Seeking expressions of interest for self-service libraries

Published on 23 January 2020

Children at Hakeke Street Library

Booklovers (from left) Isla Chadfield-Waitokia, Morgan Wood, Izabella Malou and Jayde Butturini at Hakeke Street Library 

Whanganui District Library would like to hear from businesses or organisations interested in hosting a self-service library in their suburban premises. 

Whanganui District Libraries and Community Manager, Pete Gray, says, “The suburban self-service library is, as far as we know, a new model of library pioneered in Whanganui.

“So far we’ve implemented two suburban self-service libraries – the Hakeke Street Library in Whanganui East and the Rangiora Street Library in Castlecliff. These have been very successful and we’d like to roll the initiative out to suburbs throughout Whanganui,” says Pete Gray. 

The Hakeke Street Library was installed one year ago and, along with the Community Centre, will celebrate its first anniversary on Saturday, 25 January from 10.00am-1.00pm, with a bouncy castle, glitter tattoos, musical entertainment and a Rainbow storytime. There will be crafts, food and secondhand books available for purchase. 

Community Centre founding trustee Marie Butturini says having a library in Whanganui East has been hugely beneficial for community connectedness. 

“One of the most beautiful moments we’ve had in the library was an elderly lady reading a te reo Māori book to one of the young children from our childcare centre telling us she used to be fluent in te reo and it was the first time she’d spoken it in 20 years,” Marie Butturini says. 

“We regularly see interactions between diverse people of all ages. For many of our volunteers English is a second language and they’ve said being involved with the library gives them a sense of purpose and an opportunity to engage with the community. 

“Another big success is that the teenage YMCA alternative education students who are based nearby now all have library membership and frequently come over and check out books,” Marie Butturini says. 

Councillor James Barron, who owns the building which houses the Rangiora Street Library in Castlecliff, says, “There are so many benefits to the community from the Rangiora Street Library – not only to read and exchange books but as a hub to meet and exchange stories and be part of a social community where people of all walks of life can feel welcome and at home. 

“It’s fantastic to see the way the Castlecliff community has embraced having a library at its heart and our volunteer librarians add a real personality to our library. 

“Whanganui District Library staff have bent over backwards to be supportive and make this library work for our community,” Cr Barron says. 

Pete Gray encourages businesses and organisations to contact him about hosting a self-service library in their premises. 

“We’re interested in discussing how a suburban self-service library might fit with your business or organisation,” Pete Gray says.


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