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New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme

Find out about the COVID-19 recovery work being led by the National Library to support librarians and library services across New Zealand. We update this page regularly.

New Zealand’s library system COVID-19 recovery

The Government is entrusting the National Library to lead and support COVID-19 recovery work across New Zealand’s library system, especially in public libraries, with a funding package of $58.8 million, over two to four years.

The New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme (NZLPP) will support librarians and library services to be retained in NZ libraries and assist them to support community recovery.

Have a look at the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme in action

Funding over four years

The New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme will support librarians and library services to be retained. This in turn will enable librarians and library services to play a key role in supporting their communities and people seeking jobs as part of the recovery from COVID-19.

Libraries are vital community hubs, where people can get practical help during tough economic times. Librarians support lifelong learning and can assist those looking for work. Local libraries are safe spaces to access essential online services and to be supported in performing basic digital tasks, such as CV writing and accessing career services.

The $58.8m of funding over four years will be used as follows.

  • $30 million over two years to fund and upskill librarians in public libraries so they can provide greater support for library users and help bolster reading and digital literacy.
  • $4 million over two years to support the National Library’s Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa (APNK) public internet service, and to extend it to non-APNK public libraries. APNK provides free access to the internet and devices for any member of the public.
  • $11.5m over two years to help maintain library services by waiving National Library subscription charges to libraries.
  • $13.3m over four years for specialist library services to help schools and young people with the greatest need during the recovery.

Funding is also provided to increase the Public Lending Right in recognition of New Zealand authors’ books being available for use in libraries.

Supporting librarians’ jobs and library services

We are working with key stakeholders in the library and local government sectors, including LIANZA, Te Rōpū Whakahau, Public Libraries of New Zealand, Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa and Library and Information Advisory Commission (LIAC).

When the programme was established local council Chief Executives were provided with an outline of the programme, including fee waivers and secondment funding while underlining the key priorities of support for library jobs and for job seekers and the aim to support the provision of free public internet through all public libraries in New Zealand.

Local councils who took up the offer to be part of the partnership entered into a formal ‘Letter of Agreement’ with the National Library. The agreement outlines the shared responsibilities, expectations and provides a basis for authorising payments and establishing reporting requirements.

To date agreements with local councils represent a commitment to fund and upskill 184 existing and new library staff through to June 2022. At January 2021 the programme has 94 confirmed people in fixed-term library roles and they are already making an impact in their community.

The programme’s funding covers salary, superannuation, ACC and agreed operating costs. In addition, a funded programme of training and coaching for the seconded library staff will be made available over the two-year period.

The secondments can be appointed at any time during the next two financial years for up to 21 months or maybe appointed for shorter periods of time depending on local authority need. We expect that secondment funding will be released in tranches, as libraries are ready to take in staff, and will be spread across the funding period.

The 21 months is on the basis that the position started by 1 October 2020, so a later starting date would need to be for a shorter period.

Focus areas

Six focus area options for library staff supported by the programme were identified through early stakeholder engagement. When signing up to the programme each library selects one or more focus areas for their community. The programme is now developing the level of support and training needed for each focus area to make the greatest possible difference for the community in:

  1. Digital inclusion, supporting and assisting job seekers and learners – including digital literacy for children and young people.
  2. Library workforce development, supporting an increasingly diverse workforce – including retention and development of Māori and Pasifika staff, leadership development, trainee revruitment and career progression development.
  3. Community engagement, supporting community recovery – incuding capability building, co-design skills, programming and outreach and by targeting non-users.
  4. Reading for pleasure, supporting wellbeing — including local programme, partnerships and support for young people, whānau and communities.
  5. Te reo and mātauranga Māori, supporting local iwi – including skills development
  6. Content creation and curation of online NZ resources, with a focus on local resources.

Strategic partnership grants

In May 2020 the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme (NZLPP) funding package was announced to retain and support librarians and library services so they can further help community recovery from COVID-19. Since its inception the programme has committed to fund and support over 180 fixed term roles in libraries and ensure free and easy access to the internet and library digital services.

