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Public libraries integrating collections online

New Zealand public libraries are using a shared collection management service to cut costs.

A new collection management service is rolling out in libraries across New Zealand.

Kotui in Maori means to interweave, so it is an appropriate name for the service which hopes to connect and integrate resource collections held in New Zealand public libraries.

The service is managed by the National Library of New Zealand, and provides tools for library customers to search for resources and place holds on books they want to borrow or read digital versions online and on their smartphones.

“We are supporting New Zealanders’ ability to access and use information important to their lives by providing free internet access in public libraries and maraes,” says National Librarian Bill Macnaught. “And now, with Kotui, we are making it easier to search online for all materials held by a public library.”

Marlborough District libraries were the first to go live with Kotui in September, and reports that initial customer feedback has been positive.

“They find what they’re looking for more quickly and easily, and have access to much more information than before,” says Glen Webster, head librarian for Malrborough District libraries.

The service also provides resource management tools for library staff to manage their collections and build resource sharing networks with other Kotui libraries.

The Kotui service is an intregration of various products from three vendors. EBSCO Publishing (a research database and eBook provider), SirsiDynix (a supplier of library automation solutions), and Computer Concepts Ltd (a New Zealand IT service company).

Maintenance and costs will be paid from subscriptions to the service from member libraries. For some councils, funding and managing a similar in-house library system might not be achievable without this kind of collaboration.

Blenheim, Taupo, New Plymouth, Nelson City, and Tasman District libraries have gone live with the service in the last month. Nine other libraries will implement Kotui over the next two years.

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