Auckland libraries 'call to check'

Helping out MSD during lockdown

Last Updated : 18 Aug 2020
Librarians help MSD 2
Auckland Council Libraries staff unable to do their usual jobs during lockdown are helping MSD reach out to vulnerable Aucklanders by phone.

Redeployed Auckland Council staff are making welfare calls to more than 15,000 of Auckland’s most vulnerable residents as part of Auckland Emergency Management’s COVID-19 response.

Starting 7 April, a team of more than 50 Auckland Council library staff has been making calls to check on the well-being of older people living alone, following a request for assistance from the Ministry of Social Development.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, "It’s really important when we’re going through an unprecedented lockdown that we reach out to older people who are isolated and check out how they are.

“We are contacting more than 15,000 Auckland residents over the age of 70. Most live on their own and don’t have online access, which increases their isolation.

“Our library staff, not able to do their normal jobs because of the COVID-19 lockdown, are enthusiastic about being able to help others. They are taking details of any challenges that residents are encountering and passing them to the Auckland Emergency Management team to help with.

“Since Tuesday afternoon, around 3700 calls have been made, and we’re expecting to increase this to more than 2000 calls a day over the coming week or so.

“The council will continue to deploy its staff to help with an all-of-government response to COVID-19 in Auckland.”

The team is responsible for making general welfare calls and helping people connect with the Ministry of Social Development and Auckland Emergency Management where necessary.

Auckland Council’s Head of Community Libraries – North & West, Darryl Soljan says, “Our library teams already have required skills, empathy and experience from working closely with our communities, including some of our most vulnerable people, so when the call came through, we knew this was the perfect task for us.

“Our staff leapt at the opportunity to be part of this team. Social interaction and helping people are key reasons they love their jobs; they get to use their skills to make a real difference to the lives of Aucklanders and they’re grateful to be in a position where they are still able to do so during these extremely challenging times.

“So far, the calls are being gratefully received and we’re making good progress towards checking in on all 15,000 people.”

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