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9 September 2020

Masterton Library’s efforts to increase digital accessibility and reach more of the community have been boosted with a successful application to the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme.

The Partnership Programme is part of a $58.8 million package announced in May by Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin to help boost reading and digital literacy.

Through the programme, two seconded staff will be employed at Masterton Library until June 2022.

One role will focus on digital inclusion, increasing users’ access to digital resources, and supporting job seekers.   This will build on Library Learning Centre resources and further the library’s aim of helping raise the digital capability of people in Masterton and assist with COVID-19 recovery in terms of job search.

A second role will be focused on engagement with parts of the community currently under-served by the library, to ensure services reflect Masterton’s growing diversity.

The programme also includes a waiver of fees for two years for Te Puna services that provide resources such as cataloguing for library staff and the waiving of EPIC subscription fees which provides online content for library users including the popular Press Reader service which provides online access to most major newspapers and many magazines.

The resulting savings (more than $8,000 per year) will be spent on trialling new online content, including resources that support efforts to assist the community with job seeking and associated skill development.

Masterton District Council Chief Executive Kath Ross said the Partnership Programme would see real benefits for the community, and thanked staff involved in the successful application.

“Our library is an extremely valuable community resource, and the Partnership Programme will enable us to do some important work.  Digital inclusion and employment are part of how we will recover better from COVID-19, and will contribute to the wellbeing of our community.

“We’ll be focusing on helping more people access what the library provides digitally and reaching out to groups in the community we could serve better, to find out what they would like from the library.

“And access to a little more funding as a result of the fee waiver will go towards some valuable work.”