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Streamlining library services for Hutt City

Streamlining library services for Hutt City and Wellington

A shared library service is a step closer after today's announcement by Wellington and Hutt City Councils of a feasibility study into a common library computer system.

A common library computer system will provide enhanced customer access to library collections and services. It will mean that customers will have access to over 1.2 million books, magazines and DVDs as well a suite of online databases with over 10,000 full text articles including business, science, health and entertainment.

A feasibility study will determine the benefits and costs of Wellington and Hutt City Libraries sharing a common library computer system. At the centre of the study will be Whekenui, Wellington City Libraries' state of the art library computer system. The fully web-enabled, US-based system has been well received by library customers and is able to be expanded to host other libraries.

Hutt City is scheduled to upgrade its system in 2005/6. Investigation will focus on maximising both Councils' investment in library computer technology.

Wellington City Council Chief Executive Garry Poole says the establishment of a common computer system will provide a platform for the future integration of all library services between the two Councils.

"Ideally longer-term it makes sense to have complete regional integration of library services but the first step is linking together to look at improving library services for the people in Wellington and Hutt City."

Mr Poole says the joint computer system will provide an enhanced customer service.

"Basically it will make things easier for customers - they will be able to search across both library collections and access an enhanced range of online tools in the library or from work, home or school."

Hutt City Council Chief Executive Rik Hart says he is excited about the opportunity of working more closely with Wellington City Council on shared library services.

"This is great news for the people of Hutt City. It means we can afford to have a very smart computer system that on our own we would have been unable to purchase. Over time we would like to share all of our library services with the ultimate goal being that people in Hutt City would be able to use library services in Wellington City and vice versa.

"We have already tested the waters by working together and forming a joint water management company to jointly manage water services within the two cities and we know there are benefits to be had for the ratepayers of both Councils in sharing the costs of the computer system."

Mr Poole says the move towards joint library services shows the strong commitment both Councils have to strengthening library services across the two cities, promoting life-long learning.

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