Adrienne from Kāpiti Coast District Libraries reads online during the weekday ‘Tamariki Time’.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced all kinds of community services, including Kāpiti District libraries, to temporarily close their doors, staff are finding creative ways to continue to connect with their communities.
Kāpiti Coast District Council's Libraries and Arts Manager, Ian Littleworth, says providing library services virtually has had its challenges, but has shown that a wealth of library resources can be delivered online – and the community is open to connecting in new ways.
"We have an active library community in Kāpiti and we welcome over 250,000 visitors through our doors each year. We're heartened to see customers turning to our digital resources from their own home with a 500% increase in new users accessing eBooks and eAudio through our free Axis360 platform in April," says Mr Littleworth.
The Axis360 app is available as a free download for your phone, e-reader or computer. There are over 5,000 digital titles, from popular fiction and international bestsellers to children's books, travel guides, cook books and more. They're all free to borrow, and there's no late fees.
"The team have increased the frequency of our online book groups to bring people together through shared reading and run regular 'Tamariki Time' story time sessions at 10.30am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays via Facebook Live which has been really popular.
"The online book groups are running at different times of the week so people can find one that suits and use Zoom to meet new people, just like in a book club.
"Our digital resources aren't just eBooks though, we also have magazine and newspaper articles, biographies, science and business information, in various formats, including images, sound, video clips and other multimedia. Library users can access these items through the website, and the free eMagazine and newspaper platform, Pressreader.
"We can't wait to welcome our community back into our libraries but in the interim, I'm really proud and excited about what we can deliver online," says Mr Littleworth.
All items currently on loan are not due back until the libraries reopen, and there will not be fines for this period. Like other libraries around New Zealand, staff are also investigating what additional services will be available in Alert Level 2, including the feasibility of a click and collect system.
If you're not a library member already it's still possible to join from home. To become a member visit the library homepage: https://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/libraries/. This provides access to all the digital platforms, including Axis360 and Pressreader.
Visit the Kāpiti District Libraries website and Kāpiti Coast District Libraries Facebook page for further information on digital resources. All updates on services are published on Kāpiti Coast District Council's COVID-19 webpage. https://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/our-district/cdem/covid-19/