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Victoria University of Wellington. Library

 Fonds — Multiple Containers
Identifier: vlib

Scope and contents note

The Library archives held by the J C Beaglehole Room consist of accessions records up to the electronic era (c1987), records to do with operations and development, staff portraits and newsletters, and the papers of University Librarians.


  • 1907-

Conditions Governing Access note

Access with University Librarian's permission.

Conditions Governing Use note

Research and private study only. Not to be reproduced without prior written permission.

Biographical / Historical

University Librarians:

Rev. Horace Ward, 1910-1927

Harold Miller 1928-1966

John P. Sage 1966-1981

David M. Wylie 1981-1985

Victor G. Elliott 1986-1998

Alan Smith 1999-2003

Keith Webster 2004-2006

Helen Tait (Acting) 2006

Sue Roberts 2007-2012

Noelle Nelson 2012-2015

Janet Fletcher 2015-2022

Trish Wilson 2023-



College Library 'has its beginnings in the Girls' High School cupboards, a few donations and some modest purchases, the remains of the Provincial Council library'.
Grant of 100 pounds from the College Council
Library installed in the oriel-wondowed first floor room above the main entrance of the new building (now HU401?)... A student, H. D. Skinner . . . was appointed assistant custodian, and an annual Council grant of 200 pounds was instituted, soon augmented by a 300 pound bequest (from Mr Manson, of Palmerston North).
June 1910
Now with 7000 volumes, the Council appointed the college's first librarian, Reverend Horace Ward, who remained in this position until his retirement at the end of 1927.
Library moved into the new north wing of the central arts block (now the Hunter Building Council Chamber).
Harold Miller became Librarian
Harold Miller took up a Carnegie Corporation grant in 1931 (for $5000 a year for up to five years, for undergraduate books in the arts and sciences).
Harold Miller went to study library science at the University of Michigan
Annual expenditure 3300 pounds; staff 10; number of borrowers 1500.
Annual expenditure on the library 600 pounds; staff two; number of borrowers 400.
'comfortably the largest university library in the country'
Professorial portraits were installed; two further Carnegie grants received (in 1934 an art collection and a few years later a record collection); three new reading rooms were added and new shelving for 10,000 volumes.
New stack room provided
Second smallest University Library
Smallest of the four University Libraries
Application for a new library and arts building submitted; the library ... had swallowed five staff rooms and five classrooms but still the reading space was 'grossly inadequate', storage space 'desperate'.
New building aplication approved by UGC (the University Grants Committee)
Construction of new Library began
June 1966
A separate law library was left behind in the Hunter building.
Teaching and staff rooms took up the top four floors (History on Level 9; . . . ?); the Staff Club was located on the third floor.
Official opening (but photographs show it in use in 1965).
Library took over issuing student ID cards.
Library facing facing 'severe financial trauma' due to devaluation, inflation, and a reduction in its grant. 'Other factors putting the library under pressure - expansion of fields of study in the university, explosion in the amount of material to buy, changes in assessment and teaching styles in the 1970s, and increase in post-graduate and research work particularly in the social sciences and arts. Students used the library more, and used it more consistently through the year. (p. 122 Barrowman)
'Introduction to the Library' slide show with audio accompaniment is available at listening station on Level 2
Reductions in library opening hours brought protests from the Students' Association.
Victoria along with others began culling its periodical subscriptions in the mid-1970s.
McEldowney report identified the Library's strengths in history, political science, and classics
Labour Archives Trust established
Feb. 1975
J. C. Beaglehole Room officially opened
Work began on landscaping the quad
Collection valued
Joined the New Zealand Bibliographic Network (NZBN)
Enclosure of Level 3 balcony on western face.
Additional study rooms provided on Level 5 (making 10 in total). Periodical backruns moved into open access compact storage area on Level 0.
Major periodical cancellation exercise.
Library expanded into two further floors (6 and 8) of Rankine Brown; Law Library moved to Old Kirk together with Faculty of Law; Audiovisual Suite, UN Documents Collection, Systems Librarian and part of Library administration return to Rankine Brown from Old Kirk; major reorganisation so that books and periodicals of the same classification are shelved on the same levels.
Policy to cap growth of collection once capacity of Rankine Brown building had been reached.
Library expands within Rankine Brown when Law moves out (to Old Kirk).
The former Applied Mathematics Group and its library move from Level 7 of Rankine Brown to the newly established Crown Research Institute, Industrial research Ltd, at Gracefield.
Planning for new Architecture Library in Vivian St.
INL sponsored creation of a literary archive within the Library - begins with Witi Ihimaera, Patricia Grace, and Alistair Campbell, in collaboration with VUW Foundation.
Collection valued.
Quad roof installed
