Welcome ... Oamaru Public Library digital services librarian Debbie Price-Ewen shows of the library's new community space. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

A community space is up and running at the Oamaru Public Library, and local organisations are already taking advantage of the new area.

The space has been in use for several weeks, but was officially opened by Oamaru Public Library digital services librarian Debbie Price-Ewen last week.

The space, the former library manager’s office, was created as part of the recent upgrade which involved the floor layout being changed and technology upgraded to meet changes in demand.

Mrs Price-Ewen described it as a “community hub”.

“We’re calling it a community space because we want people in the community to use it. That could be for anything from interviews to meetings.

“We had a few not-for-profit groups use it, but primarily our focus is going to be opening up to the community a range of digital courses, supported by the 20/20 Trust, that offers modules on anything from how to use Trade Me to Excel spreadsheets.”

A screen can be used for presentations, while the space also gives people an area to read quietly, study, get advice on how to use use government department websites.

It will also provide a space for library staff to offer e-reading and e-audio services.

“It’s a multipurpose room, really,” she said.

“People need a place which is neutral and private to meet, and to form relationships, I suppose .. it’s convenient.”

Advice on the Spark Jump programme, a Spark New Zealand initiative, will also be offered in the space.

Spark Jump is a social programme that aims to bring heavily subsidised home broadband to the homes of New Zealand children.

It aims to bridge the digital divide and ensure children have digital access at school and at home.

Mrs Price-Ewen said the library was one of only a handful that had such a space available.

The Southern Stop Smoking Service is one local organisation that has used the space each Friday from 10am and 12pm.

Local co-ordinator Liz Cadogan said the space was perfect for the group’s activities.

“It’s really handy and it’s very convenient for people. It’s private and it’s a really nice space to work in.”

Mrs Price-Ewen said groups could book the space by contacting the library.Asics footwearBuy Junior Milwaukee Bucks Logo Essential Hoodie