wish we were there (again)

We took a lot of photos in Auckland, mostly inside libraries and certainly of many librarians. Check out the many readers advisory techniques used in Auckland’s libraries on our flickr collection.

And if you’re visiting Auckland, please drop in to the libraries and say hello from us. We miss those guys!

As well as meeting great librarians from the public libraries we also met the very inspirational Fiona Mackie, President of SLANZA (great article about her and Word Up in Collected #9, pages 16-17) and Catherine Frew from the Corporate Library. We caught up with the marvellous Tosca Waera (Social Media Coordinator, the personality behind @Auckland_Libs), Sally Pewhairangi from Finding Heroes (who inspires us with her big ideas) and Paul Brown – our amazing tour guide and readers advisory expert.

Here’s a link to a LIANZA 2012 paper by Richard Misilei, the awesome manager of  Tupu Youth Library – South Auckland Libraries: Connecting with Southside Youth. A library service to be proud of. If you’ve been there, shout about it!

Auckland City Libraries

We visited Central City, Botany, Tupu, Onehunga, Massey, Titirangi, Henderson, Takapuna and East Coast Bays libraries.

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Down on the beach

It is hard to believe today is our last day of visiting Auckland City Libraries! We headed north and our first stop was Takapuna community library on the North Shore. We met Helen and Jacquie, who showed us around, held a morning tea for us and discussed their library’s great initiatives for readers and the community.

The neighbourhood project is an outreach project to the local community by the library with the intention of getting to know the local businesses in the area, and sharing relevant library information with them. This also includes a readers advisory service as they answer questions. They are also piloting a personalised service for older readers that has been received well.

Of the many conversations we have had over the last week about librarianship, today we were reminded about the importance of seeking out opportunities when they arise. Being a yes person instead of saying no, and never knowing what possibilities we are turning down.

Takapuna library values the literary history of the area and staff work closely with writers and publishers in the area, leading to links with local writers’ centres and author visits including Michael Palin.

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East Coast Bays Library was the last library on our week long tour. We met Anne, Joy and Sarah who feel very strongly that the reading experience must engage customers and promote the collection. We heard about their twice monthly book chats where people bring two or three books in and talk about them with the group. While facilitated by staff, the group operates a peer to peer readers advisory within the group. The books recommended could easily be added online and shared with the wider community via library website, library blog and Pinterest!

The shelving and display of newly returned items, and new books has created a browsing zone for customers, who then borrow heavily from this area, thus reducing returns shelving by up to 47%.

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We had a late lunch in the area and braved the crazy winds to walk along the waterfront and view Rangitoto Island from a northerly perspective.

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We are looking forward to spending some time reflecting on the many ideas we have heard and practices we have observed from our time in Auckland. Thanks to all who gave up time to speak with us, we are so very grateful.

We all read here

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Day 4 of our study visit and today we visited some of the libraries to the west of Auckland. First up was Titirangi Library, surrounded by lush rolling countryside and the harbour. I am sure if I worked there I would have my nose to a window gazing at the views! We talked to Rachel and staff at Titirangi, and asked what type of things do you do for readers advisory in this library? Rachel responded straight away with, ‘we all read here and love talking to our customers about books’! Best answer ever!!

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Next up was Massey Community Library, co-located with a YMCA and a daycare centre. The spaces are built around Eco principles with water features outside helping cool the inside of the building. Of interest was the amount of staff on the floor talking and helping customers.

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Lastly we visited Waitakere Central Library, co-located with the Unitech across the road. This library had a fabulous local studies collection, and had much more of a research focus, reflecting the community it serves.

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Alison and I have been amazed at the variety of libraries and the communities they serve within Auckland City Libraries. We have been introduced as the librarians from Australia (haha!!) and have been blown away by the generosity shown to us by all the staff we have spoken to. Thank you so much for sharing your libraries, collections and ideas.

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Everybody trundling

I find it very funny that both Australians and New Zealanders speak English, and yet there are words that I have no idea what they are talking about!! For example ‘trundlers’, the NZ equivalent to a shopping trolley!! Such a classic word 🙂

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Today we visited three different libraries within the Auckland City Library service. First was Tupu youth library at Otara where we met Richie and his staff of children and teen librarians. Tupu is a purpose built library created to meet the needs of the youth in the community, and to provide safe spaces for young people. I really loved this space and idea, and was impressed with the staff and their vision for their service built on community and respect.

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Next up was Botany Library where we met Karen and her staff. Botany library is located in a shopping centre and was built with retail principles in mind. Extended opening hours, purpose built equipment that promotes and displays collections and staff recruited to reflect retail principles of customer service and deliver a high end retail experience.

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Last up was Onehunga Library, where we met Rachel and her team, and were reminded of why we do our job. Onehunga is located in what was traditionally an industrial, lower socio-economic area that is changing into a boutique community. Rachel believes attitudes make a big difference to the service you provide, and has staff greeting community members and spending time with them on the floor. We loved how she encouraged readers advisory using the young people in her library!

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We also witnessed Phillipe – one of the children who use the library everyday – thank Rachel and her staff with flowers and a song for the time spent helping him this year. Alison and I were very moved, and it was a lovely reminder of the importance of libraries in local communities.

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Last up, I saw this recruitment sign, and was very taken by it! What message does it send? Who is their intended audience? What type of people do you think would apply? What skills would they need? Made me wonder about recruiting librarians and what we would put on a poster such as this….

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