Libraries across the Waikato received a boost during the pandemic and Taumarunui and Thames Libraries have set up a home delivery service to ensure their book supplies stay available to everyone.
Taumarunui Community Libraries Manager Fiona Thomas says that the Covid restrictions highlighted the limitations many library users face in accessing the services.
"Our librarians developed relationships with our regular library users and were aware of the impact that Covid-19 and associated restrictions would be having on many of them ... especially ... [on] our older library users who live alone and are not online.
"In addition to losing access to their book supply, they were also missing the social and community connection that visiting the library provided."
So the librarians reached out to their regulars individually, offering to select and deliver books to their homes. Additionally, they can also help people access the library's digital content like e-books and audiobooks, information and research databases as well as movie streaming services.
The service was so successful over the lockdown period that it encouraged the Taumarunui librarians to establish a personal home library service permanently for those who have difficulties getting to a library, for example, due to disability or reduced mobility.
Due to the ongoing restrictions and staffing issues, the home library service is currently only available in Taumarunui but the council is keen to extend it to Ohakune and Raetihi libraries as well.
"With this new home delivery service and our mobile library service to Owhango, Kaitieke and National Park schools, we have a vision to expand mobile library coverage to the whole district and service all our rural communities and schools," Thomas says.
Thames-Coromandel District Council also has a home delivery service which is currently available in Thames only, but will soon be launched in Tairua as well.
Meanwhile, Hamilton City Council is looking to refresh its library strategy and is seeking community feedback.
The city currently has six libraries with books, magazines, audiobooks, digital newspapers, e-books, kits and access to online learning platforms.
Community Committee chairman Mark Bunting says libraries were precious taonga (treasures) that help shape vibrant, thriving, connected communities.
"They have such a crucial role in raising the bar in the cultural growth of Hamilton Kirikiriroa ... Because they're so intrinsic to the daily lives of many Hamiltonians, we're really interested to hear what our people think of our libraries and what we can do to make them more inclusive for all."
You can give feedback on Hamilton's libraries until March 11 here or pick up a hard copy at the council building at 260 Anglesea St or any Hamilton Libraries branch.
If you want help with accessing the Taumarunui Library services call 07 895 7538 or email email@example.com.