Public libraries

Public libraries are for the whole community. Many school libraries work closely with their local public libraries and encourage their students to become library users both within and beyond the school library environment.

Christchurch's  Upper Riccarton Library

Upper Riccartion Library, Christchurch


Collaborating with your public library
Public libraries online
Public libraries around the world

Collaborating with your public library

The Upper Riccarton Library in Christchurch is an excellent example of collaboration. Opened in 2006 it is located on the grounds of Riccarton High School, the library shares its services with the school but also provides facilities (through its Learning Centre) for community and other school groups to discover and integrate new technologies and skills into their learning.

Regular visits to the public library as part of your school’s learning programme will enrich students’ reading and build their confidence as library users.

Consider the following strategies:

  • Talk to your students about borrowing from the public library – show them your library card and talk about visiting the library - how it is the same as the school library, how it might differ…
  • Invite the Children’s Librarian to visit the class / school and introduce themselves and their role, and the resources their library can offer.
  • Arrange a visit by the students to the public library if feasible. If distance to the public library distance is a barrier, perhaps organise a trip with the school van and the school library could organise a once a fortnight/ month returning of public library books.
  • Send library membership forms / brochures etc home to parents with a note encouraging them to visit the library with their children.
  • Publicise the library eg in school newsletters or via a link on the school website... location, opening hours, contact details, etc.
  • Liaise with the local library about promoting any special activities or events such as visiting authors, summer holiday reading programmes, or competitions.
  • Share art or other reading-response work by students for display in the library, as appropriate.
  • Organise for your student librarians to have a special visit to the public library "behind the scenes".
  • Encourage all staff in your school to promote the library to their students too!

Successful collaboration with your local public library can also have benefits for whole families with school students encouraging their parents and siblings to go to the public library after school and during the weekends and school holidays.

Public libraries online

Many public libraries have appealing and useful websites for children and young adults and their parents, with advice, recommendations, and links. What about the library in your area? Here are a few libraries to explore online:

The Directory of New Zealand Libraries has contact details and locations for New Zealand libraries and incorporates services to support library business such as interloan services. Updated monthly, the directory is available through Te Puna Services.

New Brighton Public Library

New Brighton Public Library Christchurch

Public libraries around the world

Take a virtual visit to some public libraries around the world that have re-invented their space and design, their approach to collections, and their understanding of patrons as "customers"...

  • Almere Library, Netherlands Ten years ago, facing competition from other information sources and dwindling interest, the main library in Almere realised something drastic need to be done to re-establish the branch as an information destination and community hub. They started by surveying their existing members and discovered that some interesting ‘customer profiles’ emerged...
  • The Indie Librarian blog has a post Library Dreamspaces in Europe featuring David Adjaye exploring the beautiful architecture of Peckham Library in London and two others in Lyons, France. Back in the UK he talks to architect Wil Alsop about his design for the Peckham Library and the importance of architecture and community in this BBC video clip.
  • An innovative community library in Magdeburg, East Germany
  • Demco is a UK library design company, specialising in the design, specification, installation and project management of library refurbishment and new build projects. From the Home page you can go to Projects and to Public Libraries to see some photos of their work.