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Libraries Will Play An Important Role In The Future Of Local Government

A review into the future of local government is underway and libraries will play a vital role in how councils create a future for communities to prosper and thrive, says the Library and Information Association of New Zealand.

An online panel compered by Jehan Casinader, to be held on June 27, 3-4pm, will discuss the role that libraries will play to realise a new system of local governance that can effectively respond to a changing New Zealand.

“This is our opportunity to ensure that public libraries are viewed as essential and not just a nice to have, that we are a critical service, providing for individual and community well-being, now and into the future, well beyond the next 30 years,” says LIANZA President Erica Rankin.

“When I think about the value of libraries and their critical role in the lives of their communities there is one story that comes back to me time and again. Following the earthquakes in Christchurch, it took days and sometimes weeks to get our undamaged libraries up and running. However, several of our libraries were requisitioned as working space for displaced council staff providing essential services. The fact that we were unable to open their local libraries to the public, to offer much-needed support and services to our communities was very difficult for both our staff and our customers and they told us this in no uncertain terms. They let us know that being able to use the library was one of the things they needed most post-earthquake, to provide a place of connection, respite and familiarity amid the chaos, upheaval and uncertainty of their post-quake lives.”

Ms Rankin and Jehan Casinader will be joined at the event by Mirla Edmundson, General Manager Connected Communities, Auckland Council; Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager, Wellington City Council; Laurel-Jean Dennison, Library Diversity and Workforce Development Advisor, Hutt City Libraries; Wendy Walker, Chief Executive Porirua Cities; Gael Surgenor, a member of the Future for Local Government Review Pane; and Alex Walker, Mayor, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council.

“Libraries’ role in our communities needs to be taken more seriously,” says Ms Rankin. “The panel gives us an opportunity to talk about the important work we are and can be doing in 30 years’ time to support our communities respond to changing needs in areas such as digital inclusion.

“Libraries are trusted places in their communities and can build engagement to support more diverse community engagement and local democracy. A genuine partnership with iwi may lead to libraries looking and operating differently.

“This panel is a beginning point for the library and information sector to feed into the review process which is not expected to be completed until 2023.”

Compered by Jehan Casinader, panellists will discuss how libraries will become the cornerstone for local government - strengthening community well-being and relationships, providing access to local and global information, and supporting (digital) literacy and life-long learning.

This online hui is open to anyone in local government and regional councils, libraries, local boards, and library users.


Register for this public event here

Find out more about the panel members

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