Libraries in the good books for holidays

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Alice, 6, and Thomas Monteith, 11, from Hastings, enjoy the school holiday programme at the Hastings Library. Photo / Paul Taylor
Alice, 6, and Thomas Monteith, 11, from Hastings, enjoy the school holiday programme at the Hastings Library. Photo / Paul Taylor

Manhandling 100 big blue blocks up onto the mezzanine floor of the Hastings Library was worth the effort on Wednesday when more than 200 children made the most of the giant blocks throughout the day.

The Imagination Playground blocks, normally out for play in Albert Square, would not fit through the library door, so staff made a human chain and passed more than 100 blocks from the Hall of Memories to the upstairs activity area.

School holidays have added to the masses of people flocking to Hastings District libraries.

By mid-July the number of visitors to the Hastings Library for the month had reached almost 20,000, with 31,000 visitors an average July.

On one day last week 1100 people had used the Flaxmere Library - up from an average 700 on a school holiday weekday.

Havelock North Library is steady, with numbers tracking last year's totals. The big drawcards are the school library programmes and free internet and wifi, says Hastings District Council libraries manager Paula Murdoch.

Another contributing factor is the new weekday closing time, 6pm at all libraries, she says.

The free internet access, which came into effect from early July, has proved extremely popular - with more than 1000 tickets to use library computers given out in three weeks. A ticket gives a user one hour of access.

The libraries also have free wifi access which users can hook their own device in to, again on a ticket system for an hour per day. Parents are rediscovering the libraries and making the most of the programmes on offer, especially over these winter holidays, says Mrs Murdoch.

"Library staff always put real effort into coming up with programmes that the kids will love; but really the parents and the staff have just as much fun.

"These holidays we've had create your own Lego costume, with about 100 kids and 50 adults in a two-hour session, preschool story times, which bring in 60 kids and 30 adults, and a Minecraft session, with about 35 kids."

The latest computer game craze, Pokemon Go, has also caused a flurry of activity at the libraries with all three sites being Pokestops.

A Pop Up Poke meet was also held at the Hastings Library on Monday afternoon.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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