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CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 82, May 2015

Special topic: Public relations activities

Public Programmes customer-facing activities at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa

By Public Programmes, National Library of New Zealand


1. Introduction

The Public Programmes team at the National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa in Māori) hosts a wealth of activities, exhibitions and services for their customers.

2. World War One: A Contemporary Conversation

Currently, the main programme is World War One: A Contemporary Conversation. Taking World War One (hereafter, WW1) as a starting point, this programme explores the idea of conflict, its nature, its causes, its effects and the possible resolutions. The programme includes three exhibitions on the ground and lower ground floors. These exhibitions use material from the collections of the National Library, Archives New Zealand and contemporary material from New Zealand and overseas. They tell the stories of individuals caught up in conflict including soldiers and nurses in WW1 to current-day refugees and migrants living in New Zealand.

< The Minister of Internal Affairs; the exhibition curator; and the Chief of Army (New Zealand), viewing a display of some of the soldiers' WW1 diaries held at the Library. >

3. Public Events

In addition to the exhibitions, an extensive programme of public events will run throughout 2015. The events range across a broad agenda connected to war, treaty, agreement, peacekeeping and diplomacy. Recent seminars have included conversations about the Holocaust, about New Zealand's relationships with Iraq, and the legal and cultural perspectives of New Zealand's founding treaty between Māori and the Crown – the Treaty of Waitangi (1840).

Further information can be found at

< A panel presentation at the National Library >

4. Education Programmes

Learning Facilitators at the library run education programmes for schools throughout the year. These vary from research topics to exhibition related programmes that support the current public programme. Last year, there was a programme with "innovation" as its theme. In 2015 education programmes relating to the theme of conflict will be available to schools visiting the Library.

The education programmes provide a backdrop for students to gain an insight into the experiences and perspectives of New Zealanders impacted by WW1. The students are encouraged to draw on resources that relate to the local community, and then broaden to a national and international level. Programmes are available for senior primary, intermediate and secondary students.

< National Library Learning Facilitator explaining Te Wehenga artwork to school students. (Te Wehenga is a mural by noted Māori carver Cliff Whiting: it presents the story of creation in Māori mythology.) >

5. Robotics Workshops

Each week the Library hosts a two-hour robotics class. A tutor from the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University of Wellington runs after-school workshops aimed at secondary school students. Students can build their own Arduino robot.


This is a public space on the ground floor of the library. It has PCs, iMacs, and search stations on which users may search through the Library's subscription databases and the internet. These are all available for free use by the public. also has free wi-fi, so people can use their own devices. There is a printing facility and there will be a 3D printing capability developed during 2015. Casual seating is mixed with seats at small tables so the area is often used for casual meetings by the public. It is close to HOME, the café located at the Library, so meetings are often fuelled by coffee.

< One of the free public PCs in being used. >

< Using the 3D printer as in the photo on the left, users could make a three-dimensional object. The image on the right is a 3D model for designing the object from different angles. >

7. Lifelines

Lifelines is a massive multi-touch table at the National Library. Through this table you can access digitized images and video from the Library's collections and so experience your heritage: Lifelines lets you explore dates, names and places that matter to you. Lifelines is a way to connect with your heritage and it has caught the public imagination, gathering design and innovation awards along the way.

< People at the Lifelines table >

Copyright (C) 2015 National Library of New Zealand


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