The Alexander Turnbull Library was established when Alexander Turnbull bequeathed his collection of books, manuscripts, maps and artworks to the nation in 1918. Since opening in 1920, the Library has grown to become one of New Zealand’s premier research institutions, with a mandate to collect, protect, preserve and make accessible the documentary heritage and taonga of national significance for all New Zealanders.
Its collections include publications, manuscripts and archives, oral histories, photographs, ephemera, music, maps, drawings, paintings and prints, digital materials, rare books, and fine printing. The collections have been built through donation, bequest, legal deposit and targeted purchasing, to contain millions of items.
The Library is supported by government funding, and is indebted to the generosity of its donors and the Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust.
The Alexander Turnbull Library is part of the National Library of New Zealand, which sits within the Department of Internal Affairs.
The Alexander Turnbull Library holds in excess of 300,000 books, millions of issues from more than 40,000 magazine and periodical titles, over 60,000 maps and atlases, around 5,000,000 photographs, almost 1,000,000 feet of microfilm, over 12 kilometres of manuscripts, and approximately 120,000 drawings, paintings and prints.