The Westland District Library is helping make the history and people of the West Coast more visible by opening up its collections, increasing accessibility, and undertaking digital projects. The Covid-19 recovery funding package (New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme) enabled the employment of a Digital Discovery Librarian, Dr. Mike Dickison, (from December 2020 to June 2022) to initiate these projects under the umbrella West Coast Stories Online.
The Tiny Books Project got its name because it began with the scanning and uploading of the 1921 pamphlet Hokitika: The Birth of the Borough. This local-history publication exists in just a handful of libraries in the world, and our copy was kept locked away in the History Room cabinet.
Using the website Wikisource, volunteers around the world were able to proofread and correct the text of this and other out-of-copyright scanned books. The corrected texts were them able to be issued by the library as e-books, using the app Libby. This has made them available to readers all over the South Island, and the digitised books have been read far more than than when they were kept in the History Room. The scanning and volunteer proofreading process continues as part of the West Coast Task Force. Books completed include:
In a collaboration with the Left Bank Art Gallery in Greymouth, Digital Discovery Librarian Dr Mike Dickison undertook a project to highlight West Coast artists by writing Wikipedia articles and clearing copyrighted images of themselves and their work. Artists covered include Marilyn Rea-Menzies, Alison Hale, and Brent Trolle. He also ran workshops for artists on NZ copyright law and how they could increase their online visibility. Other articles created or expanded include Barrytown Flats (part of a "Wikiblitz" with members of the Barrytown community), Lou Sanson, Floods in Greymouth (during a Greymouth Wikipedia meetup), and Pounamu Pathway
. Wikipedia work continues under the banner of the West Coast Task Force.
Our Digital Discovery Librarian 2020–2022 kept a blog, Digital Westland, covering topics like
The complete blog contents have been archived here.
Kete West Coast (archived records)
Kete West Coast was a website created in 2012 by the National Library as a way to capture and preserve the historical and current memories,stories and activities of the West Coast people. Groups and individuals were invited to add their stories, documents, digital images, videos and audios to the kete.
The kete website has since closed and the content – including over 3,000 images – was migrated to eHive in July 2022. You can explore the collection of migrated records here.