Calls to extend central library hours
September 21, 2018
A new petition calling for longer, more flexible hours at the central library will be presented to Wellington City Council.
On Thursday, Rose Phillips and Bernard O’Shaughnessy will present a petition calling for the council to extend the central city library’s Sunday hours from an existing three-hour-slot between 1pm to 4pm, to match Saturday’s 9.30am to 5pm hours.
The petition has gathered strong community support with over 111 signatures.
Phillips said she had written to council after seeing a growing number of people waiting outside the library before it opened on Sundays and wanted to see more user-friendly hours.
For O’Shaughnessy, the petition was about increasing accessibility for locals and recognising that libraries were busy community spaces for people from a wide range of backgrounds to meet.
“There are doctors, tradespeople, teachers, nurses and lawyers who have signed, but most importantly parents of children who just really want the option and opportunity to take their children to the library.
“I’m very supportive of libraries and have had an involvement with them all my life in all sorts of ways,” he said.
In May he presented a 66-strong petition to the council by asking to extend Newtown Library’s hours on Saturdays from 12.30pm to 4pm.
His petition was successful and the council agreed to a year-long trial, but Wellington city libraries and community spaces manager, Laurinda Thomas, said so far the extra hours had been “fairly quiet”.
“It’s busy up until about 2 o’clock and then gets quieter after that.
“The staff are looking at running some programmes over the next couple of months to get more numbers into the library and raise awareness in the community that it is open longer hours, and to create a leaflet.”
The library hoped to capture the number of people in the library, the number of checkouts and the types of enquiries asked of the library during this trial period.
She said each library played a slightly different role in its community, meeting different demands and serving a unique purpose.
“For the Newtown community, it’s actually having the Library open as a space for the community. We don’t necessarily get a higher number of issues but the community use is higher.”