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300 per cent increase in library members during lockdown, and record online access

News from WCC
Wellington City Libraries’ online services broke every record in the book during the covid-19 alerts. As the lockdown started in March, the Libraries welcomed over 1,110 new members, a 300% increase compared to 2019.

The number of people using eResources remained high throughout, averaging 10,000 eBooks issued and 5,000 reserves per week. In the same period a year ago, the average number of ebooks issued was around 6,000, with 1,800 reserves.

Audiobooks averaged over 5,000 issues and 2,000 reserves per week. Audiobooks for the same time last year sat around 3,000 issues and 1,000 reserves.

“With Miramar Library opening this week, and Island Bay and He Matapihi opening on Tuesday, all our branches will have reopened – but with Level 2 restrictions there is still a lot of online activity going on,” says Laurinda Thomas, Wellington City Council’s Libraries and Community Spaces Manager.

“We are not running any face-to-face group activities under Alert Level 2, and our hours are a bit different from normal, so check our website before you visit. In the meantime, we are streaming our popular programmes such as Storytimes and Baby Rock & Rhyme, live on Facebook from Mondays to Saturdays, and the recorded Storytimes are available on the Kids pages of our website.

“We are planning for Alert Level 1, and we’re hoping that will see the return of many of our much loved programmes like Baby Rock & Rhyme to our libraries.”

Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ was one of the most popular adult ebook and audio book over the past two months, and the Harry Potter series remained the most popular audiobook for children, including the foreign language editions – although Horrid Henry was taking over from Harry in the ebooks stakes.

Such high levels of engagement with our library services during lockdown are reassuring for Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, Portfolio Leader for Libraries.

“There has been a library in Wellington for over a hundred years and the record use by residents during the lockdown shows the huge value and trust Wellingtonians place in library services today. We are so lucky to have such committed staff running our city’s libraries.

“The libraries of 2020 are not just about books – it’s audio, visual, historic, futuristic, online, offline, and for public events. Now that our branches are reopening, they’re also demonstrating what an important public space they are for residents as well.”

To meet the required social distancing for staff and customers Wellington City Libraries have introduced a number of systems to adhere to the Alert Level 2 guidelines, says Mayor Andy Foster. “We know everyone loves our libraries, but we ask visitors to limit their time to 30 minutes to let everyone have a chance to pop in while we’re still operating under Level 2 guidelines.

The Rippl app is in place too, so make sure you register through that or manually while we continue to use contact tracing systems for the health and safety of our staff and customers.”

Top 10 from Kanopy (April)

1 Ex Libris
2 The Dressmaker
3 The Phone Call
4 Carol
5 Kedi
6 Stash Short Film Festival: Comedy
7 Bobbie the Bear
8 The Trip to Spain
9 Bauhaus: The Face of the 20th Century
10 I Am Not Your Negro

Top 5 from Beamafilm (April)

1 Catherine The Great
2 Un Village Francais
3 Book Club
4 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
5 The Name of The Rose