has now set up a proper consultation process for disposal and removal, and that consultation will extend beyond the narrow circle of the library profession. It is worth noting that the statement in Ms Esson’s letter that the “consultation” in 2015 was extensive is simply not correct, in fact it was quite narrowly defined to other libraries, and we have evidence that the “consultation” was in some cases perfunctory – such as at CONZUL. Official Information Act releases have confirmed just what the “consultation” consisted of, and it did not meet the accepted definition of consultation. Therefore it is good now that consultation, including for the first time with the users of the Library, has actually commenced.

BGA appreciates the opportunity to meet with the National Library Director of Content Services to convey our concerns and aspirations, and we encourage anyone else who represents a group of library users to also make contact with the Director and ask for a meeting.

Book Guardians responded to the above letter from the National Librarian with the following:

Kia ora Ms Esson

Thank you for your 16 January 2023 reply to the Book Guardians Aotearoa (BGA) open letter to you of 27 November 2022. We appreciate you releasing the letter and hope that this policy of openness will continue in future. We will be publishing both your response and this letter on our website.

We are very pleased that a proper process for wider consultation with current and potential usersof the National Library collections has finally been established. We look forward to meeting with the Director of Content Services in the near future, and discussing this and related matters with him. We are hopeful that this new process of wider consultation will lead to much stronger collection and retention policies for the National Library, as well as more appropriate and nuanced removal and disposal policies.

Nga mihi

Dr Christine Dann (for BGA)

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