Library open to world

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Bookworms around the globe can now access Wakatipu online.

Libraries in the Wakatipu have gone global – thanks to their new online service.

Bookworms in Queenstown, Arrowtown, Glenorchy and Kingston have been logging in to local borrowing facilities from home since the networked libraries website was launched in early December.

The first official feedback figures show the site has already been accessed from a dozen countries around the world, too.

People in places as far afield as the Czech Republic, United States, Cambodia, Singapore and Britain have been using it.

And Robyn Robertson, boss of Queenstown Library, is delighted at the response.

“The statistics showing users from outside New Zealand are a nice surprise,” she says. “We’re just happy the internet is making the library more accessible to more people.”

There are almost 11,000 registered library members in the resort alone.

The new online facility means people can now check what they have on loan, renew items, reserve books and see what titles are available without having to step in the door.

There’s also a wealth of national databases and research resources to be tapped into, such as newspaper and magazine stories from past and present, genealogy information and online encyclopaedias.

“Primarily, borrowers are visiting the site to check their own library usage and browse our catalogue of books,” explains Robertson.

“In a place like Queenstown, where people often work odd hours, this can be of particular use. It’ll also be handy for those who might live in remote areas or when the weather gets bad in winter.”

Judith Terpstra, who manages the website, advises anyone having trouble using the service for the first time to either phone or visit their local library for assistance.

“We’ve had a great response but have encountered a few teething problems and technical issues which we’re working through.

“The more direct feedback we get from people, the better.”