UPDATE (July 13): Official Statement: National Library of New Zealand Signs Historic Agreement with Internet Archive (via NLNZ)
The National Library will donate 600,000 books that it was planning to cull from its overseas collection to a United States-based internet archive that will make digital copies of the works freely available online.
National Librarian Rachel Esson announced the “historic” agreement on Monday, saying books left at the end of the library’s review process would be donated to the Internet Archive, a digital library with the self-stated mission of universal access to all knowledge.
“This is a great outcome for us,” Esson said.
The agreement comes after months of controversy and uncertainty regarding the cull of the books, mostly written by non-Kiwi authors.
The archive has agreed to pay for packaging, transport and digitisation costs, and the export had been signed off by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage under the Protected Objects Act.
Esson said the books, most of which are out of print and which have an average publication date of between 1965 and 1969, may see increased use once digitised. “Everyone wants the same thing – a strong library sector.”