One million new resources

Take the next step . . . Library staff such as Balclutha’s Kellie Post are standing by to help everybody reach a new universe of free, online assets. PHOTO: NICK BROOK

Clutha residents now have access to one million digital resources on a website launched by Clutha District Libraries on Monday, September 5.

The new libraries website was developed to give people a hub of access to a vast range of free services, programmes and resources.

‘‘It’s fantastic to introduce this new resource for our community,’’ libraries manager Debbie Duncan said.

‘‘We were able to do this at no extra cost to ratepayers, as the new website was fully funded by Government’s NZ Libraries Partnership Programme.’’

According to data from Public Libraries of New Zealand, virtual visits to library websites and social media channels increased by 125% over the past five years.

Ms Duncan said the proven demand for digital services showed people were realising ‘‘libraries are like icebergs’’.

‘‘Buildings full of books are just the tip. Online content is the vastness underwater.’’ ‘‘We now access more than 20 websites with 500,000 e›books, 120,000 audio books, 7500 movies and TV shows, creative and learning activities, genealogy research, job seeking and community funding information,’’ Ms Duncan said.

‘‘You can browse traditional book catalogues and find out about upcoming programmes and events. All you need is a library card, free from any of our community libraries or, of course, online.’’

The library’s selected apps and sites had paywalls, but the subscription costs were covered by NZ Libraries, so the free knowledge and entertainment — which would be especially welcomed by those on tight budgets — was covered by rates and national funding, she said.

Kellie Post has been in the tech›savvy position of customer experience and promotions officer at Balclutha Library for about two months.

‘‘The apps and resources reached through our website do have their own short processes before they can be used, but part of our everyday job here at the library is to show anyone how to do that, in person or over the phone,’’ Ms Post said.

Visitors to the new Clutha District Libraries site — — can scroll down to select from ‘‘read’’, ‘‘listen’’, ‘‘watch’’ and ‘‘discover’’ windows to navigate to the array of new options.

‘‘Libraries always have been and will be a public, democratic portal to knowledge,’’ Ms Duncan said.

‘‘The next step is the online universe, and it’s our job to make sure people of all ages can access those options.’’