As part of the funding, the National Library has invited nine organisations to submit proposals for non-contestable grants that will benefit New Zealand’s wider library sector. These organisations are:

  • Library and Information Association New Zealand Aoteroa
  • Te Rōpū Whakahau
  • Public Libraries of New Zealand
  • School Library Association of New Zealand
  • Aoteroa Council of New Zealand University of Librarians
  • Auckland Libraries
  • Te Puna Foundation
  • Local Government New Zealand, and
  • Taituarā.

The proposals are an opportunity to build on the work already delivered by the NZLPP but broaden it to support to the wider library sector in a strategic way that contributes to its sustainability.

Proposals will need to demonstrate alignment to the NZLPP objectives and be consistent with the programme’s priorities. The sector organisations are encouraged to partner with others, including those outside the library sector, for effective delivery of proposals where it makes sense to do so.

Strategic partnership grants process

Proposals are due from the sector organisations by 31 March.

The proposals will be reviewed by members of the Library and Information Advisory Commission (LIAC). LIAC are established under the National Library’s legislation to provide advice to the Minister of Internal Affairs on library and information issues, including mātauranga Māori.

LIAC have agreed to monitor and oversee the programme direction and benefits realisation and provide advice directly to the National Librarian and Minister as required. LIAC are therefore well placed to provide recommendations to the NZLPP on the partnership grants.


The programme will be supported by a steering group, reference group and training advisory group.

Steering group

A steering group is in place to champion the programme, provide direction and guide how libraries can leverage existing resources and build new ones to share ideas and skills.

The steering group members are:

  • Karen Thomas — Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa
  • Anahera Morehu — LIANZA
  • Anahera Sadler — Te Rōpū Whakahau
  • Chris Hay — Public Libraries of NZ
  • Mike Reid — Local Government NZ
  • Vanisa Dhiru — InternetNZ
  • Rachel Esson (Chair) — National Library

Reference group and training advisory group

A reference group and training advisory group have been established to collaborate on the programme’s development and roll out of the training, coaching and communities of practice.

This will help support participants deliver their objectives for the programme’s focus areas of: digital inclusion, reading for pleasure, community engagement, workforce development, Te Reo and mātauranga Maori, and content creation.

The groups comprise Library Managers from across the country and sector experts from LIANZA, Services to Schools, Alexander Turnbull Library and the National Library.

Free public internet

COVID-19 has helped underline the importance of the public being able to access the internet for information and services without cost being a barrier. The free internet provision is aimed at members of the public being able to access the internet for free through their local library wherever they are in New Zealand and regardless of whether they own a device.

The programme aims to achieve this through:

  • waiving of subscription fees for Councils that use the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa (APNK) service
  • working with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch libraries to support their existing free internet offers
  • providing all remaining Councils with the opportunity to join the APNK service at no charge and support for free public internet and device provision in those libraries — for a period of two years.

Local Councils not using APNK

It may not suit all Councils to change their current provision of the internet to their community by joining APNK. If a Council removes their charges to the public for accessing the internet using their own device or a Council device, then the loss of income will be reimbursed for 2020-2022.

The income earned from accessing the internet (excluding income from print chargers) during the 2018/2019 financial year will be used as the basis for the reimbursement.

Joining the APNK service

If a Council would like to join APNK they can. We will meet with Councils and determine their needs to provide APNK services. This will include getting quotes for cabling and orders for hardware to be placed. A timeline for upskilling library staff and the installation of the hardware needs to be agreed on.

Prior to the APNK service being implemented with a Council, the Council will be eligible to claim for the reduction in income related to providing public internet and computer services, on the condition that any charges to the public for accessing the internet are removed.”

Join APNK by 30 June 2021

Confirmation of the decision for a Council to sign up to the APNK service under the Libraries Partnership funding will need to be made by 30 June 2021.

APNK charges reinstated for 2022-2023 financial year

It is expected that the current charges for the APNK service will be reinstated for the 2022-2023 financial year.

