UPDATE: 2 November
Auckland Council's elected members will be consulted about the council's Fit for the Future programme from early November until early December. We now expect formal staff consultation to begin in mid-January. Following formal consultation with staff, implementation is anticipated to follow from February.
Auckland Council is considering changes within its libraries in an effort to keep up with the changing demand for library services worldwide.
General Manager Libraries and Information Mirla Edmundson says the way people use libraries in our growing and increasingly diverse region is changing.
“We’ve seen shifts in demand for the types of services we provide and how we provide them – including new locations and in the digital space."
Ms Edmundson says this is a growing trend in libraries around the world, so Auckland Libraries’ programme focuses on being ready for change, not one step behind.
“In order to continue to be a leader in this area, and deliver what Aucklanders expect from a world-class library, we need to change alongside our customers," she says.
“This means that some of our services and programmes need to be redesigned in response to shifting customer demand."
There are no plans to close any of Auckland’s 55 libraries.
“We’ve already started responding to growth and demand patterns with new hub-based services, like at Tōia in Ōtāhuhu, where the library is part of a recreation and community centre; and the new Westgate library, which is integrated with the town square development.
“Now it’s time to make sure our staff are ready to take Auckland Libraries into the future."
Fit for the Future programme
This is the first significant change at Auckland Libraries since the formation of Auckland Council. It will ensure our libraries become more efficient and offer value for ratepayers, in line with the council’s new organisational strategy.
The proposal, due mid-November, will address the need to reallocate resources, which may result in adjusted and reduced staffing levels across the Auckland Libraries network.
“Auckland Libraries has around 1100 staff in both part- and full-time roles,” says Ms Edmundson. “Some of these roles may change but, until we’ve completed consultation with our teams, we won’t know what impact it will have on staff numbers.”
Current staff will be given the opportunity to apply for different roles. The changes are expected to be decided in December 2016, with a phased implementation from February 2017.
“Customers can be assured that they will continue to experience the same high levels of service in our libraries throughout this period of change and beyond,” she says.
Over time, services and programmes will grow, develop or stop in response to changing customer demand, and council and library long-term strategies.