‘Nothing was stolen’: New Zealanders continue to borrow from closed, unstaffed library | New Zealand
As New Zealand celebrated a national holiday, one of the country’s largest municipal libraries was closed as staff and security were furloughed. But a mistake with the automated door programming meant that Tūranga’s doors opened to the public as usual – and the unstaffed and unsecured library was happily used by the public, who browsed and borrowed books for hours. before anyone realizes the mistake.
As well as its books, the library houses a wide variety of artwork and sculpture – but staff say nothing has been stolen and no serious incidents have been reported.
News of the incident appeared in correspondence documents released by the council last week.
A member of staff at the Christchurch City Council Library said 380 people entered the building on Sunday morning.
“Our self-publishing machines started automatically and 147 books were issued by customers. No book theft alarms have gone off and at this point nothing has been reported as missing, and we have found no damage.
The library was due to be closed for Waitangi Day, a national holiday.
There was a disgruntled bettor – someone who couldn’t find a librarian to help check their CDs.
The staff member wrote: “A customer left a note saying he was taking CDs because there were no librarians in sight: ‘I’ve decided to take the CDs to teach you not to run a working library.’ The returns room was full of books and the first floor…was quite messy. My team leaders will continue to check for missing books or other valuables.
“Luckily nothing was stolen,” wrote another staff member.
The council realized what was happening after seeing comments about the library’s understaffing on social media, and a security guard was dispatched to get the navigators out of town.
“We are grateful for the honesty of the people who have used the library during this time,” said Bruce Rendall, facilities, property and planning manager at Christchurch City Council.
He said there had been an investigation and failure of the door system was “very rare”.
“We consider all Tūranga materials to be valuable because of the knowledge, insights and joy they bring to people,” he said. “To our knowledge, nothing was taken. People who accessed the library during this time used the self-checkouts to take out books and other materials.”
Facility managers said in correspondence that the contractors in charge of the security gate system “take responsibility” for the error and had “implemented peer review for holiday scheduling to ensure s to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”