Restoring A Quality Range of Magazines

Kapiti is an intelligent, well-read community. It deserves a manager that will maintain a quality library service, not necessarily a social institution, but one where the skill of reading and research is rewarded and celebrated.  Former Library Manager, Leslie Clague

A task for the new library manager

By Roger Childs

New Library Manager: Kat Cuttriss

Kapiti is fortunate in having a well qualified, talented and enthusiastic new chief at Paraparaumu Library.

Jeremy Smith has already outlined aspects of Kat Cuttriss’s agenda – scroll down to April 30 – and he touched on the issue of magazines.

Libraries of comparable size, such as Taupo and Newtown, subscribe to about 30% to 40% more magazines than Kapiti.

A wide range of periodicals used to be a strong feature of our local libraries, but the stocks were run down during the time of Kat’s predecessor.

A patient build up

Leslie Clague

In Leslie Clague’s time as manager there was a steady build up in the magazine and journal section. The display area was readily accessible to the customers, being located close to the entrance and the main desk.

Leslie was always amenable to suggestions for new titles. For example when she discovered there was no film magazine available for borrowing, she took out subscriptions for the world’s best: Sight and Sound, and the more populist, but still well regarded, Empire.

The sports magazines section was also expanded with specialist periodicals on golf, rugby, cycling, walking and running being available. Top American publications were purchased such as the legendary New Yorker and the excellent New York Review of Books. And in Waikanae a subscription was taken out for the quality monthly BBC History.

By the time Leslie retired, there was an excellent range of magazines, journals and periodicals available for borrowers in highly visible locations.

A change in priorities

Leeanne Morgan: enthusiastic and energetic

Leslie’s replacement was Leanne Morgan, who brought a youthful energy to the position. In what was probably an attempt to increase the appeal of the Kapiti Libraries to youth and younger adults, budgeting priorities changed.

An avalanche of romantic novels hit the shelves and the range of graphic publications expanded rapidly. Unfortunately, this was at the expense of other book buying, and for a short-time, there was an embargo on the purchase of non-fiction.

Sadly there were also staff cuts and a number of highly respected and experienced librarians lost their jobs. However, what about the magazine section?

Where have the magazines gone?

The popular film magazine missed the cut and was culled.

The periodical stocks underwent a major cull. The shelves started to empty out which was not a good look, so the magazine section was reconstituted and moved to the back wall.

There were many casualties, and subscription were cancelled for

~ BBC History and The Spectator

~ The Golf Magazine

~ extraordinarily the New York Review of Books, and an excellent British magazine called Writing.

A survivor

~ Empire and the world renowned popular music magazine UNCUT.

Fortunately Sight and Sound, the New Yorker and History Today survived.

With the new magazine section now forlornly located on the southern wall at Paraparaumu and no longer visible from the entrance, it is probably that periodical borrowing went down.

Restoration?

No-one would expect there to be an instant turn around in policy.

There is no question that there has to be balance in buying various genres of fiction, non-fiction, magazines, graphic novels, Ebooks, Talking Books

Kat Cuttriss beside the Paraparaumu magazine racks. Will more shelves be needed in the future?

and DVDs.

All customer needs should be catered for: not an easy task!

However, it is to be hoped that there will be a steady widening of the range of periodicals available and re-subscribing to quality publications which were unwisely culled.