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Auckland City Libraries Go Online

AUCKLAND CITY LIBRARIES GO LIVE @ www.akcity.govt.nz/library

Auckland City Libraries today launched its web site, giving the city’s residents 24-hour, 365 day-a-year access to their public libraries.

The site brings residents and library members within desktop reach of:
Auckland City Libraries’ entire catalogue of some 1.3 million print, audiovisual and electronic items held in its collections Business information services, including access to a database of more than 1300 leading business and management publications

CITY: a database of several thousand community groups and organisations throughout the city
Iwidex: a database of Maori resources.

Library members can find out which library has the book they want, and if it is already out, they can put a hold on a book by email, anytime night or day and from home, work or school. They can find out where’s best for coffee when they go to pick up the book. Their children can find homework resources. Their family historian can learn what geneaology resources are available and how to get started on the research. And, if the rest of the worldwide web is just too hard to navigate, there’re dozens of links to the best sites - all handpicked by specialist librarians.

Members can even view their personal records, to find out what other books they have on hold and what, if any books, are overdue.

www.akcity.govt.nz/library is understood to be the most comprehensive public library site of its kind in New Zealand.



“This is a huge electronic leap forward for our libraries and the people of Auckland. The web site will provide for much greater access to the huge resources of our libraries,” says Auckland City mayor Chris Fletcher.

“Central to the concept of a knowledge based society and economy is access to resources. The Internet provides a great tool to allow citizens and communities to be informed and in touch with the city, country and world.”

City Librarian, Barbara Birkbeck, says the libraries set out to achieve a site that was, from the outset, the best it could be.

“We wanted a world class and exciting site that keeps the city’s libraries relevant and accessible into the 21st Century.”

Most of the site is accessible to all-comers, although access to specialist services such as the business publications on line is only available to Auckland City Libraries members. Membership of the libraries is free to Auckland City residents.

“The web site is our book bus of the 21st century, only much more comprehensive and able to be used by many more people.

“Twenty five years ago, our book buses made library services relevant and accessible to a section of the community that was missing out.

“Now, as we go into the new millennium, the web site will help our libraries to stay relevant and accessible to another section of the community in times of rapidly changing information, recreation and learning needs.”

She says the site was developed after the libraries discovered through research that a significant group of Aucklanders was being denied access to publicly funded library services. “These Aucklanders are time-poor. They are well educated and computer literate, but they don’t have time to spend searching for what they want in a library.

“We realised that to continue to provide equitable public library services for all Auckland City’s citizens, we had to find a way to deliver these services in a way that was more relevant to this group.

“We’re delighted to say, we’ve done it!.”

Ends

For more information contact

Barbara Birkbeck
Auckland City Librarian
Ph 379 2021


8 November 1999

LIBRARY SITE REFLECTS ENERGY OF ITS CONTRIBUTORS

Virtual tours of rare manuscripts, family history resources, and guest columns are just some of the exciting features of the web site launched today by Auckland City Libraries.

The site showcases not just the libraries’ vast storehouse of knowledge and information, however. Also remarkable is the sheer energy involved from everyone concerned in bringing it together.

The site’s developer, Paul Reynolds, of Auckland based company McGovern & Associates, says that with about 1000 files, the site makes a brilliant contribution to the growing knowledge base of the Internet. “The Library staff have done a superb job. They started out with very good ambitions and, maintained focus and commitment right to the end . Too many projects start with great intentions, and then fall away. In this case every week of the project moved the energy up another notch.”

Three key factors have contributed to the site’s success, he says. The first was the high quality of the Libraries' existing collections, the second the skill of librarians in searching out the materials to link with on the world wide web, and the third was the Libraries’ willingness to pick up the challenge of becoming a digital library.

While librarians contributed content and energy, Auckland City’s own IT staff achieved the problem-fraught task of web enabling internal back-end systems, including the entire library catalogue of some 2 million print, audiovisual and electronic items. “Normally, this kind of stuff is put in the too hard basket, and out-sourced,” says Paul, “ But the City team just picked it up and did it. They were just brilliant - pure professionals”

At the McGovern end, Paul says designing the navigation was a major part of their job. “We set out to make the navigation almost intuitive so that people would move easily from one section to another. This meant the design had to be equally seamless, with every image required to pay it’s rent in functionality. Helen Smith, the designer has done a superb job, as has the information architect, Chad Taylor, with Vinnie Stubbs, who coded our end right on time with every line. But it would all have meant nothing without the Library staff. They were with us every step of the way”.

The end result, he said, was an exciting web site that Aucklanders could be very proud of.

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