Exploring community-initiated libraries in New Zealand by Dr. Brenda Chawner

Dr. Brenda Chawner, the iSchool’s Visiting Dodson Professor until December 2018, will be offering a colloquium series talk on initiatives in New Zealand.


Exploring community-initiated libraries in New Zealand

New Zealand has over 100 libraries managed by volunteers, which typically operate independently from council‐managed public library systems. Although similar libraries exist in other parts of the world, New Zealand appears to have a significantly higher number than elsewhere, with most of these volunteer-run libraries starting as community-led initiatives. Some of these libraries have been operating continuously for over 100 years, while others have begun more recently. This seminar will present the results of a research project investigating the reasons these libraries exist, the services they provide, and their relationships with their local public library system and their community. Data were gathered using interviews with volunteers from selected libraries and staff at council-managed libraries, complemented by observations of volunteer library facilities and collections.  The findings reveal the value these types of libraries bring to their communities, and identify different models for council-funded libraries to support them.
About Brenda Chawner
Brenda Chawner is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington. Brenda has been employed at Victoria since 1997, where she teaches courses in metadata, information policy, and information services to specific groups. Brenda’s research interests include open access publishing, copyright and licensing of digital material, professional development, and flexible learning in information studies education. She is also interested in the use of volunteers in libraries, and in “independent” libraries that are not formally affiliated with a public library system. She is on the editorial boards of LIBRES and the Aslib Journal of Information Management.
Location: Chilcotin Room (256), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre