Reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Virtual reads keep libraries central to region's needs

Overall issues down but e-publication demand surges as ease of downloaded reading catches on
More than 13 million books were borrowed from Auckland public libraries in 2015. Photo / iStock
More than 13 million books were borrowed from Auckland public libraries in 2015. Photo / iStock

Aucklanders are big readers, if the circulation of its public libraries is anything to go by, with more than 13 million books borrowed in 2015.

Between January and November the region's around 1.4 million residents took out 13,646,419 books and paid 12,562,503 visits to its 55 libraries.

"Issues have dropped a little bit on the previous year, but our e-issues are going up enormously," regional collections manager Louise LaHatte said.

E-issues of magazines in November 2015 were up 148 per cent on November 2014 with e-books, e-audiobooks and e-magazines representing 13 per cent of all issues.

"They're great for over summer, because you don't have to worry about whether you've got enough books to read, because you can always download more, as long as you have access to Wi-Fi.

"It's quite interesting looking at the top titles.

"Nearly every month it's either OK! magazine or Hello! magazine, which is quite funny.

"But another really popular one is The Economist - so it's from the sublime to the ridiculous in a way."

This financial year $59.6 million was spent on libraries - which Ms LaHatte said was worth it.

"Libraries are about helping people to make sense of the world they live in and to be able to function better in that world.

"A couple of weeks ago in Henderson someone who was homeless came in and, with the library's help, set up an email address and a job application."

Ms LaHatte said the man spent time in the library helping staff help other homeless people, which he added to his CV. "He came back the next day and said he'd been offered a job.

"That's when we know we're really making a difference."

There are more than a million members of the libraries, who have access to about 3.5 million items.

"That includes our e-books and magazines, sheet music and CDs.

"We still even have a smallish collection of long-playing records."

In different areas, favourites varied, with the most borrowed novels for the region's four busiest libraries - Central City Library, East Coast Bays Library, Henderson Library and Manukau Library - being entirely different.

In Central Auckland, New Zealander Eleanor Catton's 2013 Man Booker Prize-winning, 832-page historical novel The Luminaries was the most borrowed work of adult fiction, while in Henderson it was American author James Patterson's Invisible.

Over on the shore, the East Coast Bays' most circulated novel was Bittersweet, by Australian Colleen McCullough while Manukau's most popular was Huang Kuan - a monthly magazine in Chinese of stories written for youths.

The Luminaries featured in the top 10 at Central Auckland and Henderson libraries, but did not make it into the top 20 at East Coast Bays and Manukau.

Lee Child novels featured on the top 20 in Central Auckland, Henderson, Manukau and at East Coast Bays.

Central Auckland non-fiction readers tended to borrow books to help them learn English, though comedian Lena Dunham's autobiography, Not That Kind of Girl, took out sixth place in the most-borrowed non-fiction stakes and Amy Poehler's Yes Please came in at ninth - one ahead of the road code.

The road code was also the book most likely to go missing, with 57 copies having disappeared over the years.

Stanley Gibbons' Simplified Catalogue: Stamps of the World topped the non-fiction charts out West and in the East Coast Bays.

The most popular CD in Henderson, East Coast Bays and Manukau was 100 Sing-Along-Songs for Kids, by the Cedarmont Kids, while in Auckland Central, sheet music (The Rio Grande: set for chorus, orchestra and solo pianoforte) topped the chart.

For kids, big hits were graphic novel Ming Zhen Tan Ke'nan (Detective Conan), by Gosho Aoyama (Auckland Central), John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (Manukau) and Mouse in Space! by Geronimo Stilton (East Coast Bays).

Central Auckland library had the highest number of visitors, with 1,119,457 people crossing the threshold during 2015.

This was followed by the 360,556 visits for East Coast Bays Library, 349,211 for Henderson and 320,907 for Manukau.

The quietest library was Great Barrier, with 13,656 visitors and 13,446 issues in 2015.

Central Auckland Top 10 Adult Fiction

(Nov 2014 to Oct 2015)

1. The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton
2. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
3. The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
4. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
5. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
6. Inferno - Dan Brown
7. Fifty Shades of Grey - E. L. James
8. And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini
9. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
10. Personal - Lee Child

Most popular books

(Nov 2014 to Oct 2015)

1. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
2. Personal - Lee Child
3. Never Go Back - Lee Child
4. The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton
5. Divergent - Veronica Roth
6. The Karate Mouse - Geronimo Stilton
7. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
8. The Maze Runner - James Dashner
9. The Burning Room: a novel - Michael Connelly
10.The Long Haul - Jeff Kinney

22 banned from public libraries

More than 20 people were issued trespass notices banning them from libraries in Auckland last year, and 49 incidents of thefts, threatening behaviour and assaults were reported to police.

Between January 1 and November 11, 2015, Auckland Council issued 22 trespass notices to people displaying antisocial behaviour across its 55 libraries.

But the council says the security issues at libraries are no different to those of other public buildings or places.

On average, 35,940 people visit Auckland's 55 libraries and 3200 people visit the Central City Library every day.

"Using the figures above, it is possible to calculate that visits to libraries which result in some form of security incident are 0.0005 per cent of all visits," Libraries general manager Allison Dobbie said.

"Our priority is looking after our customers and staff in a welcoming environment. However, with so many enjoying our libraries, on rare occasions we do have issues with antisocial behaviour.

"All our staff and security are trained to manage difficult situations in our libraries."

She said training was part of the induction programme for all frontline staff.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 25 Oct 2016 07:47:39 Processing Time: 649ms