ATLET’s particular contribution to celebrating the double centenary (2018-2020) of Alexander Turnbull’s gift of his library to the nation will be to highlight the role of the Library as a national research institution.

The first event was a lecture by Dr Charles Henry on 21 February 2019: All Things Made New: Media, Research, Libraries, and the Idea of Culture. Dr Henry drew attention to new relationships and opportunities in the creation of new knowledge through digital technologies, new media forms and changing conceptions of the role of the library. Simon Upton, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, was respondent.

Material from Dr Henry lecture:  

What is ATL funded for?

At present, as a research institution, ATL is funded publicly to provide the means for discovery:

  • Collections of culturally significant materials,

  • Expert curators ensuring the conservation and accessibility to those materials, including their digitisation, on-site and on-line access.

It is not funded to perform all the other activities of a research institution:

  • Discovery: research fellowships, visiting scholars,

  • Testing: seminars, conferences, meetings of new researchers, media reports,

  • Publishing and sharing; publishing of research results in print and digital media forms.

ATL's Trust Deed

The Endowment Trust Deed (v: e-i) sets out the diversity of ways in which the Trust, through its Endowment Fund, can assist in “the advancement of learning and the arts and sciences through the promotion and support (whether financial or otherwise) of or for scholarly research and publication based on the collections of the Library.”

ATLET’s Endowment Fund has depended on bequests for its growth. It now wishes to build its Endowment Fund to as high a level as possible, so that the potential of the Alexander Turnbull Library as a research institution can be more fully realised. Public funding can never be enough to provide support for all the research which could benefit Aotearoa New Zealand.

Research on the Turnbull collections is also generously supported by grants from the Lilburn Fund and research awards offered by the Friends of the Turnbull Library.

Throughout the Centenary period, Trustees will be particularly pleased to meet people who understand the importance of funding new knowledge about ourselves and the role of cultural institutions like the Alexander Turnbull Library which conserve the records of thinking about who we are and our place in the world. Building the Endowment Fund will enable more research to be supported.

Contact us!

If you would like to receive invitations to events in our programme, or to discuss making a contribution to the Endowment Fund, please email us at