28 September 2015

Into the River and Banned Books: a conversation with the Office of Film and Literature Classification

Libraries all over the world will be celebrating the freedom to read during Banned Books Week at the end of September. This is especially topical in New Zealand right now, with the controversy surrounding Kiwi author Ted Dawe's award-winning young adult novel, Into the River.

We sat down with Michelle Baker, Acting Manager of the Information Unit at the Office of Film and Literature Classification, to find out more about Into the River and "banned books" in New Zealand.

Auckland Libraries: What’s the story with Into the River?

Classification Office: Into the River, published in 2012, was the winner of the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award at the 2013 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. Under New Zealand's Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, books don't have to be classified before they are supplied to the public (in the way that films are). Instead, books are usually classified as a result of a submission from a member of the public, or enforcement action by Police, Customs, or the Department of Internal Affairs.

The organisation Family First made a complaint to the Department of Internal Affairs about the book, and as a result it was submitted to the Classification Office. It was classified using the criteria set out in the legislation, and was classified M (unrestricted, anyone can access it, but it’s more suitable for mature readers).

21 September 2015

25,000 Customers APPreciate Libraries app

With 25,000 downloads in the first six months, Auckland Libraries' customers are relishing the new app.

Auckland Libraries Digital Services Manager - Customer Interaction, Barbara Garriock, is pleased with the uptake, developed in response to strong customer demand.

"We are delighted the app has been so popular. We knew there was a growing expectation from customers that they should be able to access our services from a platform on their handheld devices - and according to our app provider, 69 per cent of library customers use mobile apps to access information. So we clearly needed to be in this space.

We also have  a commitment to make access to services and content as easy as possible for all customers.  Providing an app is part of that commitment," she said.