June 6, 2019

Visiting libraries in Australia and New Zealand

I’m lucky enough to get to travel to Australia and New Zealand and visit their public libraries as part of my work with NoveList. Even half a world away, I still felt quite “at home” in those libraries. The sense of belonging is there when I walk in: a table display featuring new releases, the circ desk, and a welcoming atmosphere. While I’m literally on the other side of the earth, walking into those libraries feels like walking into my home library. 

This year I had the opportunity to visit 25+ library locations in Australia and New Zealand. I saw creative spaces and innovative programs and would like to share a few highlights: 

Ipswich Central Library in Queensland, Australia features a “Market Place” where staff and patron recommendations are displayed as if you are walking into a café or bookstore. The Market Place has been well received and succeeded in increasing circulation. 

Also in Queensland, I visited Logan City Council Libraries where we saw a small business/co-working space called “The Hive” which was created to inspire entrepreneurial efforts. Members of the community can meet in this unique space to brainstorm and discuss potential business ideas, opportunities in the community, and ways in which the library could be a resource. 

In New Zealand, I visited the Tūranga Library, which is part of the Christchurch City Libraries. This amazing new library opened in October after a devastating earthquake affected the area less than five years ago. The community continues to rebuild, and it is wonderful that the library is one of its key resources. There are 12 locations and, with the opening of the new library, has seen a significant increase in use and new library cardholders. 

Tūranga | Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand.

As a library lover, I took my time enjoying all the libraries I visited. I skimmed the shelves. I looked at the displays. I walked the floors. And, as I saw librarians help patrons find a new favorite read, I reflected on the fact that no matter where in the world you are, the goal is the same: connect the reader with a good book.

As an ambassador for NoveList, I’m always happy to see when we are a part of the library experience. Not only does NoveList help librarians and readers connect with global reading interests, we’re also able to identify unique themes and appeals for local reading communities, like “Outback Romance” for Australia. In fact, if you love them, we have ways to find them in NoveList!

Americans, Canadians, Aussies, and Kiwis alike — we all want that next great book. And we need that place in our communities to go, meet, and share: our public library. I’m keen!  

Amanda Winseck is the Director of Field Sales at NoveList. 

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