Refurbishment at Central Auckland Research Centre and Central Library, Auckland

Happy New Year!

Central City Library in Lorne Street had a make-over last year. To minimise disruption to customers, the refurbishment was done one floor at a time.

This meant that when the First Floor was closed, the only computers available to use was on Level 2 in the Research Centre - so there was a lot of competition for a much smaller pool of computers. We are grateful to our customers for their patience!

Central Auckland Research Centre on Level 2 was completed first. The result is a much improved floor plan with better flow - a lighter brighter space, with plenty of seating. The resources are easier to see and aren't so crammed in. Hopefully a much more welcoming environment.

We achieved this by moving the newspaper service down to the First Floor, and using the former newspaper room as a place for computers, microfilm readers; microfilm cabinets and CD-Rom collections.

We also judiciously weeded our collections. Nothing important was removed - most of the "weeding" was disposal of items with out-of-date information (research guides for example), triplicate / quadruplicate copies and items that had on-line presence on multiple websites. We also removed duplicates and put them into our basement stack - we took large runs of titles and put them in the basement, keeping representative copies on the open shelves, so people know to ask for other years (for example telephone books, Victorian County Histories, Burke's Peerages, Army, Navy and Air Force Lists etc). And we've kept the more popular New Zealand electoral rolls for election years from 1981 out on the open shelves, but have put the in-between rolls into a side stack room on the floor. These are requestable, and just take a few minutes to retrieve.

This has given us more space for people, and allows us to have more space for our growing collections.

We are still tweaking with the layout, as we receive feedback both from staff working in the space, and also from customers visiting.

If you visit and can't find something, please do ask. It might just be in different place, or even in our basement. Ask us and we will find it for you.

Our large format map collection was about the only thing that we removed. The cabinets are so huge - sadly we just didn't have the space for it. These maps were donated to good homes within various NZ Society of Genealogist branches and interest groups.Maps are available online in various places as well.

Our main Reference Desk has changed places too - it's now down the opposite end of the Research Centre near the computers, and we also have staff circulating on the floor that you can call on for assistance.

You may also see new faces in the Research Centre. Our team is the now called the "Research and Information team" - and we are now a team of 17 full and part time staff. We also look after some of the collections on the First Floor. With the new staff and responsibilities, our specialties have grown to include Music, Law, current Council documentation, car manuals and Statistics.

In addition to our current team members, the staff from other teams in Central Library may also be rostered to work in the Research Centre. The sharing of staff resources is to enable us to have a more flexible workforce, and to ensure that we all know something of each others collections and responsibilities.

This of course means that on-the-job training and coaching is taking place. Subject specialist help is still not too far away if  the rostered staff member can't help - one or more of us is usually around, and staff can ring a call bell, or we also offer Book A Librarian sessions for longer more in-depth questions.

The Book a Librarian service is being offered to those customers who
  • need assistance to begin their family history research
  • need help to use the Family and Local History Digital Library databases and subscription websites
  • have a family history research ‘brick wall’ that they need assistance with

It is a “how to” training service to enable customers to be able to carry out their own research. It is not really a research service i.e.- we are not doing the research for the customer, although we may do so during the tutorial session.

To get the best out of this session, we ask the customer to fill in a form telling us some brief background details and a pedigree chart of the branch of the family the query is about.

Seonaid also offers Book A Librarian clinics at the other three Research Centres

Another service we offer is our Research Service. The Research Service offers free research for the first 30 minutes, but then we charge $20.70 for each half hour after that. The free 30 minutes is usually enough to find that newspaper article or death notice you want, if you provide us with the correct date and title of the newspaper. Or to do a quick look up of our databases. We always scope the request out so we can gauge how much work is required, and get the customers permission before progressing.

To get the most out of the free or paid research service it pays to be brief and to the point. 

Think about what you need:
  • What is your question?
  • Provide names, dates and country of people (or places) you are needing information for
  • Where have you looked already?
  • What proof do you already have about that person (people)?
    Most importantly - have you already got hold of any birth, marriage or death certificates that may answer your question? Review them again with fresh eyes.

Feel free to contact us if you need to ask any questions.

Happy hunting


This entry was posted on Wednesday, 3 January 2018. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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