Auckland Central City Library

I think I have been asked for a virtual excursion at famous Auckland Central City Library nearly a year by my sister in law who is head of Library department in Tomsk State Medical University – I apologise for long waiting, but I have an excuse! First of all, I am busy as always; secondly, I am not a printed book fan and hence not a permanent library visitor; third and most important, you can’t just go into Central library anytime and make pictures of anything you want. Anyway, puzzle was solved and as result, you can watch a short tour below. Of course it is impossible to cover everything in 45 pictures with comments but I hope you will get some impression at least 🙂


Central City Library which I’m going to show you today is a part of Auckland’s regeon library network, which was created after 7 separate councils were merged in 2010. At the moment Auckland libraries is the biggest library network in Southern Hemisphere with 55 branches. It has approximately 3.5 million items including fiction and non-fiction books, music, CDs, DVDs, games, audio books, foreign languages and reference materials.

As you can guess, Central City Library is located at CBD. Library’s entrance is situated from Lorn street:

Behind the gates there are antitheft scanners preventing visitors from stealing books and other materials from library:

A little bit further there are registration tables with library staff happy to help you in any time, affaible but a little bit shy – only security guy had agreed to make a picture. Well, I didn’t insist.

Behind them there is another bigger staff table. Actually there are plenty of them:

Aucklanders can register in library for free. You can fill registration form which is printed in library or online and then come into library with your ID and Proof of address to activate your account. You will get library card with bar code which you have to scan every time you are going to borrow matereals from library using such kind of tables:

First, you are scanning your card, then you are scanning books – separately or all together, just put whole stack of them onto the table. So, as you can see, books registration procedure is very simple and fast, because you are saving time of your own and library staff. However, if book has any audio or video CDs, you have to ask librarian to register it.

You can borrow a book for 28 days, after that you can prolong that book for another 28 days if no one’s waiting for it. Books and another materials enquiries can be made through official library web site, so you don’t have to go into library. Few days before deadline you will get an email with reminding to return borrowed book to the library. Fees and library charges available here. After you finished reading or before deadline book should be returned to library through special wholes in the wall – they will be scanned by librarians and returned into proper department.

First floor have books for people learning foreign languages (I was very surprised when I found some Russian books), fiction books and books for children and also movies on DVD. You can borrow a movie just for $2. Some disks are free, mostly they are non-fiction movies. Opposite to that section there is Esquire coffee shop.

Also, there is a free internet access zone for library customers. Guests, I mean people who don’t have a library card, also can use these computers after being registered as visitors. For example, tourists, foreign students etc. Every year, approximately 12 million people visit Auckland Libraries to find something, borrow it, read it, search on the internet, learn something new, study, met friends, joint an event, computer learning classes and more. By the way, all PC have Microsoft Office programms, e.g: Word, Excel etc. Second floor also has its own computer zone. Computer session there lasts for one hour. First floor session is 20 minutes only:

Rigt at hand, on Ground Floor there is child zone where parents may leave their children while they are busy to find some books or reading them. Auckland librries programs includes Wriggle and Rhyme: Active Movement for Early Learning for babies; storytime for toddlers; book clubs for teens and adults:

Soft and very comfortable materials have choosen especially for child zone. So soft, that some visitors like to fall into childhood for a while 🙂

Library hall has a lots of places where visitors can have access to library catalogue and require information he needs. Take a look at bookshelf with yellow alpabet letters – if you reserved a book which is not available at the moment, it will be placed at this bookshelf especially for you after someone have finished reading so, you don’t have to worry about it. The same is true for books from another library branches – you can ask any book to be delivered into another branch which is more suitable for you. Readers will get notification from Library via email/phone/letter when book is ready and waiting for them. Books can be reserved through Auckland Livraries web site.

All right! Let’s go on Level 1 via elevators!

Or, using a lift. New Zealand has emphasized respect for people with disabilities and the Central Library is not an exception.

I have to note, Level 1 has non-fiction books only, while Ground floor has fiction books. I’d like to mention very well-chosen color design interior of Central City Library:

Music department with lots of CDs:

bookshelfs with books on different subjects

Another bookshelfs. There is thousands of them!

I managed to put my camera into silent mode but even this didn’t help and sometime I was being asked by librarians what I was doing there, because it is prohibited to make a pictures in library. I answered that I was making a pictures, made a smile and shown them my permit.

Another self-serving desk with PC:

Along the perimeter of the building, there are tables along the windows where anyone may sit down, read book or get internet access via own laptop, tablet or another device – most of Auckland libraries have WiFi routers. Registered users have 1Gigabyte internet traffic per day. Overal internet sessions amount is around 2.2 millions per year:

Digital library has more then 100 databases and provides access to information around the world, incdluding audio and e-books which can be loaded.

Don’t ask me how, but I got into library’s sanctuary – the repository of books!

Books repository facilities are located under ground and have two storeys:

Every year library visitors borrow around 15 millions of book and materials. All of them are returned and reshelved, equating to 45 million handling transactions per year:

I will not hide emotions, personally I was impressed greatly:

Written off books (there is massive clearanse of them every year in Library):

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Then I came into department of distribution of new materials, where all new books from around the world coming for Auckland Libraries: books are sorted, bar codes added, all information related is put inty library’s computer system and then books are delivered onto libraries bookshelves:

I think that occasionally I disturbed head of department who took my permit and went to management just to check whether I might make a pictures. Despite the fact that all was resolved safely, I didn’t manage to take some shots, which I regret because it was very interesting there!

After I thanked head of department for spending her time with me and saying goodbye, I went to the Level 2 , close to Central Auckland Research Centre.

Central Auckland Research Centre has one of the most comprehensive international Family History collections in a public library in the Southern Hemisphere and covers the following countries: New Zealand (including whakapapa), Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, mainland Europe, South Africa, USA, Canada and the Pacific Islands:

So if somehow you become interested in you family history or you are keen to learn how your ancestors came in Auckland or find their birth/marrieage/death sertificate you have to go there.

Here you can find big collection of Chinese settlement

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The Research Centre has a team of skilled research librarians specialising in local and family history research, and are available without appointment during Central Library’s normal opening hours:

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You can use any of the six microfilm/microfiche reader-printers to read the newspapers here.

Also, you can take a scan of an article or page of a newspaper and save the scanned pages as TIFF files onto a USB memory stick for free.

Newspaper department:

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I hope, I liked it and you will go to the library and register if you still haven’t done this and you will become a regular reader 🙂 Knowledge is power!

Official web site of Auckland Libraries aucklandlibraries.govt.nz

Working hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 8pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am – 4pm

I’d like to thank Auckland Library for permitition to photograph and also I’d like to thank Library staff members for their time and help!

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Ivan Grigoryev's Blog
Living in New Zealand. Blogging about the country, beautiful places, everyday life.
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