Wanaka first in library use

The Wanaka Library is the most-used of the seven public libraries in the Queenstown Lakes district, according to those who filled out a recent survey.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council produced a voluntary survey last year seeking community views on library services in the district as part of a review to help shape future service delivery and the council's 10-year plan.

Almost all (97%) of the 1765 completed responses were from library members.

The results showed during the past year, 51% of respondents had visited the Wanaka Library, followed by the Queenstown Library on 39%.

When asked which library they had most recently visited, 47% said Wanaka and 30% said Queenstown. Arrowtown was third in both cases.

The range of books available and the helpfulness and friendliness of staff rated high in importance. Other factors were the availability of books, accessibility and opening hours - a barrier for 13% of respondents.

''The Wanaka Library is open from 10am to 5pm. Who can get away from work during those hours? If a movie theatre, pub, supermarket, garage etc. can be open until late, why can't a library?'' one person said.

''Busy with work and kids, if it opened before 10am I would probably get there more often,'' another wrote.

Common suggestions for additional services and facilities included a coffee shop, free or cheap Wi-Fi, a better online database, meeting and activity spaces, self-operated check-outs and book discussion groups.

Views on charging for library services varied: 88% liked the current system; 48% were keen on free services for residents and ratepayers with all costs covered by rates; 9% preferred an annual membership fee.

Many people said they owned electronic readers which meant they no longer required library services to the same extent.

The results will be considered by the council's library task force, along with the feedback from several community forums which began this week in Queenstown and Arrowtown, and a report from consultants. The task force will ultimately report back to the council.

The remaining library forums are at: Lake Wanaka Centre, Feb 3, 5.30pm; Hawea Community Centre, Feb 3, 7pm; Kingston Community Centre, Feb 7, 7.30pm; Glenorchy Community Centre, Feb 13, 7.30pm.

- lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz