We love our libraries in Auckland – especially since Rodney Hide dared suggest they weren’t core business for a council, and his mum had to put him right! City Vision people certainly believe they’re core to what Auckland Council offers everyone. On day 1 of the Auckland ‘supercity’, Auckland Libraries’ posters said ‘One city. 55 libraries’ and it was true. Everyone loved it that reserves were free now, and that you could borrow a book in Devonport and return it in Waiuku if you liked. Look for a book in the library catalogue after reading a review – in the Canvas? In the New York Times? And there it is! Already on the shelf! (How do they do that…?) Or if it isn’t, ask them to buy it – and they do!
And if we’ve got children or grandchildren – Storytime! (in Mandarin? Yes!) Wriggle and Rhyme!

Democracy, though?
Yes, democracy. This year for the first time, there will be a local body election ballot box – with a guard! – in every library, for the whole election period. Many people are concerned that people don’t post letters much anymore, and that NZ Post is taking away lots of post boxes that were handy to people, especially older people. When was the last time you posted a letter? Do you have stamps handy? Auckland Council wants to be in a trial of online voting – but when that happens, Auckland Libraries will step straight up to show anyone who wants help, how to vote online.

But democracy isn’t just about voting. It’s about getting access to the same information as other people – knowing how to get access. Government departments are taking away their offices and telling people to use their websites. That’s just dandy for people who have no computer and anyway, no idea how to use one. Step up Auckland Libraries! They provide the access to the websites, but also are willing to help people use them – without making them feel small.

Summer reading – the Dare to Explore programme – is about democracy too. Kids from many families just stop reading over summer, and their skills drop and drop. Some kids come to their local library every day over summer, and participation in Dare to Explore not only keeps up their reading skills but makes them expert users of libraries.

Modern libraries are so many things. They are venues for after school programmes, they host author talks and they have makerspaces for 3D printing. They are always up with the play – and they offer equal access to everyone in our great city. City Vision will always guard them safe.

If you’ve missed posting your voting document by Wednesday 5 October you can still vote by taking your voting paper to a ballot boxes in a local library by noon on Saturday 8 October.

More on How to Vote

[Thanks to former Librarian and retiring Albert-Eden Local Board member Helga Arlington for sharing her love of libraries]