26 March 2015

A New Zealand first: Auckland Libraries launches Chinese language Facebook page

Lunar New Year is known as an auspicious time for beginning new endeavours, and it was 19 February 2015, the dawning of the Year of the Ram, that Auckland Libraries chose to launch an exciting new initiative: a Chinese language Facebook page.

Manager Inclusive Service Design Abigael Vogt says with 39 per cent of Aucklanders now born outside of New Zealand, and with a significant Chinese population growing in the city, there is a clear need to connect with Chinese speakers in the social space.

"According to the 2013 census of the 54,000 Aucklanders who don’t speak English, 24,993 of them identify as Chinese. Facebook allows us to work in a language other than English and to be in conversation, reaching Chinese-speaking Aucklanders and beyond," Abigael says.

"Those who engage with us via the Facebook page may not traditionally be able to communicate easily with all staff or share their library experiences with ease. This is one way Chinese-speaking Aucklanders can do this, communicating in their own language and accessing the wide range of Chinese-language services, staff and materials that Auckland Libraries has to offer," she added.

The Facebook page is almost totally written in Mandarin, with three staff, all native Mandarin speakers, managing the page and writing content in simplified Chinese. It has a regionwide approach, sharing events and activities from across Auckland Libraries, as well as highlighting new items in Chinese that have been added to collections, as well as reading recommendations.

5 March 2015

From codex to Kobo: the Auckland Libraries eBook opportunity

The boom in eBooks and eReading has presented unprecedented challenges for Auckland Libraries. 

How do you read? In the bath or on the bus? Fiction or non-fiction? For work or for leisure?

In recent years, these traditional choices have been joined by those of a more technological nature such as: traditional book or eReader? Kindle or Kobo? Many readers have been converted to eReading by the cost and convenience of eBooks, even as they mourn the tangible qualities of a physical book.

Readers all over the world are embracing eReading technology as part of their everyday lives. 

The growth in eBooks and eReading of all types is one of the biggest technological step-changes of the last ten years. With the development of eReader technology, most famously the Amazon Kindle in 2007, eBooks have rapidly become easier to find, borrow and read.

This technological and cultural shift has had implications for public library systems all over the world, with many rushing to provide equitable access to digital versions of popular books. In 2007, Auckland City Libraries offered a new eBook lending service to customers via a platform called OverDrive, and free eBorrowing was made available to Aucklanders for the first time.

However, providing free eBook and eAudiobook lending services under the strictures of a public library system has proved an unprecedented challenge. Copyright issues, technological limitations, constantly evolving eReading technology and a rapid growth in demand have caused many a headache for those at Auckland Libraries for whom eReading is a key priority.