Tauranga City Libraries is hoping to crack the 50,000 membership mark this year as the Bay's population continues to expand.

At the end of 2017 it had 47,763 active members who used their library card in the last two years.

Libraries manager Joanna Thomas says compared to 2016 membership at Tauranga Libraries —Greerton, Papamoa, Mount Maunganui and Tauranga — had increased by 1494.

"We have been edging up to 50,000 active members for a while and we hope we can crack it this year."

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Greerton Library more than doubled its visitor numbers, from 93,080 to 193,243 while Papamoa Library went from 187,966 to 207,776.

"Our Greerton and Papamoa libraries are doing really well, and the visitor numbers show that the community wants and needs welcoming, purpose-built libraries that offer a variety of services. We have seen a small drop off in people visiting our Mount library, and a larger drop off at our central library, primarily as the central library is uninviting and has size restrictions, which limits how many children/classes it can welcome at once.''

"We would attribute the increase to people moving to Tauranga and Western Bay and that library cards are now free."

It also ran children's and teens' programmes to encourage reading and library use, she says.

"Our holiday programmes and children's activities are always popular and often get booked out quickly."

The programme Librarians would also visit schools and preschools and host parenting groups for early learning development, she says.

The library-based Summer Reading Programme and Teen Mean Reads which reward children and teens for reading over summer where also fun.

"This is a time when many children experience the "summer slump" — reducing their reading and returning to school with a lower reading level than when they left."

Spring into Reading works with low-decile schools and Whaia te iti Kahurangi bilingual programme was piloted at Te Wharekura o Mauao with Intermediate-aged children.

"Virtually every primary school in Tauranga experiences the central library through our partnership with the art gallery. Kids often take the message home and bring their parents on weekends. Schools with a local library close by, like Greerton Village School, make regular library visits part of their reading curricula."

"Last year 17,000 young people participated in our programmes, and the numbers grow every year."

The libraries have also had digital collections since 2003.

"Every month about 12,000 people visit our library website and download thousands of magazine and newspaper articles and local history pages. E-book use is increasing as we have more titles than ever."

Data revealed 2000 e-books were borrowed and over 1000 e-audio books — while there are 47,763 e-books at the libraries.

LIBRARY VISITOR NUMBERS 2016 AND 2017
Greerton 93,080 and 193,243
Mobile 20,464 and 23,758
Mount Maunganui 102,575 and 99,012
Papamoa 187,966 and 207,776
Tauranga 397,305 and 374,755