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Award recognises Waitakere library service

Media release

August 26, 2008

National award recognises Waitakere library service’s contribution to race relations

Waitakere Library & Information Services has won a national award for its contribution to improving race relations in its community.

New Zealand Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres and Australia’s Social Justice and Race Relations Commissioner Tom Calma jointly presented the service with a Human Rights Commission New Zealand Diversity Action Award at New Zealand Diversity Forum in Auckland on Monday night. It was one of 11 recipients presented with awards on the night.

The accolade recognises the efforts of the Waitakere Library & Information Services’ multicultural and migrant team in promoting diversity through the range of programmes it offers.

Waitakere Library & Information Services was the originator of the national forum on libraries and diversity, which attracts librarians from throughout New Zealand. In the three years since the inception of the programme Waitakere has played a key part in organising this annual forum.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey paid tribute to the council's library staff in particular who have embraced the diversity of Waitakere.

"Since the early days of Croatian and Dalmatian gum-diggers through to Dutch immigrants in the 1950s and 60s, the Pacific Island communities in the 70s, 80s and today, we have always been a welcoming, all-inclusive community,” he says.

“In many ways Waitakere is a microcosm of what this country will look like in 20 years time; a wonderful melting pot of cultures all contributing to a vibrant and welcoming city.”

Waitakere Library & Information Services’ multicultural and migrant section provides new migrants access to the library and its services as well as information on other services in Waitakere to help them in their settlement process.

For those missing a slice of home, the service has an extensive collection of adult and children books in more than 40 different languages from Afrikaans and Albanian to Tamil and Vietnamese.

The service also organises regular cultural events to promote literacy, reading and learning English and recognises significant cultural and religious events through displays at libraries.

For more information about multicultural and migrant services through Waitakere Library & Information Services, visit www.waitakerelibs.govt.nz or ask at your local library.


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