Books not the whole story
The libraries of our childhoods were a sanctuary for introverts - silent spaces with firm librarians keeping a watchful eye over treasured books. Fast forward to 2021 and libraries have transformed into busy, diverse community hubs that offer a safe and accessible place for all ages to connect and learn in.
While regular users know that libraries have long been about much more than just lending books, Kāpiti Coast District Libraries continue to evolve in order to be relevant in an increasingly digital world. And the one thing that our libraries offer that the internet still can’t match is a healthy sense of place and belonging.
A physical and virtual space to find information
Kāpiti Coast District Council’s Libraries and Arts Manager, Ian Littleworth says a common theme in customer satisfaction surveys following the COVID-19 lockdown was how much users missed visiting their library and interacting with librarians and other customers. Another theme was how much library users appreciated access to free digital content when popping in for a new book to read wasn’t an option.
“During lockdown we saw a 500% increase in online access of our e-resources, and the appetite for accessible, online content has continued to grow,” says Mr Littleworth.
“The types of resources our community are keen to access, and how they want to access them is changing, and we are growing our capability and catalogue to reflect this. The days of a library simply offering hardcopy resources are long gone,” says Mr Littleworth.
The growing suite of e-services free for library card holders includes a movie and documentary streaming service called Beamafilm, access to over 5,000 eBooks and e-audio via Axis360, as well as online newspapers and magazines via the Pressreader platform. Online learning is also booming, with a broad range of free training options such as Lingogo, a digital app for those wanting to improve their te reo or pasifika language skills.
New way to take away
There have been advances in how you can issue library items recently too, with the introduction of new self-service stations and tracking technology making it a whole lot easier and faster.
Around 130,000 items over the district’s four libraries have been fitted with the latest radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag technology. The new tags make issuing and receiving items much quicker for borrowers, which in turn means staff can spend more time helping visitors and sharing their knowledge, tips and recommendations.
Since being introduced in April, over 40,000 items have been scanned, issued or returned using the new technology.
A space for all
Kāpiti’s libraries also serve as community spaces for arts and cultural events as well as regular educational and special interest programmes for all ages. During May, New Zealand Music Month, the libraries hosted performances from a diverse line-up of local musicians, and both Ōtaki and Paraparaumu libraries often feature art exhibitions, displays and community events such as fabric swaps, workshops and poetry evenings.
To find out more on our regular programmes like tamariki storytime, book clubs, Lego club, free digital drop in sessions and much, much more visit our website
- To see what's on offer in June and July for Matariki this year check out www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/libraries/heritage-maori/maori/matariki/
- And if you are writing your memoir, family history or a masterpiece, come along to the upcoming Self-Publishing workshop and learn how to publish your work both in print and online. There are also follow-up workshops on marketing, newsletters and website publishing to help you get the word out.
If you haven’t visited your library in a while or want to join, pop in or check us out online to see what’s on offer – you might be surprised at what you find!