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.



"Our Chinese-language collections are some of our most popular, and many of Auckland Libraries' Chinese-language activities are very well attended. We provide more than 25 regular events in Mandarin or for Chinese-speaking Aucklanders - from book clubs to children's storytimes. The Facebook page is our newest way to connect with this community."

Abigael says this Facebook page is thought to be a first for libraries in New Zealand.

"While we have incredible breadth, with 55 physical and four mobile libraries, we also have a fantastic digital library offer. To have the flexibility and depth of staffing and resource to be able to work in languages other than English is still a treat and the development of a Chinese-language Facebook page enables us to think of our customers and Aucklanders first," she says.

Manager, Digital Services Customer Interaction Barbara Garriock says Facebook is a natural fit for this project's aims.

"Auckland Libraries works hard to provide as much content as possible on our website in languages other than English. Platforms like Facebook allow us to be much more agile in this regard, and we are hoping to create a strong community around the page. We invite likers to use the page not only to find out about what we offer but to engage with us - to share their thoughts and experiences in libraries as well as asking questions from the team about anything library related," she said.

For a full list of our Chinese events, visit our website.

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