The University of Auckland is closing down the Fine Arts Library, help us to save it!

Please read the University’s Libraries Review and Proposal, and send your feedback to:, or through our submission tab.


13 thoughts on “The University of Auckland is closing down the Fine Arts Library, help us to save it!

  1. I’ve posted proposal on facebook for everyone to write to Minister of Arts [Ardern] & Minister of Education [C Perkins] to intervene at Council level to stop the plan or at least to delay discussion until after the Minister of Education has completed his review of NZ Education. I’ve suggested a letter along these lines.
    1. The absorption of Arts Libraries into the Main Library will scatter & disperse the collections & lead to many books & periodicals going into store off-campus. This will hamper and even disable teaching & learning in Fine Arts & theory & history. This will in turn seriously damage teaching of Fine Arts throughout public education in New Zealand. Once dispersed it will be almost impossible to reassemble these libraries. Thier colletions include archival documents and other informationn materials. & The Music Library is made up not only of books but of a large collection of music scores of the music of the past 600 years.
    2. Ask the Ministers to intervene.
    3. The Minister of Education has two representatives in the Majority on Council – in which Academics are in a Minority. Ask the Minister to seek to abandon the plan or at least to delay discussion of it until after his review of Education has been completed. ——-
    I intend to make this the basis of my letters to the Ministers. — Notes:
    1. It might make people feel good to abuse the V-C, but that will probably increase his resolve to continue to wreck Arts teaching in what was once a flourishing university. —-
    2. The arguments for keeping the libraries as they are does not take much explaining or defending in principle. What does need addressing is the financial prioritising of what used to be Commercial Coillege Technical school subjects like Management Accountancy – & the like – for sale to overseas students — over critical & philosphical teaching in the practice & criticism & history of Arts & Humanities, along with Maths & Pure Science. These are core subjects of education for citizens in a

    1. Having attended Elam School of Fine Arts I can attest to the necessity of close at hand visual and academic material for the furtherment of students study, ideas and development
      Apart from this, access to literature in book form should be the right of every student and to me this looks like outright appropriation of valuable literature ( a form of wealth and an asset) for its transport to parts unknown and the planned impoverishment and denial of New Zealand students.It is quite simply and outrageous and unacceptable action.

  2. A University owes it to the public and it’s students to have a repository of accessible information, the breadth and depth of which determined by the integrity of its educators and needs of students. A university should set the bar, it should be eclectic, open and available. To shut down or close off information at this level shows an appalling lack of insight and integrity from a group of people who should be innovators of thought and learning. Shame on you!

  3. Research is fundamental to an informed art practice. The information found in art books and magazines is often found nowhere else. The knowledge of specialist librarians is a treasure we must not loose. Not everything is found online and some of us love to sit in a library and trawl through the shelves. Do not close the Arts Library.

  4. As a graduate of Elam (MFA 1975) and Auckland university, former student employee of the Fine Arts Library ( shelving and front desk), I’m appalled at the decision to close the libraries of fine arts and music. As a professor of art at NSCAD U for 35 years and the author of many books and catalogues, I know how important the library reference archives, on line novanet and visual resources collections are for advanced research and fine arts craft & design education on a continuing basis, not to mention an important focus for community relations. The NSCAD library together with the university galleries and the new learning commons are primary spaces of education for all of our undergraduate and graduate programs. I urge the reversal of this shortsighted decision. There are always more creative solutions to sustainability issues than firing library staff, shredding and/or burning books!

  5. I was fortunate to have access to (and also work in part-time while studying) the superlative Elam Fine Arts Library where I learnt and discovered as much as I did from formal teaching. The BFA and MFA I gained there in the mid to late 70s were built on and inspired by that rich resource of knowledge and publication through which I have gained work in teaching, writing, curating and galleries ever since. It fills me with deep dismay to think that future generations of students will be denied this same intellectual and imaginative resource which will feed them ongojng in whatever field their development takes them – this is a terrible reversion and diminution to the importance of developing critical and creative thinking at a time when we need it more than ever, in the constraints of our current economic and political climate

  6. Thanks labour government great move NOT Unbelievable that a modern government can think the intelligent learned wonderful creative minds of our youth don’t need this amazing facility is not surprising but a real loss to creative NZ ers I guess the people who Jacinda hands money out to willy Nilly don’t need this library An amazing creative heritage abandoned is a crime

    1. These reviews were underway months before the change of Government – if anything it’s the fiscal policy pursued by the previous Government (9 years of it) that has had the bigger influence on the current situation.

  7. If this were the law library would the University be suggesting closing it ? Has anyone mentioned what will be happening to the books after the library is closed?

    1. Don’t worry – the law library is under attack too. Along with the law school being the victim of the VC’s high handed and autocratic decision-making at the expense of student experience and the future of education. We are very used to this sort of arrogance and intellectual bankruptcy from the VC.

  8. This library is a resource we artists need to know we can keep returning too. It would be great to see it cemented and retained for all our continuing use. In a way it belongs to the wider community and is a vital element in breathing new and old ideas into the cultural scene of our city. Keep the Library!

  9. Who ever decided to close down the Fine Arts Library has no idea what it means to be an artist. They have no idea how special and important this library is. The Elam library needs to be at Elam! I got so much inspiration from the Fine Arts Library. From having all the art books in one place, having them in the environment where we make art, the inspirational feeling & atmosphere, and it is the only place that brings together all the individual Fine Arts students. I wrote many film scripts in the library, and still visit it twenty years later. In 1997 I asked an Elam student in the library if she wanted to act in one of my films. She said ‘maybe’ and we have been making art together for the last 18 years. Next year, will we have to fight against Albert Park being turned into a car park ? I won’t be surprised. Please stop wasting our time and let the Fine Arts remain for many more generations to benefit from. -Florian Habicht, 1998 Elam Graduate. Director of films Kaikohe Demoltion, Land of the Long White Cloud, Pulp: a Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets, Spookers, Rubbings from a Live Man and Woodenhead.

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