Home at last
It took a while, nearly 9 months in fact, but finally the APNK team are situated in their new permanent premises at Cavendish Business Park in north Christchurch.
No more having the team split and working from different locations. No more "temporary" arrangements. No more banging elbows with your neighbour at squeezed-in workstations. But what we do have is lots and lots of lovely, useful space.
Back in the swing of things
November has seen a flurry of activity here at APNK. Our post-quake HQ is approaching readiness, Kōtui continues to roll out to more libraries and we've managed to do a library install or two.
LIANZA Conference cometh
It's that time of year again, when library and information professionals from all around Aotearoa come together to reconnect, listen, share ideas and network at LIANZA Conference.
Kaikohe Library: Optimised for Wi-Fi
|Sabine Weber-Beard, Kaikohe Library|
When a library gets free APNK Internet this can have a profound effect on the customers and staff of that library. It can affect how busy the library is, what sorts of people visit it, and in many cases, how the library space is used.
Rugby brings the world to the library
|Tongan teens love rugby and APNK|
As the APNK operates from Christchurch we've missed out on most of the excitement associated with That International Sporting Tournament That's On At The Moment but not so H B Williams Memorial Library in Gisborne where the worlds of international Rugby and free Internet converge.
APNK: In between homes
Late last month deconstruction work on the former National Library site in Christchurch began. This building at 300 Manchester Street had been the home of Services to Schools for over 20 years and had functioned as APNK HQ since 2007. Perched in concrete glory at the corner of Manchester and Salisbury Streets it suffered structural damage on 22 February - the last day it functioned as either a library or as home base for the People's Network.
Pasifika grandmothers buck Internet trend
When two of our number attended NetHui a few weeks back, one of the sessions that was of interest was 'Overview of the NZ Internet' which looked at the World Internet Project. This is a longitudinal study looking at Internet usage globally and of which there is a New Zealand component.
The survey has so far been undertaken twice in New Zealand, in 2007 and 2009, with a third planned for later this year.
Research of this kind can reveal interesting trends with regards to who is, or isn't using the Internet. In particular the New Zealand data from 2007 and 2009 shows that Internet use amongst Pasifika people was the lowest of all ethnicities surveyed, though between 2007 and 2009 it had shown the most increase of any group, rising 13 percent. In the 2007 study Internet use was also lower in the older age groups, dropping significantly from 60+ onwards, a trend that persists in the 2009 results.
Communication, Community and APNK
We love hearing from the library and marae visitors who use our service up and down the country and to this end our regional portals (the default homepages that APNK PC and wifi users see when connecting via a browser) include a "leave a comment" feature. This is where customers can tell us what they like about the APNK service, or every now and then, what they don't like about it.
It's an important way for people who use our service, in far flung corners of the country that we'll rarely get to visit in person, to let us know what the free APNK service means to them.
One such customer is Austen Kyle who left a message for us recently using an APNK PC in Westport Library (pictured right), on the West Coast.
Making the most of the APNK portal
If you've ever connected to the internet using a People's Network PC or wifi then you will have seen a version of the APNK portal which is the default homepage on APNK PCs and wifi.
The portal is a collection of webpages that contain links to media websites, library databases and much more. It also boasts extensive FAQs answering all sorts of curly questions that might come up in the course of using the APNK service like "how can I get an email account?" or "How do I take a picture using the webcam?" Each library district or marae has slightly different information in their APNK portal reflecting what's relevant to the local community.
In many cases, staff at partner libraries make changes to their version of the portal and use it to promote local library events and resources.
APNK & Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
One of the great things about working for the Aotearoa People's Network Kaharoa, other than the warm glowy feeling we get from making all that lovely free Internet available to folks, is that you get to learn about the different towns and districts around the country.
Because our network is made up of 136 sites from one end of the country to the other, and because we're regularly in contact with staff at these sites, everyone here at APNK HQ has a much better grasp on New Zealand geography than they had before they started working here. It's a natural consequence of daily thinking about the towns, large and small, that form part of the People's Network.