A disgruntled librarian packs it up and leaves fabulous New York City behind,
going on random global adventures,
while simultaneously promoting literacy
and spreading the love of the written word.

Monday, October 3, 2011

dorking out in new zealand: auckland library

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!

one thing i do not approve of is that the new zealand public libraries seem to charge you in order to take out certain items.  for example, i needed to take out two dvds and they were $2 each.  cheap, sure, but it should be FREE!  there were also charges for new books and selected paperbacks.  audiobooks are free though which is strange because they are way more expensive than dvds, but i guess fewer people want to steal them?

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!


  1. 2 things:
    -materials from NZ are good since their educational system is considered to be amazing. lots of literacy experts there
    -hi :)

  2. i actually didn't get any NZ specific educational materials ... but i have been using their databases remotely (thanks to my library card!) to find articles for a paper i am writing.

    they all seem very smart here though, so i'm sure it's due to their stellar educational system ;)

    sent you a post card ... you may receive it in the next 3 months.

  3. Hi. I came across your post while doing some research for my students on Australian/NZ YA books. This is totally presumptuous of me but I was wondering if I could borrow your fancy new NZ library card to borrow an ebook. I teach in California and I ordered a book for my students over a month ago. It keeps getting delayed even though it's marked as "in stock." I saw that it's available as an ebook in the Auckland library and I'm desperate to get a copy for my students, even if they have to read it on my laptop. This is one of the few books they've been really interested in and I've tried a few other online stores but it's either not in stock or shipping is over $40(!!). If you could help, that would be fantastic. If not, no worries. Your blog is great!

  4. Hi Maggie,

    I would love to help you get your book, however, as a librarian the first thing I always tell people is never ever ever ever let anyone use your library card. So I can't go against my own sage advice, now can I?

    BUT, if you're in the US and are willing to wait until late November to receive this book, I'd be happy to try to buy it here and then ship it to you (at normal cost) once I got back to the states (assuming you reimburse me on paypal). Or some other potential option like that. So if you're interested in an option like that just tell me the title of the book and I'll start looking for it.

    Glad you enjoy the blog!

    Miss Dewey Decimal

  5. Thanks for responding! I tried to leave a comment with my email in the name, but alas that didn't work. I'll just leave it here: magali[dot]park[at]gmail[dot]com.