Book Guardians Aotearoa group to challenge National Library planned cull of 600,000 books

A group of book lovers are fighting to stop New Zealand National Library from culling masses of books.

Wellington's National Library of New Zealand is getting rid of 600,000 books, which it claims aren't being read.

The library's director of content services Rachel Esson says the books - all published overseas - aren't being read and are taking up needed storage space.

"The last time it was issued, in fact the only time it was issued was in 1989," she told Newshub.

The library began clearing the books out last October, giving some to other libraries, and donating 50,000 books to the Lions and Rotary clubs.

"They will be holding a sale later in November."

But Book Guardians Aotearoa group member Dolores Janiewski is calling for the books to stay put.

"Some of them are very valuable," she told Newshub.

"They are going to pass into private hands so they are no longer going to be accessible to all New Zealanders."

The group is angry with the library's selection process, and decision to give out books away.

New Zealand historian Chris Pugley says the collection's valuable to researchers.

"It may not go off the shelf for 10 years but when it goes off the shelf it goes off for a purpose," he said.

The library stands by its decision - which received ministerial sign-off.

"I think we are doing the right thing," Esson said.

Book Guardians Aotearoa plans to challenge the National Library in a meeting on Tuesday.