The Auckland Libraries Super Tour has been like a really long, but really good book – it takes over your life, eats up all your spare time, and you feel a bit sad when it ends! Over the past year, I’ve visited all of Auckland’s 55 libraries (well, 54 actually, because Manukau Library & Research Centre used to be 2). You also may be wondering about Great Barrier Island Library, which officially became part of Auckland Libraries on November 1st 2011 – because of its late inclusion, I didn’t visit it as part of the tour, but I’d definitely be keen to check it out at some stage in the future
Here are a few stats for you:
- I visited 55 libraries in 52 weeks
- I borrowed 70 books, 5 magazines, 1 DVD, 5 recipe books – that’s an average of 1.6 items per week
- I wrote 59 posts (54 library posts, plus a few book reviews and summaries)
- There are 212 comments on my blog posts, plus more on Twitter and Facebook
- 15,000 unique visitors have been to my blog
A few people have asked me which library has been my favourite, and while I can’t pick a winner, there have been a few highlights – the spacious Epsom Library, the beautiful design of Sir Edmund Hillary Library in Papakura, the ultra-modern Botany Library, the fantastic Tupu Youth Library, the arty Birkenhead Library and the funky Mangere East Library. And here’s the photographic evidence I really was there…
Now, you might be wondering what pearls of wisdom I have to share after visiting every one of Auckland’s libraries… 14 months on from the supercity library merge, I think Auckland Libraries is getting there. There are some things that are still quite separate about the libraries - multiple websites, some libraries branded as part of Auckland Libraries and some with out-of-date branding, some books not scanning in other libraries. But I think what I noticed the most is that the libraries really reflect the communities they are in – they each have a different ‘feel’, a different focus, are used in different ways and cater to different kinds of people.
At most of the libraries I visited, I could tell that the librarians and staff who worked there really cared about the experience people had when they were visiting the library – lots of smiles and offers of help, clever displays, well chosen recommended reading, tidy shelves, shared seating areas and book reviews. It’s obvious the libraries are in great hands.
A special thank you to Ryan Youens, my library tour companion, photographer, navigator, chauffeur, proofreader and husband. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it without you!
It hasn’t always been easy putting a new blog together for each library. They may be in different parts of Auckland and in different types of communities, but a library is a library is a library – a place with lots of books and friendly librarians. So thanks to each of you for joining me on my library tour – reading my blog, commenting, and giving me a good reason to keep going!
So, what’s next for me? Well, I’ve hinted at a few projects for 2012 – visiting all of NZ’s lighthouses, walking the length of NZ, visiting the smallest libraries in NZ – but none of those are on the cards for now! You can keep up to date with my reading list by following me on Shelfari, and you can follow my adventures on my new personal blog: Bark and Brioche.
Happy New Year!