CONTACT US: P. 0. Box 12 499 Wellington New Zealand


The Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection

This society to support the Dorothy Neal White Collection was formed in 1983. In 2005, the Society extended its support to the National Children’s and Susan Price Collections. Through its lectures, meetings and publications the Society helps to foster interest in the general development of children’s literature. Membership is by annual subscription. Enquiries about membership of the Friends may be directed to the Secretary, Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection, PO Box 12-499, Thorndon, Wellington. (Subscription form attached). The Friends’ web address is

Dorothy Neal White (Mrs Ballantyne) 1915-1995
The Dorothy Neal White Collection, opened in 1980, is named in honour of Dorothy Neal White, an outstanding contributor to the development of children’s librarianship in New Zealand. Dorothy Neal White spent most of her long career at the Dunedin Public Library, after studying at the Carnegie Library School in Pittsburgh in 1937. Under her leadership the provision of children’s services in Dunedin became a model for libraries in other areas of New Zealand. She reached an even wider public through her two acclaimed books. About books for children published in 1946 and Books before five published in 1954 by the NZCER.

The Dorothy Neal White Collection, National Library of New Zealand, is a research collection of children’s books that were enjoyed by young New Zealanders during the century before 1940. Most of the 8,000 books in the collection are fiction, but non-fiction of a recreational nature is also included and there is a good selection of children’s annuals and serials (such as the ‘Girl’s Own Annual’ and ‘Chums’). Many of the books in the collection were received as prizes from school or Sunday school and many others bear gift inscriptions. The Dorothy Neal White Collection has been built mainly by donation.The National Children’s Collection contains 100,000 books for children aged from birth to the end of their secondary school years, published since 1940 to the present day. The collection contains copies of all New Zealand children’s books published in English, Māori and Pacific Island languages and a selection of books from overseas.

The Susan Price Collection contains books published from 1930 to the present day – mainly fiction published since World War II for children aged between 9 and 18. Books for life : the story of a collection of children’s books donated to the National Library of New Zealand by Susan Price, (Wellington, NZ. :Gondwanaland Press,1991) provides information about the collection’s contents. Together, these three collections contain books from Britain, the United States, Australia and New Zealand that illustrate the overall development of children’s literature. The International Children’s Digital Library contains digital copies of selected New Zealand books from these collections that can be read online.

Donations to the Dorothy Neal White Collection:
The Dorothy Neal White Collection has been built up almost entirely through donations, from both individuals and libraries. Offers of donations are welcomed, but space does not permit the collection to accept books on an unrestricted basis. Books may be declined if they are not within the scope of the collection, if they are duplicates of books already held, or if they are badly damaged. Offers of books to the National Children’s Collection will also be considered. Please contact the Research Librarian with brief details about potential donations so that their suitability can be assessed.Access to the Collections: Those wishing to look at small numbers of books from the Dorothy Neal White and National Children’s Collections can request titles for use in the Reading Room on the ground floor of the Library 9am – 5pm weekdays and 9am – 1pm on Saturday. Those wishing to visit these collections can do so by making an appointment with the Research Librarian, Wednesday – Friday, or on other days by special arrangement. Research Librarian:
Telephone: 64-4-474 3084 Facsimile: 64-4-474 3035

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