you may or may not know that as a librarian i have the extremely dorky habit of wanting to visit public libraries when i come across them in foreign countries. i like to look at their books, see how they organize things, check out their teen room, scrutinize their seating choices, etc etc.
yes, i am that much of a geek.
i was very impressed by the auckland library, and i'll tell you i don't go easy on these foreign libraries. i really scrutinize them. first, they have a variety of excellent seating options. there are cushy seats with special little laptop tables, comfy couches, study tables, etc. everywhere you turn there's a little seating area with a different type of furniture, all of which were being utilized by the patrons. while we were there they implemented a high "express" counter that people could stand at and use their laptops or read books while drinking coffee. it was almost as if they designed the library with patron-use in mind. crazy.
there is also a very nice cafe attached to the library with a surprisingly good selection of food.
the library also implemented a variety of eye-catching displays. when we first arrived there was a rugby display. by the time we left town they had changed it to an exhibit of banned books.
of course they had the typical computer labs that you need to sign up for with your library card, but they were pretty liberal about how much time they'd allow you.
when i went to the circulation desk to see about getting a card i noticed that they had labeled the desk "issues." i really like the honesty in this labeling, because really, that's what the circulation desk is: dealing with a bunch of random often ridiculous issues.
i happen to be taking a couple of online classes, and i found some materials in the library that i wanted to take out. i thought it was a long shot, but i asked if it was possible for me to get a library card. amazingly, all they wanted was a letter saying that i am staying somewhere in auckland (accompanied by a photo id of course). now, they didn't want anything with official letter head, anything proving that i will be staying in auckland for any sort of extended period of time, or anything which would allow them to track me down after i left auckland (which actually was only days after my card was issued).
so i got a very shady letter from my hostel and i am now a member of the auckland library! oh the people of new zealand are so trusting! i could've walked off with hundreds of dollars of library materials never to be seen again!
anyway, there were many other things i would've liked to take pictures of but i was told by a librarian that there's no photography allowed in the library due to privacy issues. oh, auckland library, so considerate of the patrons!