Fee waiver

The programme will provide relief for New Zealand libraries by the waiver of user charges and procurement costs for collaborative library services. Libraries are free to use the value of the fee waiver on any library expense.

The fee waiver does not cover the services provided by Kōtui.

EPIC and Te Puna fee waiver 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2022

Te Puna and EPIC member subscription fees will be waived for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2022, with the exception of some State sector organisations, these are listed below.

The State sector organisations not covered are:

  • Public Service departments and departmental agencies
  • Non-Public Service departments in the State Services and in the wider State Sector
  • Offices of Parliament

These specified State sector organisations will continue to pay their subscription fees as usual.

New Zealand’s State sector organisations — State Services Commission list of organisations of the State sector.

EPIC resources covered by the waiver

The EPIC subscription resources covered by the fee waiver are those that your organisation has committed to subscribing to through EPIC prior to 1 July 2020 either:

  • as part of the EPIC subscription confirmation process for the 2020-2021 EPIC subscription year, or
  • as pro-rated subscription addition through to 31 March 2021.

A full list of these will also be included in the letter to key contacts. The waiver will provide you with access to these resources through to 30 June 2022.

Between 1 September 2020 and 30 June 2022:

  • All New Zealand Public Libraries can provide their members with access to PressReader

For more information on how to register your library for access to either of the above options, email epic@epic.org.nz

2020-2021 EPIC subscription fees reimbursed

As most EPIC member libraries have already paid the invoices for their EPIC subscription fees for the 2020-2021 EPIC subscription year (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021), the National Library will reimburse these libraries for the charges covering the 9-month period 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Members will have a credit added against their account. They will then be able to request a refund against the credit or use the credit against future National Library charges.

Changing EPIC resources during the waiver period

You can cancel an EPIC subscription included in the fee waiver. You cannot replace an EPIC resource in the fee waiver with a similarly priced resource during the waiver period.

Subscribe to EPIC

New subscriptions to EPIC

EPIC members can set up new subscriptions through EPIC at any time during the year.

You will be charged, for any new subscription that you commit to after 1 July 2020 as these resources are not included in the fee waiver.

Subscribe to EPIC

Kōtui consortium to get one-off relief

Kōtui provides public libraries with the SirsiDynix Symphony LMS, the SirsiDynix Enterprise discovery tool and a 7-day service desk. As a core library platform, we are treating this as distinct from other National Library collaborative services to libraries which are either subsidised (APNK) or subscription-based (EPIC, Te Puna).

Kōtui libraries will not receive a fee waiver; instead, the Kōtui consortium will get one-off relief from upcoming procurement costs relating to the supplier contract.


‘Building resilience’ workshops commenced at the end of January with the help of LIANZA which coordinated the invitations and registrations. The workshops were about handling pressure and provided an opportunity for people to meet people involved with the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme.

The second course, ‘Getting started on small projects’ has also commenced. This will also be coordinated by LIANZA.

Niche academy

The NZLPP has arranged to fund Niche Academy subscriptions for public libraries to the end of June 2022. Niche Academy creates and maintains an extensive range of tutorials for popular library e-resources as well as common online tools for both library patrons and staff.

As Niche Academy has been licenced through EPIC, the standard EPIC sub-licence terms and conditions apply to this resource. Once registered, it will be added to your EPIC sub-licence agreement extension and will feature as a gratis subscription in the Vendors and Products schedule of the agreement.

Existing Niche Academy subscriptions will be refunded. If your library already has a Niche Academy subscription through EnvisionWare, they will contact your library to offer a refund of subscription costs for the period covered by the NZLPP funding.

Communities of practice

We are planning to set up a Community of Practice for each focus area: digital inclusion, reading for pleasure, community engagement, workforce development, Te Reo and mātauranga Maori, and content creation. Our aim is to have the first of these groups fully up and running by April 2021.

Got a question?

Get in touch if you have a question, email us at librariespartner@dia.govt.nz

Page updated 9 February 2020

Feature image at top of page. Library in Cheviot New Zealand. Photo by Michal Klajban. Wikicommons. CC BY-SA