of the Turnbull Library

General Information

see also
Programme of Activities

Bulletin Board

Officers and Committee


Endowment Trust

Join the Friends

Research Grants

History of the Library

Library Guardians

The Future Turnbull

The Friends of the Turnbull Library

The Friends of the Turnbull Library is an incorporated society promoting public interest in the Alexander Turnbull Library and supporting its activities.

The Library was founded on the gift to the nation of the extensive private collection of Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull, a prominent early Wellington citizen, who died in 1918. He left it to be “a...Reference Library in the City of Wellington...the contents...kept together as the Nucleus of a New Zealand National Collection.” It was opened to the public two years later, and this year celebrates its 90th birthday.

It has become an internationally recognized resource for research into the history and society of New Zealand and its South Pacific neighbours, and into early printed books, the works of John Milton and his contemporaries, and fine printing.

The Society assists in the extension of the Library's collections by the acquisition of materials and the encouragement of donations, and encourages research and use of its world-renowned resources.

For more information about the life of Alexander Turnbull and how he created his library, click here.
For more information about the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, which is part of the National Library of New Zealand, click here.

Activities and Publications

The Friends of the Turnbull Library conduct a programme of activities relating to the specialised interests of the Library, giving members an insight into the Turnbull's support of research in a wide range of fields. It also offers an annual research grant available to scholars whose research involves use of the Turnbull (click here for details).

The Society publishes three publications:

The Turnbull Library Record, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal published annually by the Turnbull Library in association with the Friends of the Turnbull Library. It focuses on the history and society of New Zealand and its South Pacific neighbours and on early printed books, the works of John Milton and his contemporaries, and fine printing. It also contains an annual list of notable acquisitions and donations to the Library. Click here for details of recent issues.

Off The Record, a magazine informing Friends of new acquisitions, research projects and other news relating to the Turnbull's collections. Click here for contents of the latest issue.

Newsletter keeping Friends informed about the Society's recent activities and coming programme.

Lectures and Tours. The Friends offer a regular programme of talks and tours based on the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library. Click here for details. The Friends also organise occasional seminars, such as the conference marking the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Milton, held on 5-6 December 2008. Click here for details.

Bequests and Donations

The Library always welcomes bequests that may be of historical value, including books, documents, paintings, drawings, family papers and photographs, as well as financial bequests and donations. It is registered by the Charities Commission to issue tax-deductible receipts for charitable donations. Click here for details.

Benefits of Membership

If you believe in the Library's work and wish to safeguard its priceless collections, if you believe the Library to be a national and international asset with an exciting future, and if you believe that we should cherish what the Library does for New Zealand and for international research, then you will want to be a member of the Friends.

Membership is open to all interested members of the public.

As a Friend you receive:

  • Copies of all Friends' publications including the Turnbull Library Record and the magazine Off the Record;
  • A newsletter keeping you informed on Friends' activities;
  • Invitations to attend lectures by experts in many fields, and to Friends' special events and social occasions;
  • Advance notice of exhibitions sourced from the Library;
  • The satisfaction that you are supporting a priceless heritage and world-renowned cultural and historical resource.

For details of membership and an application form, click here.

"I warmly invite you to become a Friend of the Turnbull and participate in the Library's important activities contributing to international scholarship."

Rachel Underwood, President
Friends of the Turnbull Library

Friends of the Turnbull Library 2012