About the Library

Contact Details

Christchurch City Libraries
work PO Box 73045,
Christchurch 8154,
New Zealand.
workp: +64-3-941-7923

Library Alive in our communityStrategic Directions for the Canterbury Public Library 1997 - 2007

November 1997


Canterbury Public Library has developed its strategic directions for the next decade during a six month-long process. This has involved the direct participation of over fifty staff through workshops and research groups, and all staff have been kept informed as to the progress of the strategic planning process as it has continued. Other key stakeholders in the Library have also been consulted during the process. The end result comprises three sets of information: the Strategic Directions; Analyses and background information; Appendix documents (unbound). My thanks, along with that of the Steering Committee and Project Managers, to all those who have participated and shared their professional opinions and personal vision of the future Library.

During 1996 the Library underwent a restructuring of its internal management, to ensure its relevance to the changing library and information needs of our customers in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries. In 1997 it has been time to look outwards, to determine the directions the Library needs to be leading and heading in as we approach the millennium.

Improved information and communications technology means that we want and expect more information and better service faster and at a time and place that suits us. At the same time, there is a growing need in our local communities for safe, welcoming places such as libraries where anybody can freely visit for leisure, information and community interaction. Our local government has a growing role in promoting a high quality living and working environment for Christchurch residents, and the Library's contribution to this can and will be significant as we achieve the strategic directions outlined in Library alive in our community.

The need for the Library to establish clear strategic directions is three-fold:

  • To assert our unique role as a key information and recreation provider in the City
  • To anticipate and meet the challenges of the twenty first century community for information, leisure and learning
  • To best employ our people in clearly directed pathways to deliver the services, collections and facilities to meet those needs.

The development of Library alive in our community has been an exciting opportunity to undertake research and gather the opinions and ideas of staff, customers and non-users, Councillors and Council management, colleagues and others. From this breadth of contribution has grown a living document which will provide the springboard for the development of the City's libraries and information centres in the next decade.

Sue Sutherland
Sue Sutherland, Libraries Manager and Project Sponsor

Steering Committee

Anne Anderson, Collection Services Manager
Glenda Fulton, Customer Services Manager
Erina Parks, Network Services Manager
Sue Sutherland, Libraries Manager
John Truesdale, Information Technology Services Manager

Mission Statement

Canterbury Public Library supports the cultural, economic and social well-being of Christchurch and its people.

Working in partnership with Tangata Whenua and local communities, we provide quality resources and services that meet residents' needs for knowledge, recreation and information.

Skilled staff ensure the best use of comprehensive collections.
Skilled staff ensure the best use of comprehensive collections.


Canterbury Public Library has specific values which underpin its service delivery ethic:

  • Community cohesion personal and community effectiveness
  • Democracy freedom of thought and the individual's right to know and participate
  • Empowerment learning and literacy
  • Equity access and opportunity for all
  • Integrity quality, reliable resources and services
  • Manaakitanga respect and care, support and hospitality
  • Respect for diversity and cultural heritage

The Library also upholds the values of the Christchurch City Council's Giving Value Being Valued statement. These are summarised as:

  • Dependence on customers and a focus on quality
  • Accountability and measuring performance
  • Continuous improvement and learning
  • Responsiveness and innovation
  • Leadership, teamwork, empowerment, change adaptive
  • Showing respect, giving trust, expecting integrity and having fun
  • Communicating and consulting openly
  • Recognition, encouragement and support

Vision Statement… towards 2007

Christchurch and its people value highly information for prosperity, lifelong learning, individual and community decision making and personal and social well-being.

Access to information is when, where and how people want it at a Council Library and Information Centre, at home and at work. Direct electronic access is available 24 hours a day; person-to-person access is at hours to suit most customer needs.

Council, community, national and international information is easy to locate because electronic gateways and signposts point the way. People access Council information and services and provide feedback electronically, enabling greater community participation in local government.

People read, listen, view and interact with a wide range of quality books and media for education, recreation, entertainment and interest. Individuals and the community benefit from the development of literacy, creativity, imagination, the growth of knowledge and the replenishment of the human spirit.

