Do libraries still matter?
The people have spoken, and libraries still matter.
As Auckland Council looks to future-proof its 55 libraries to keep up with changing service demands, Stuff decided to see if people still cared about their local book provider.
On social media site Neighbourly.co.nz the consensus was that libraries remain a vital part of the community, not simply for book lending, but as a social hub and an educational resource.
Mount Roskill resident Suzanne Paul said libraries were about more than just books, and she commended the librarians.
‘‘The staff, they are so patient, and helpful, always pleasant, even when dealing with a difficult issue. Age and infirmity make no difference, all are treated the same,’’ Paul said.
Hillsborough resident Julie Murphy said her family had used libraries a huge amount over the years.
‘‘Apart from its obvious function, our local library also serves as a free, safe place to hang out for folk on the fringes of society,’’ she said.
‘‘Talking with the homeless in our community, I realise it is where they keep connected to family over the internet, meet up, or just have a warm, comfortable place to sit after a cold night on the street.’’
One Tree Hill resident Marie Martin said the introduction of the digital services had increased her family’s use of the libraries.
‘‘We see the library as an essential community service and part of the council’s core business,’’ Martin said.
Mount Albert resident Emma Robertson said libraries provided a safe haven for kids, were a friendly place for the growing aging population and were motivated by community need.
‘‘Unfortunately their impact is not always tangible and easy to quantify, but I value the service they provide my community.’’
In April, Auckland Libraries outlined its changes stating 80 per cent of 926 staff would need to reapply for their jobs, and that it would have a digital focus moving forward.
In response to concerns about the changes, Mayor Phil Goff penned an internal letter to the council where he said new technology and better organisation had allowed staff reductions.
He said technology had contri- buted to the changes with the growth of electronic checkouts causing manual checkouts to fall by about 1.8 million since 2012.
The consensus was that libraries remain a vital part of the community.