Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Strong Foundations on Shaky Ground: The Upper Riccarton School/Public Library, New Zealand

Academic journal article Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services

Strong Foundations on Shaky Ground: The Upper Riccarton School/Public Library, New Zealand

Article excerpt

The Upper Riccarton School and Community Library was purpose built by the Christchurch city council in partnership with Riccarton High School, to serve the local multicultural urban community of 30,000 and the 1100 school populations as an integrated learning, information and leisure facility. The partnership has created a library which gives the two communities access to a large selection of traditional library resources, modern learning spaces and expertise that support the needs of both groups while fostering and encouraging lifelong learning for all. Opened in 2006, it is New Zealand's largest joint use library. Explored are the planning and establishment of the library, consultation with stakeholders and day to day work that all contribute to the success of the partnership and the library it has created. The high impact on the library of the devastating 22 February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch is described. Edited version of a paper presented at Connection and convergence: second international conference on joint use libraries Adelaide 3-4 November 2011.

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The building and services offered by Upper Riccarton School and Community Library began as result of four years of consultation, brain storming, planning and dreaming to combine the services of a new suburban Christchurch city council community library and the existing school library of Riccarton High School. What has been achieved is a co managed joint use library shared and enjoyed by many groups in the community.

This paper explores the planning and establishment of the library, consultation with stakeholders and the day to day work that all contribute to the success of this partnership and the library it has created.

Riccarton High School

Riccarton High School (RHS) is a coeducational, state funded, decile 7 * secondary school with over 950 students and close to 100 teachers and support staff. A vibrant, nondenominational, multicultural school community whose staff and students come from over 40 different cultures, Riccarton High School is considered a medium sized school and is located in Christchurch city's north west. Underpinning an outstanding school culture is a philosophy The Riccarton way. These are a set of common and shared values

* commitment

* honesty

* respect

* excellence.

These realistically and easily translate into day to day life in school, and also have relevance outside the school gates. They form the basic framework for creating good citizens from good students.

The school offers, in addition to the usual secondary education experience, a supported learning team for those students with learning difficulties, a dedicated special needs unit for moderately intellectually handicapped students up to 21 years of age and a contextual learning class at year 9 (the first year at secondary school), offering an integrated learning approach.

Prior to the joint use project the school had a well established and strong library culture, which had been developed by professionally qualified librarians with industry experience as well as school library experience.

The library had a record of meeting the recreational reading and research needs of the school community. Many subject areas had well established habits of liaising with the library prior to starting a new unit of teaching. Books, web pages and other appropriate resources were normal preparation undertaken by the school library team to support the school with its teaching and learning.

The status of head of department held by the school library manager is unusual in New Zealand secondary schools. This support and professional respect from school management and board of trustees ** has been a key component in ensuring there was little disparity between the two library managers as the joint use project developed.

Christchurch City Libraries

Christchurch City Libraries (CCL) is a network of 19 libraries and one mobile bus, which serve New Zealand's second largest city and surrounding harbour areas, on the central east coast of New Zealand's South Island. …

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