Stringent security measures have been introduced in recent times to safeguard National Library material. These measures are those recommended to minimise the problem of theft which is common to all libraries. The extent of any thefts from the National Library cannot be accurately assessed at this time. As I indicated to the House on 12 December last, it is proposed in future to close the National Library annually to the public for one month to enable stocktaking to be undertaken in accordance with normal practice in such libraries. That exercise will commence next November.
The Director of the National Library has already had some success in having removed material returned and has recommended that, in order to facilitate the further recovery of removed material, an amnesty should be introduced.Arrangements are being made for announcing this and for providing a book drop in the main hall of the National Library. I would appeal to anybody who may have relevant material in their possession to return these valuable items of our heritage to the National Library as soon as possible.