Canvassing option of 'steady state' collection maintenance policy.Experimenting with provision of direct end-user access to remote online databases.Hours of opening extended.Acquisitions and Catalogue Departments reorganised into Collection Management and Technical Services departments.
1994 Rankine Brown redevelopment project completed with remodelling of entrance and refurbishment of stairwells. Sutherland Self Help Trust funds establishment of facility for students with disabilities. Student survey run by VUWSA.Architecture Library established in Vivian St. Some services offered at CIT, Heretaunga, to support BCA courses. Access to Lexis-Nexus database.
1995 Ultimate 7020 computer replaced by Digital AlphaServer 1000-200; Dynix database migrated and two new releases added. First internet training courses offered. First Library web pages developed (by Margaret Ferguson) and launched 4 August 1995.Acquisitions expenditure frozen/falls. Subscription access to Expanded Academic Index/ASAP database. Networked access to Newzindex.Jenny Bornholdt accepts invitation to join Literary Archive project. Library surveys graduate students working on extended research projects.
Law Library relocated to Government Buildings on Lambton Quay. Sprinkler system installed in Central Library (requires lowering stack heights on Level 0). Consortium access to Current Contents; further databases mounted on Library server for networked access. Acquisitions expenditiure further cut. Literary Archive project confirmed by INL for a further 3 years. Rankine Brown recabled for data and voice to allow ethernet access and future 'digital telephones'.
Audiovisual Suite and Training rooms completed; Level 0 sprinkler system completed. Devolution of University Central Records services from Registry to Library. University Librarian resigns.
Library Review. Alan Smith appointed University Librarian. First Student Computing Suite opened in the Reference area; residual library role in University Central Records ceases. Computer 'lab' opened in Law Library.
'Renewed Structures' organisation begun (13 Library units reporting to the UL and Deputy UL were replaced by eight grups including a new Digital Services Group forming, with the UL, the Library Management Team or LMT; Library Bindery closed (Library's first experience of redundancies); periodicals review to reduce costs; full membership of national interlibrary loan scheme begun. INL ceased to fund the Literary Archive and it was taken over by the Library. Research Collections fund enables Gray Young architectural archive to be housed in Architecture and Design Library.Recommendation to merge Law Library and Wellington District Law Society's Library - not carried through. Expenditure freeze (University-wide?)Retrospective conversion project to add more JCBR items to OPAC. Merger of periodical and book issues at Central library; move of Reserves from Level 3 to Level 2. Expansion of computer suite. 'Library liaison' begins.
University-wide Deficit Reduction Programme.
Collections budget review and $1m annual increase.Consortial project to replace online management system. Commerce Library transfers from Faculty to Library, is closed, and replaced by Librarian presence at Rutherford House.
Seismic upgrade of building continues; consequent disruptions to services. JCBR storage moved to Level 0 by FM. 'New Initiatives Grant' researching sustainable administrative University archive.Library reports to new Pro VC (IT).
Intersite service begins; Law Library issuing begins. Language Learning Centre transferred from Faculty to Library.Voyager system approved. Seismic structural upgrade work begins. The Library's Learning and Teaching Plan identifies 'Information Literacy' as a core competency. Continued expansion of Student Computing Service in Central and Law Libraries; pilot station opens at Architecture Library
NZETC transfers into Library structure
Sue Roberts appointed University Librarian. Book fund allocation formula; review of serials acquisitions; revision of Library Statute; change proposal for senior management positions; contestable fund for research resources.
Institutional Repository launched. Translucent internal sculpture added to north stairwell. Change proposal affects CSG staff
Change proposal affects RLS staff. Commercial offsite storage facility established. ITS moves into Level 8 from Cotton building. CSG moves from Level 1 to Level 8. Wai-te-ata Press moves into Level 0. Burst watermain causes flood December affecting primarily Levels 1 and 0. Library closes as a result.
Nov: Wai-te-ata Press re-launched in Level 0 location. Dec: NZETC move to Level 8, RLS move to Level 5.


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Language of Materials


Related Archival Materials note

Related Record Series: Advisory Library Committee Minutes, 1913-1964

Papers of University Librarians: John Sage Harold Miller David Wylie

Processing Information

At this repository most archives are described to a broad series level in order to maximise the overall holdings available for research access. When resources permit, further description is undertaken: at the item level, to add name and subject index terms, and to link with digitised content.

J C Beaglehole Room - archives and manuscripts
Edited Full Draft
Nicola Frean
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is written inEnglish
Edition statement
XML EAD edition

Repository Details

Part of the J C Beaglehole Room, Victoria University of Wellington Library Repository

P O Box 3438
Wellington 6140 New Zealand
+64 4 4635681