Wellington libraries feel the love

7 March 2019

Wellingtonians have spoken and they definitely love their libraries, and there is a special place in their hearts for smiling librarians.

Image of Mayor with library staff

From left: Mayor Justin Lester, Laurinda Thomas (Libraries & Community Spaces Manager), Brigid Brammer (Coach Lib & Community Spaces), and Kathleen Lockett (Coach Lib & Community Spaces)

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Wellington City Council librarians this month put out the call for people to express their feelings for their local libraries in a #ilovemylibrary competition and were flattered, even touched, by the feedback.

The competition received 270 entries, including 80 from young children. Many, including those from adults, included art drawings.

The winning entries were chosen by Mayor Justin Lester, who says he was impressed by how much feeling libraries evoked.

“The competition got a boost on Valentine’s Day when they put out a plea that the books were ‘not feeling your love’ and I was delighted to see so many entries proclaiming the opposite.”

Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, who holds the Community Facilities Portfolio, says libraries are one of Council’s core services.

“It is clear Wellingtonians love libraries, we are so lucky to have such wonderful staff helping inspire readers of all ages, every day,” she says.

Libraries and Community Spaces Manager Laurinda Thomas says libraries find it hard to get feedback from their customers about what they value.

“This has been good for finding out why people use us.

“It has also helped staff understand what their impact is. You see your regulars and know what they need, but sometimes it can be difficult to know if you have really helped people. Now we know we are helping them and making a difference in their lives.”

Mayor Justin Lester's Love Library picks

There were three winners from social media postings, with one, Andie, saying “The library is a pit stop for the soul”

Child winner:

“I love my library because it’s just so amazing to see how many books there are sometimes. I get out so many books I can’t read them all before I go to the library again.

My favourite library is Wellington Library because it has COUNTLESS BOOKS.” - Isabel

Adult winner:

“As an immigrant, the library taught me language.

As an awkward teenager, it gave me friends and hopes.

As a young mother, it gave me stories to read to my baby.” - Annie

Older children winner:

“My library is a window to knowledge,

A source of inspiration

You can do anything!

Befriend firebreathers

As big as mountains

Or dive into the heart of Ancient China

Greeting Emperor Qinshihuang as an old friend.

My library is like pick-and-mix lollies,

You can choose whatever you like!

Fiction, non-fiction, comics, picture books, and magazines.

My library is generous

The counter lady’s voice is like a sweet cello

And her smile could melt ice.

She gives help freely.

Anywhere is real in my library,

Where would you go?

A fantasy castle in King Arthur’s time,

To meet your knight in shining armour?

Or to a fairy’s home sweet home

With elegant unicorns and their glistening horns

Maybe high up in the sky to a cloud kingdom

As soft as marshmallows.” - Nyvein

The entries will go up in libraries so people’s thoughts on their libraries can be shared.