Ian Littleworth has been appointed as Kāpiti Coast District Council’s new Libraries and Arts Manager.
He stepped into the role in an acting capacity late last year. And he’s has been busy managing Council’s library network at a challenging time — re-establishing interim Waikanae services after the Waikanae Library was shut down because of toxic mould.
The Kāpiti Coast Council has confirmed it’s talking to Mahara Place store owners and landlords to secure a medium-term service.
It’s doing a due diligence process to get premises in Mahara Place — and says it hopes to announce a solution soon.
Strong management background
Mr Littleworth has a strong management and business background and has been in the library service for over 30 years.
Originally from the Wairarapa, he spent 12 years heading up the libraries and heritage team at Nelson City Council until shifting to a community engagement leaders role for the Palmerston North City Council in 2016.
While in Palmerston North he worked closely with the arts sector on public art, arts events and the establishment of a steering group for a community-led arts sector.
Mr Littleworth received a LIANZA Fellowship in 2014 and chaired the Association of Public Library Managers. They led the development of a national strategic framework 2012-17 for public libraries alongside Local Government New Zealand.
Ian says the challenge in Kāpiti, as in all local libraries, is meeting the growth expectation of the digital age and connecting more with the community — while balancing the maintenance of traditional library services which “we do very well”.
“It’s about all the different ways people expect to be able to access our services and what those services will be, whether it’s digi-training, kids’ storytime or greater community connections through a more fully developed library events programme.”
So is the budget big enough?
“Like all library services, there’s always a much greater wishlist than there’s a budget for,” Mr Littleworth says.
“My job is leading our teams through a balancing act of providing the right level and type of services for the diverse, but unique, demographic the Kāpiti community has.
Getting a good share of funding
“I’m most certainly in the corner of championing for the needs and wants of that community when it comes to where Council is able to prioritise different aspects of its funding pool.”
Blocking violence on the libraries’ computers
Mr Littleworth also confirmed that following the events around the Christchurch mosque shootings, Kāpiti had worked with the National Library to block the most popular sites that contained violent gun-related games from library computers last week.