The Library is the discovery place for our recorded Taonga, history and culture. Digital archives, oral archives, original and precious documents are preserved for use now and in the future. Both Māori and Pakeha cultures and history are valued and reflected in the collections, services and management of the Library.

Libraries are vibrant, colourful, comfortable and welcoming community places. Their technology, facilities, and people make it easy to access information, books, media, events and activities. The Community Media Centre is used daily a group of young people play a simulation game introducing them to the process of community government; the community information network adds content to its database and introduces people to the virtual world. Spaces to sit and browse, have a coffee, discuss books, films, ideas and current issues, participate in storytelling and live performance for the young and young at heart are available. The Library works in partnership with community and interest groups to provide services for people with special requirements: the elderly, the homebound, people who are physically and mentally disadvantaged, new settlers for whom English is a second language, people of different cultures.

The Library is alive in the community, open to all irrespective of race, gender, income, or political or religious belief.

Accessing the Internet at a community library.
Accessing the Internet at a community library.

Strategic Objectives



Develop a comprehensive, user-friendly electronic interface to resources

  • maintaining reliable, accurate databases and catalogues which are available in a variety of electronic forms
  • publishing our own resources
  • expanding public Internet access both for walk-in and remote customers

Develop new, or enhance existing, information services to meet specific customer needs

  • providing tailored information services to Council
  • investigating and developing specialised services to businesses
  • expanding delivery options to remote customers

Co-ordinate the electronic access to Christchurch and Canterbury information

  • leading the creation of links and gateways to a unified Web presence
  • working with organisations and business to encourage electronic access to information
  • facilitating the development of community information networks

Consolidate support for education and lifelong learning

  • working in partnership with other providers
  • providing comprehensive collections in a variety of formats

Focus on reading and information literacy from preschool to adult

  • continuing to develop and provide programmes which support literacy in preschool and school age children
  • working with others to consolidate and extend initiatives in information literacy

Sustain and enhance recreational opportunities for reading, listening, viewing and interacting

  • expanding delivery options
  • initiating and supporting programmes and events
  • using electronic technology

A story time session captivates young community library users.
A story time session captivates young community library users.



Honour our obligations under the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi

  • working in partnership with Tangata Whenua
  • strengthening bi-lingual resources
  • continuing to develop and improve services to Māori customers

Ensure access to our culture now and in the future

  • collecting and preserving local material
  • digitising and archiving selected resources
  • extending the scope of collections and the forms in which they are available

Encourage participation in community government

  • providing walk-in access to Council information
  • promoting Council initiatives
  • providing a conduit for community response

Create vibrant and accessible facilities for local communities

  • embracing technologies, concepts and practices which enhance customer service
  • improving processes and practices for loan of materials
  • rebuilding or extending existing libraries at Spreydon, Sumner, New Brighton, Fendalton
  • developing and building three new service points at St Martins, Upper Riccarton/Avonhead, Parklands

Provide opportunities for people with special requirements to access services, collections and facilities

  • ensuring access for the disabled to facilities and services
  • working in partnership with others to better serve groups such as speakers of other languages, sight impaired, housebound

Study space at the Central Library is in constant demand.
Study space at the Central Library is in constant demand.

Five factors will be critical to sucessfully achieving the strategic objectives. Underpinning this achievement will be the development of the following five action plans.

Critical Success Factors

Sufficient, appropriately skilled and knowledgable staff

Human Resources Action Plan

Staff are a vital component of the Library's business. Training and development of staff will continue to be an issue arising from the burgeoning increase in electronic resources and information technology, changes to processes, improved standards of customer service, increased staffing from growth in business and the natural turnover of staff. Legislative requirements in areas such as Health and Safety and cultural changes within the Council organisation place increased expectations on team leaders and managers who require additional training and time to manage. Achieving the appropriate mix of staff ­ qualified/unqualified and full and part-time ­ will be essential.

Comprehensive collections reflecting the wide range of interests and needs of the community

Collections Action Plan

Providing materials for reading, listening, viewing and interacting will continue to be a significant part of the Library's business.
The selection, acquisition, organisation, and storage of resources both in print and other formats provides the means for satisfying both present and future customer needs. The information revolution requires a re-examination of the methodologies and access paths to collections: the collections themselves need to continue being both current and historic and comprehensive, covering the whole field of human endeavour.

