A daring challenge: how to reinvent a library service

ALIA Library

Cassidy, Bernadette

Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference 2018, 30 July - 2 August 2018 Gold Coast: Roar Leap Dare
[Peer reviewed] This conference paper discusses the experience of re-establishing the Allan Bean Centre (ABC) Library service following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
Libraries for patients in hospitals and rehabilitation centres have a long history internationally, of supporting patients during their rehabilitation. An example of such a library is the Allan Bean Centre (ABC) based at Burwood Hospital in Christchurch a client centred, inclusive and visionary approach towards information provision for people with a spinal core injury (SCI). The ABC library’s main objective is to foster the wellbeing and recovery of patients through offering a range of materials and services; for example, therapy, education and training —by providing an holistic library service consisting of good quality information, resources and training.
Six years after the Christchurch earthquakes of 2011 the Allan Bean Centre Library was demolished. The loss of the library had a significant impact on the hospital’s patients, families and whanau and people with disabilities in the Christchurch community. The challenge for any library that loses its building is how to carry on and continue as normal.  As the Allan Bean Centre is not for profit — there were no funds to rebuild. Whilst waiting for a solution the ABC Library reinvented itself by setting up a number of initiatives.  There were other challenges to face which necessitated creative thinking and daring. Three years later, the library is still in a state of flux, although there is the possibility of a new space becoming available in the future. 
In the interim the ABC library must continue to provide resources, training and information to patients and their families and carers. This paper will report on the initiatives employed and how collaboration with a number of agencies was imperative.  


Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association
New Zealand Spinal Trust
New Zealand