25 June 2014

Focusing the lens on youth at Auckland Libraries

Getting youth behind the lens and learning about the power of imagery was the aim of Auckland Libraries’ May school holiday photography programme.

A photography display.
Images from Waiheke Library's workshops.
Participating libraries across the city held free workshops for young people aged 11-14 years  in conjunction with the Auckland Festival of Photography.

Libraries Youth Adviser Wendy Dreadon said the sessions had two aims: to teach visual literacy - the ability to read, understand and question the meanings of images, and to teach digital literacy - the ability to use tools and technologies to create, select and evaluate images.

“The focus of the workshops was not so much in teaching young people 'how' to use cameras or other digital devices to capture images - but to offer visual and digital literacy as an experience," she said. "Our young people explored stories, messaging and concepts through imagery, before planning and capturing their own photos.”

17 June 2014

Growing great things at Kumeu Library

Libraries are well known as places for growing great minds. But growing plants? This is what is happening right now through the Kumeu Library seed exchange.

A visitor to Kumeu Library.
Kumeu Library's seed exchange is
enjoyed by customers of all ages.
Developed by Community Library Manager Matthew Kerr, the project encourages library users to donate their excess fruit, vegetables, ornamental and native seeds to a central repository at the Kumeu branch, for others to then “borrow” or grow in their own gardens.

Matthew said he was inspired to start the seed library after reading an article on the Auckland Council intranet about a similar initiative called The Seed Box. Community Development Project Leader (Central) Ellen Schindler created a box of various seeds to be passed between interested participants who can take out seeds, as well as add their own, before forwarding the box on to the next person.

"I had been thinking about what new library collections could help the community," said Matthew. "I had been inspired by tool libraries and toy libraries in the US, but knew that starting one of those up was beyond my budget. I was in the midst of linking up with a local gardening club, when I read the story and knew I’d found what I was looking for.”

Such was the synergy between the two projects, Ellen donated seeds to form the initial offering for the Kumeu initiative.

Since its inception in January 2014 the seed exchange has thrived, with almost 300 people “borrowing” from it, as well as attracting lots of positive comments from customers.