Hocken at capacity; options being explored

The Hocken Collections’ building in Anzac Ave.PHOTO: ODT FILES
The Hocken Collections’ building in Anzac Ave.PHOTO: ODT FILES
For 20 years, millions of historical documents and photographs have had their home in the Hocken Collections' building in Anzac Avenue, but the library is running out of space.

A report on the Hocken presented to the University of Otago Council this week said the building had reached capacity, and options for the collections were being explored.

"Issues related to storage space constraints and the age of the heating and cooling systems (HVAC) have been documented using the appropriate university processes, and options addressing these are being considered," the report said.

The Hocken contains 330,000 published volumes, 10km of archives, 17,000 artworks and two million photographs in its collections, relating to New Zealand's history, culture and natural environment.

A valuation prepared for the university's 2018 annual report put the materials at $120million.

University librarian Howard Amos told university councillors one of the questions facing the university was how many Hocken papers had to be kept in physical form.

"There will be a need for us to plan for the Hocken in the near future."

Questions to the university about a potential plan did not receive a response before the deadline yesterday.

Mr Amos told councillors it was hard to know what new material the Hocken - which last year took a proportion of archival material from the Cadbury chocolate factory when it closed - might acquire.

Collections were stored in preservation packaging with shelving and cabinets designed to prevent deterioration, and conditions were maintained to international standards for temperature, humidity and light levels.

Increasingly, material in the library was only in digital format, the report said, and the Hocken Collections had about 50,000 digital files in 76 different formats.

The Hocken hosted 136 tours and classes last year.

In 2018, 40% of the people who used the Hocken were independent and family researchers, 30% were other researchers, 22% were University of Otago staff and students, 5% were secondary students and 3% identified themselves as "other".

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