Big boost for Aotearoa People’s Network welcomed

Media statement from Hon Judith Tizard, Minister Responsible for the National Library.

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The Aotearoa People's Network provides people with free access to broadband internet through local libraries and has received a $2 million boost to extend its service into even more communities, National Library Minister Judith Tizard said today.

The extra funding - released yesterday as part of the Digital Strategy 2.0 - will extend the service into a total of 130 libraries and up to 10 marae, as well as creating 30 digital ketes for community-created content, over the next three years.

"I am delighted that more New Zealanders will be able to discover, create and interact with digital content through their public library or marae," said Judith Tizard. "This is a great step towards digital inclusion, ensuring that New Zealanders, no matter what their situation, have opportunities to take part in the digital world."

The Aotearoa People's Network makes libraries hubs of digital activity, allowing both internet-savvy users and those who are less familiar with the online world an opportunity to join in. The digital ketes will enable people to bring their content into libraries, digitise it and save it securely, as well as providing a space to save digital content they have created online.

"Reaction to the service - which was first launched in Kawerau last year - has been overwhelmingly positive, by users and library staff alike. The Aotearoa People's Network is currently in 58 libraries across New Zealand, mostly in rural communities, with another 28 libraries in the pipeline to be rolled out later this year," she said.

A recent report showed that a wide range of people used the Network, including some who had not before used their public library until the service was made available.

"Some of those surveyed said that using the service had increased their feeling of connection to the rest of the world," said Judith Tizard. "The Aotearoa People's Network really is making a difference in peoples lives."

Adult users surveyed showed increased confidence and capability in using the internet and using computers in general, with many users learning to do new things online, such as producing CVs and applying for jobs online.

The Aotearoa People's Network is a collaboration between the National Library of New Zealand, public libraries and business, with initial funding from the Government's Community Partnership Fund. That covers equipment, networking, training and access to web-based tools and services. It is part of the wider Government Digital Content Strategy to unlock the nation's stock of content and build opportunities for New Zealanders to access it.

Contact: Jake Quinn, Office of Judith Tizard, 04 471 9871, 021 227 9871


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