On-going investment in electronic and telecommunications infrastructure and equipment

Information Technology Action Plan

Technology is integral to the efficient and effective delivery of services to customers; it is not an optional extra. Communications media, hardware and software provide the platform for the growth and development of services and improvements in efficiency and effectiveness. Changes occur rapidly in this field and the plan will need flexibility to respond to new developments.

Satisfied customers whose present and future needs are being met

Marketing Action Plan

Support from the community is vital to the Library's continued growth and development. This will be achieved by ensuring that the Library is responsive to both individual and interest groups' needs. Customer feedback mechanisms, agreed and publicised service levels and standards, partnerships, marketing and segmentation plans, promotion and publicity of services, will ensure the Library is alive in, and relevant to, the community.

Sufficient funds available for agreed service levels

Financial Action Plan

Efficient and effective management of the available funds is important for all stakeholders, particularly Councillors and Council management. Transparency of costs and benefits, continuous improvement in management and processes will be integral to the plan. Opportunities for new funding sources and investigation of niche market, revenue generating opportunities will be considered.

The eleven strategic objectives link closely to the Statement of Strategic Objectives in the Christchurch City Council's 1997 Plan. Central to these objectives is a vision of Christchurch in which people feel welcome and a sense of belonging. People care for and nurture each other and participate in community activities. There are opportunities for recreation, fun and enjoyment as well as access to information, education and social services. The City is clean and attractive and the way we work and plan for the future is sustainable. The Christchurch economy is growing and there are job opportunities. Our heritage is preserved for future generations.

The Library has a strong desire to participate as fully as possible in the achievement of the Council objectives. A number of its strategic objectives will support Council objectives by helping to provide a communications platform to inform Christchurch citizens and to give them the opportunity to give feedback to Council. All of our strategic objectives also have a direct natural relationship to one or more specific Council objectives.

A. People and Community

Education Facilities and Services
(A4-5) 1

The Library's objectives, which consolidate support for education and lifelong learning and focus on literacy, support fully the Council vision of enhanced learning, communication and participation. As the Council's information agent, the Library has the opportunity through education and promotion to contribute to enhancing the City's quality of life by creating informed attitudes.

Social Well-being and Community Development
(A6-9) 2

As the Library furthers its commitment to create vibrant and accessible facilities for local communities, the ability of the Council to develop its social well-being and community development policies will be greatly enhanced.

Access for all is of considerable importance. The Library is committed to enabling people with special needs to access services, collections and facilities.

Arts and Culture
(A11-12) 3

In the field of Arts and Culture, the Library acknowledges that it has a major role by reaffirming its commitment to our Treaty of Waitangi obligations and by placing emphasis on the collection and storage of materials and information, which will ensure access to what is uniquely Christchurch now and in the future.

Recreation and Leisure
(A14-15) 4

The Library will continue to perform and will enhance its traditional contribution to the recreational needs of the citizens of Christchurch, by offering reading for pleasure and by making available material to support other forms of recreation.

B. The Physical

Heritage Features
(B6) 5

By collecting and preserving local material, the Library is making a significant contribution to the preservation of our Taonga and uniquely Christchurch heritage.

By making it available in a variety of ways, we help to ensure access to our culture now and in the future.

C. The City's Economy

Business Activity and Employment
(C1-6) 6

By providing services and resources which meet the information needs of the business community of Christchurch, the Library will contribute to the growth of the Christchurch business base.

By ensuring that Christchurch and Canterbury information is published and easily accessible, the Library will help to create highly positive local, national and international attitudes towards Christchurch as a place in which to live and do business.

Christchurch's present and future need for skill and adaptability in its business base and labour force will be well served by the Library's support for education and its commitment to literacy and information literacy.

One-stop source of local, national and international news.
One-stop source of local, national and international news.

1,2,3,4,5 & 6 Christchurch City Council Plan 1997 edition, "Statement of Strategic Directions", p24