26 April 2015

Books, beaches and buses: Auckland Libraries' scorching summer holiday programme

Heading to the beach over the Christmas holidays is as Kiwi as Wattie's Tomato Sauce, hokey pokey ice-cream and jandals. And with many beach-goers looking to relax there with a book or magazine, it was a natural fit for Auckland Libraries to hit the beach last summer!

With a fleet of four mobile libraries usually parked up during this period, Kumeu Community Library Manager Matthew Kerr, who had been working on a project to look at peoples' experience of using mobile libraries, saw an exciting opportunity to connect with and delight customers in an unexpected way.

"Summer is the one time of the year when mobile libraries are off the road. They normally get a service and thorough revamp over the Christmas and New Year period. This year we were able to get this work done fast and early, which enabled the buses to be available for something else. I really wanted to be able to show up to a spot where lots of people went over summer and surprise them by providing a full service pop-up library."

From this idea, the #ALBeachBus was born, and the response from local media and the public exceeded Matthew and his team's wildest expectations.

21 April 2015

Busting school holiday boredom with fun that's educational too (don't tell the kids!)

It's the cry all caregivers dread from children during the school holidays:

"I'm booooored!"

But Auckland Libraries helps banish the boredom with an assortment of events and activities every school holidays at all branches across the city. And they aren't just reading - these children are managing mischief too.

Movies made by kids during Wellsford War Memorial Library's school holiday programme. 

Libraries Adviser Youth Service Development Wendy Dreadon says school holiday programmes aren't just about giving kids something to occupy them, but creating rich experiences for all library users, no matter their age.

"We want to surprise and delight our customers with our school holiday programmes. We want parents, guardians, caregivers, to come in and share their child’s experience, and see that libraries continue to offer valuable services for them. We also want customers that come in at the same time they are not participating, to stop and take a second look at what else their library offers, in case they didn't know."

In 2014 Auckland Libraries introduced "meaningful play" as the driver for children's activities. Wendy describes meaningful play as "imaginative, exploratory and expressive. It provides multiple pathways for literacy and learning."

9 April 2015

Guest post: Ian from Public Libraries News interviews us about Devonport Library

Ian Anstice is a passionate librarian from the North West of England. When he's not at his day job, he's busy running esteemed library website Public Libraries News.

Recently Ian interviewed Auckland Libraries regarding the newly opened Te Pātaka Kōrero o Te Hau Kapua - Devonport Library. He's kindly allowed us to reproduce his Q&A here.

Hi Auckland Libraries!

I come across some marvellous stuff while doing Public Libraries News. Devonport's new library caught my eye, not least because of the specially installed cat flap. Sadly, I'm not able to get to the other side of the world to see the lovely new building myself - would you kindly answer my queries?

Ian Anstice: Where was the funding obtained from the new library and what happened to the old one?

Auckland Libraries: The Devonport Library project was a $7.8 million Auckland Council-funded project. Auckland Council is a largely ratepayer-funded local government organisation. Some elements of the project were funded by supporting organisations, such as Te Rongo Kirkwood’s glass artwork in the foyer and the lights that hang in the Matariki (Pleiades) formation in the library which were funded by the North Shore Libraries Foundation.

The old library was demolished.

IA: Is it normal to have such add extra aesthetics - artworks, lovely ceiling, etc - to a library in Auckland?

AL: Auckland Council is a champion for quality urban design in the Auckland region, it sees good urban design as critical for enabling Auckland to become the world’s most liveable city.