Auckland Libraries run a range of interesting and fun initiatives to bring the joy of books to those in the region. We talked to Laura Caygill, Community Library Manager at Northcote Library and founder of an especially cool programme called 'Reading Between the Wines' about her work to build a close-knit community of readers.
Hi Laura, please tell us how RBTW got started.
We started Reading between the Wines back in 2013. Libraries traditionally do a lot for children and families, but we tend not to target those in their 20's and 30's. I wanted to set up a book club for those young professionals but didn’t think running one in the library itself was the right way to entice people along. So some colleagues and I decided to go with the idea of running a book club in a bar, making it an event where people could meet new friends and have a good chat over a glass of wine.
We really wanted to focus on the social aspect, rather than making it simply about library promotion. As a young professional in Auckland, especially if you have moved here from another part of New Zealand or from overseas, it can be difficult to know how to meet new people and make new friends.
We’ve had people coming along who have just flown into Auckland that day, having moved from overseas, and we’ve heard stories of people who met at Reading between the Wines and are now best friends – it’s incredibly heart warming to hear those stories and we hope it means we’re hitting the spot.
Although we started with the idea to meet the needs of young professionals, we get a great range of ages coming along and everyone has a great time. And no – it’s not just women!
After establishing ourselves in the central suburbs we’ve crossed the Harbour Bridge this year and are now running over on the North Shore as well, so there are plenty of options for getting involved.
It’s a really rewarding programme to run – what could be better than meeting new people and chatting about books?
Earlier this year, Laura was interviewed on RNZ about Reading Between the Wines. Have a listen here.
Are there any other interesting initiatives you can share from Auckland Libraries?
There is always so much going on at Auckland Libraries – we have an inspiring team of people across Auckland who work every day to connect with our communities and enhance the mana of every Aucklander.
And if you’re in need of some book recommendations Central City Library has developed a Desert Island Bookcase, a crowd-sourced collection with more than 500 titles. It’s Auckland’s very own bookcase for the people, chosen by the people! You can check it out in person or follow it on Instagram @desertislandbookcase or #desertislandbookcase.