Tuvalu land register showing water damage.
The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau was formed in 1968 to copy archives, manuscripts and rare printed material relating to the Pacific Islands. The aim of the Bureau is to help with long-term preservation and accessibility of the documentary heritage of the Pacific Islands.
The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau is based in the College of Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University. It is a non-profit organisation sponsored by an international consortium of libraries specialising in Pacific research. It is a rare example in the world of an on-going archival project involving a high level of international cooperation and commitment.
The current member libraries are:
- The Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Sydney
- National Library of Australia, Canberra
- The Library, Australian National University, Canberra
- The Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington
- The University of Auckland Library, Auckland
- The Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin
- Library of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu
- Library of the University of California, San Diego
- Yale University Library, New Haven
- University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor
- University of Bergen Library, Bergen
- University of the South Pacific, (All USP campuses in Samoa, Vanuatu, Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu)
- National University of Samoa, Apia
- University of Papua New Guinea (Waigani and Taurama Campuses)
The Bureau welcomes enquiries from specialist Pacific research libraries or other organisations interested in becoming members or in supporting the Bureau's activities by becoming associate members.
The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau is an archive of the most extensive collection of non-Government primary documentation on the Pacific Islands. The archive includes over 4,000 rolls of microfilm and related published indexes.
The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau copies records and documents which are at risk of loss or destruction, or are difficult to access, including:
- letters, diaries, notebooks;
- genealogies and other personal or family records;
- unpublished novels, stories, plays, poems, songs, music and drawings;
- grammars, vocabularies and dictionaries;
- mission and church records;
- plantation, mining, trading, shipping and other business records, including cooperatives;
- papers of political parties, trade unions, environmental organisations, women’s groups, youth groups, community associations and NGOs;
- papers of Pacific regional organisations;
- scientific, technical and medical papers;
- newspapers, newsletters and other serials
The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau welcomes
- reference enquiries on sources for Pacific material;
- suggestions for copying projects, particularly when the material is in danger of loss or destruction;
- orders for microfilms, digital reproductions and publications; and
- enquiries about membership possibilities.
Offers of archival material
The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau copies archives, manuscripts and rare printed material free of charge.
Where appropriate, records can be arranged, listed and packed for storage by the Bureau’s experienced archivist. Microfilming can be carried out on-site or in the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau studio at the ANU. The original documents are left with the owners or custodians.
Owners determine access conditions to the copies and retain custody of the original documents. Master negatives of Pacific Manuscripts Bureau microfilms are held in cold storage at the National Library of Australia.