Coffee with a book raised

Coffee shops operating in libraries around the Queenstown Lakes district was one of the recommendations in a community survey conducted by the council.

There were 1765 completed responses, of which 97% were from library members.

Infrequent visitors who go once a month or less most commonly said they do not use the library more often because they live or work outside the district. A total of 13% said opening hours were a barrier.

Just over half or 51% visited the most popular district library, Wanaka, with Queenstown second at 39% and Arrowtown 24%.

The majority at 28% said they visited a library two to three times a month.

The range of books and the helpfulness and friendliness of staff rated highly in importance, along with the availability of books, opening hours and accessibility.

Of the 454 ''other'' replies, when asked why they did not visit a library more frequently, most said it was because they had departed the district or were only there on holiday.

Others said they read e-books instead, were too busy for their library, it had an old or limited range, or they were ''slow readers''.

Along with the coffee shop idea, suggestions included free or cheap Wi-Fi, a better online database, meeting and activity spaces, self-operated check-outs and book discussion groups.

Only 55% were aware members could borrow e-books and 42% were aware information about the council and its services could be accessed at libraries.

Views on charging for library services varied, with 88% supporting the existing system; 48% keen on free services for residents and ratepayers with costs covered by rates and 9% preferring an annual membership fee.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden said the results would be considered by the Library Taskforce, along with the feedback from community forums, which begin this week, and a report from consultants.

The taskforce will report to the council.