HUTT CITY COUNCIL NEWS RELEASE
24 JUNE 2013
EMBARGOED UNTIL 25 JUNE 2013
World first –piloting a reading partnership with Kobo
In a new venture, Hutt City Libraries is partnering with KoboBook.com and PaperPlus New Zealand to make reading more
accessible to people – a “world first” for Kobo.
From Tuesday 25 June, Hutt City Libraries will be offering Kobo eReaders and the Kobo tablet for sale and later this
year, in-library rental. After trialling several tablets, Kobo’s Arc met criteria for speed, battery life, design, ease
of use, and price.
One question that constantly vexed the minds of libraries across New Zealand was “How can public libraries offer a new
service to their customers while ensuring it’s relevant and sustainable?” With falling revenue from the stalwarts of
overdues or rentals, the onus on libraries is to be increasingly savvy about how they optimise their strategic
capability while also bringing in revenue to operate.
“We already team up with our local Paper Plus bookshop on a number of author events, so this is a natural extension for
both of us”, says Libraries’ Manager Sandra Mann.
Kobo’s response to Hutt City Libraries approach in August last year was one of delight. They had been waiting a long
time for a library somewhere in the world to trial selling eReaders. The advantage to Hutt City Libraries is
collaboration with a well-known and respected brand and one that integrates with the popular Overdrive ebooks.
The Libraries will sell the tablet and accessories as well as having a number available for in-library rental using the
free Wi-Fi. Finding a way to add value to the tablets and conscious that people buying a product don’t always want it
already pre-filled, even with literary applications and websites, the Libraries have come up with a novel solution.
When buying a tablet, customers will be made aware of the free regular user-education classes across the city that could
enable them to make the most of their purchase. Alternatively they can book a one-on-one session with a librarian to
have their tablet set up with a range of literary apps and websites; or they could pay a one-off fee and have the
Library set up their tablet ready to use.
Staff too, will be using the Kobo Arc as they increase informal reader’s suggestion services across the libraries.
Moving to a more mobile customer experience model is part of the Libraries’ implementation of fully automated self-issue
and public computing services being rolled out this year.
And what of peoples skills with this technology? The Libraries will run regular sessions on how to get the most from
your tablet or eReader and developing a whole range of interactive sessions for class visits, as well as regular
childrens, teens and adult programmes. The classes are simply an extension of the popular digital literacy courses the
libraries have been running for over 18 months; which include regular eReader and tablet sessions as well as a range of
Stepping Up courses.
“We’ve been keen to make class visits and Bookaholics sessions more interactive for a long time,” CTeens Team Leader
Susan Hills says. “Learning how to look up that author or find quality information effectively is a basic skill all
With another library and Paper Plus already in talks to launch Kobo tablets and eReaders, Hutt City is hoping this
initiative will prove a useful model for libraries and local business owners to adopt.