Aotearoa People's Network

Aotearoa People’s Network gains momentum

02 Apr 2008

The Aotearoa New Zealand People’s Network, which provides free access to broadband Internet services in public libraries, is picking up speed with 22 libraries online and another 70 expected to be on board by the end of the year.

“Our aim is to have every public library in New Zealand connected to the Internet so that New Zealanders from all communities, both large and small, can benefit from creating, accessing and experiencing digital content,” says Sue Sutherland, Deputy Chief Executive, National Library of New Zealand.

“Reaction to the service has been fantastic. It’s attracting a wide range of people, both young and old, as well as those who previously never visited the library,” says Mrs Sutherland.  “We’re also seeing library customers use the service in lots of different ways, from researching family histories to catching up on social network services like Bebo.”

The Aotearoa People’s Network will complete its first phase by the end of this month, with 147 computers placed in 34 libraries across 13 regions. Planning for phase two is now under way with the following libraries involved:

  • East Coast region - Wairoa Centennial Library, HB Williams Memorial Library in Gisborne, Waipawa Library and Waipukurau Library in the Central Hawke’s Bay district;
  • South Taranaki District Libraries;
  • Southland District Libraries;
  • Waikato Region - Hamilton City Libraries,  Hauraki District Library, Otorohanga District Libraries, Te Kuiti in the Waitomo District, Thames-Coromandel District Libraries, Waikato District Libraries.

Wait-listed for inclusion in phase two are Rodney District Libraries, the Timaru/Mackenzie region and the Top of the South region.

The Network is a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand, public libraries and business, with initial funding from the Government’s Community Partnership Fund.  That covers equipment, networking, training and access to web-based tools and services.  It is part of the wider Government Digital Content Strategy to unlock the nation’s stock of content and build opportunities for New Zealanders to access it.

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