5th January 2010

Leslie Clague,  Kapiti District Libraries manager

Kāpiti residents can look forward to an expanded library service in the years to come, thanks to an agreement reached between Hutt City, Porirua, Kāpiti Coast District Council and Wellington Institute of Technology (Weltec).

The councils and the polytechnic have agreed to join together to utilise a shared library management system, to be run and managed by Civica Pty Ltd. from a technology platform based in Auckland.

The service will be developed over three years with all libraries moving to the shared system in 2010. In 2011, the bibliographic records, i.e. catalogues, will be merged so customers can see what is available from all the libraries. And by 2012, customer records will be merged so that a single library membership card will give access to collections in 18 libraries across the region.

In three years time the 48,000 residents of Kāpiti will have access to nearly three-quarters of a million items from books, DVDs, CDs and magazines through this Memorandum of Commitment. Currently the three Kāpiti District Libraries offer a selection of roughly 150,000 items.

Residents working in one area and living in another will be able to pick up books from one library during their working day and drop them off at their home library in the evenings or weekends.

“Working in partnership with other libraries and knowing that we all share up to date and internationally recognised technology is smart business from our perspective,” said Pat Dougherty, Kāpiti Coast District Chief Executive.

An additional benefit of the agreement is the library system costs are fixed for five years, allowing Council IT to focus on other projects and for the library staff to work on developing services. Staff expertise can also be shared across the region.

Masterton District Council is also looking at entering into the regional initiative.

There is a trend in library services for more of a shared approach. The five metropolitan libraries of the Auckland region share a system and libraries in the deep south of the South Island have created a consortium. Additionally, the National Library of New Zealand and the Association of Public Library Managers are working on developing a more shared service approach across the country.

It all helps to maximise people’s access to the information they want and need to enrich their lives.