Browsing library shelves back on the cards in Auckland

Last Updated : 18 Nov 2021
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Mt Roskill Senior Librarian Marion Walker gives the first day of customers back inside libraries the thumbs up.
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First customers when Mt Roskill opened the doors Wednesday morning
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Everyone following social distancing guidelines at Mt Roskill Library.

After more than 90 days of lockdown, customers were welcomed back inside all Auckland Council Libraries sites across the region today.

When asked how it feels to be back in the library again, Mt Roskill Senior Librarian Marion Walker says, “It’s energising to see the space open again and people in the library. We’ve been doing click and collect but that has been limited to the foyer and it felt a bit like guarding the door!”

Marion also says that it’s great to see colleagues face to face again, “Online meetings have enabled us to do work from home and keep in touch with each other, but it’s so nice seeing people in person.”

Councillor Cathy Casey, Deputy Chair of Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee is delighted, saying this has been a long time coming.

“It is a really exciting day for our libraries team. They have been wanting to get back to what they love and do best, which is serve the public. They have done a fantastic job to get to this point.”

Mayor Phil Goff says the reopening of all 56 of the region’s libraries will be welcomed by Aucklanders after more than 90 days under level 4 and 3 restrictions.

“Aucklanders love their local library as a focal point of the community and place for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment and fun, so we’re really excited to be able to offer in-person services once again.

“Libraries will also continue to offer click and collect services and Ready to Go reading packs for those Aucklanders who may not feel ready to spend time indoors in public locations at this time.

“Aucklanders have really embraced click and collect. We have seen over 104,000 items borrowed, over 252,000 items returned, over 152,000 holds placed, and more than 5,600 Read to Go Read packs requested, and we’ll be maintaining those services to ensure libraries continue to be accessible to everyone.”

Ready to Go Read packs are librarian-selected books ready for a quick collect.

Mirla Edmundson, Auckland Council’s General Manager of Connected Communities, says, “With schools being able to welcome students back this week we have been able to take the next step in re-opening. We can’t wait to open the doors and see customers in person again.”

All 56 library sites have been prepared to welcome customers back inside for book browsing but Mirla advises that there will be some guidelines to keep everyone safe.

“We are asking all customers to limit their time inside to under 30 minutes. This will help us maintain safe limits on numbers of people inside the facility.”

Alongside book browsing, Aucklanders will be able to access public computers, printing and Wi-Fi. Integrated customer services will be available too.

Research centres will not be staffed, but Aucklanders can get the research help they need by enquiring online.

Arts and Community Centres

Mirla adds that most of the arts and community centres across the region are reopening too.

“It’s really great to be able to open these facilities as well. Of the 19 community centres across Tāmaki Makaurau, only three will remain closed.”

These community centres will be available for exhibitions, tenanted services, outdoor recreation and distanced classes and activities.

Councillor Casey says that the important thing for everyone heading to their local library or community centre is to be patient.

“90 days is a long time. It is going to take a bit of time to readjust to interacting with people face to face, so I encourage everyone to continue to be kind to others.”

Auckland Council Arts and Community Centres

  • 16 of 19 facilities and centres will re-open for normal opening hours from Wednesday 17 November
    • Te Atatū Peninsula Community Centre
    • New Lynn Community Centre
    • Onehunga Community Centre
    • Oranga Community Centre
    • Te Manawa, Westgate
    • Wesley Community Centre
    • Ellen Melville Centre
    • Te Oro, Glen Innes
    • Studio 1 Toi Tū, Grey Lynn
    • Te Puke ō Tara Community Centre, Ōtara
    • Franklin: The Centre, Pukekohe
    • Nathan Homestead, Manurewa
    • Te Whare Toi Fresh o Ōtara/Fresh Gallery Ōtara
    • Papakura Art Gallery
    • Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu O Uenuku
    • Ōtara Music Arts Centre
  • Three centres not opening at this time are:
    • Whare Koa Māngere Community House (venue is too small to safely open under Alert Level 3, Step 3).
    • Roskill Youth Zone (the partner organisation who runs this centre on behalf of council has made a decision to not staff facilities under the current alert level)
    • Hawkins Theatre (a theatre facility so is not permitted to open under Alert Level 3, Step 3)
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