Library contracts review

In 2017 Waikato District Council began the process of reviewing its library contracts with Hamilton City Council and with Waipa District Council.

These contracts were put in place more than ten years ago because not all of our communities could easily access our libraries (in Raglan, Ngaruawahia, Huntly, Te Kauwhata and Meremere).

Cost of contracts:

  • Contract with Hamilton City Libraries: $300,000 per year
  • Contract with Waipa District Council: $13,333 per year.

At this time the public was asked to provide feedback.


  • Option 1: Status Quo, continue negotiating reciprocal agreements (cost: maximum of $313,000 every year).

    Council would continue to pay so that residents could access libraries in our neighbouring districts. This option would include a commitment to making sure we have contracts in place with the right councils, reflecting the right services. 

  • Option 2: Cancel the agreements (cost: there would be operational savings, these would not be allocated to library services).

    This option means you do not want Council to continue investing in alternative library services outside of the Waikato District. The existing arrangements with Hamilton and Waipa would be cancelled and those customers who want to access those libraries would have to do so at their own cost. Currently $80 per year for Hamilton Libraries and $66.50 for Waipa libraries.

  • Option 3: Cancel the agreements and introduce a Mobile library and e-Book collection (cost: $244,890 in the first year, $94,890 every year after).

    We would reinvest funds from the cancelled agreements in library services.  We would do this by introducing an e-Book collection available throughout the district.  We would also provide a mobile library service that would have scheduled days in communities without a library facility, and at events, to meet customer needs. This option is one that Library staff have proposed based on feedback given to them by customers over the years. They see this as a way to make more library and council services available to more communities. 

  • Option 4: Cancel the agreements and work with our communities to get new ideas (Cost: unknown but we’d only use the budget from the existing commitment, maximum of $313,000).

    We would reinvest funds from the cancelled agreements in library services.  We would do this by working with those communities who do not have easy access to a Waikato District Library; collect ideas and collaborate with those customers so that we deliver the right solution for both library and council services.

Public feedback

We received more than 5000 submissions.

  • 47.4% wanted status quo – for Council to continue negotiating agreements so that residents could access libraries in our neighbouring districts
  • 21.4% wanted us to cancel the agreements
  • 20.3% wanted us to cancel the agreements and introduce an e-book collection and mobile library service
  • 10.8% wanted us to cancel the agreements and work with our communities to get new ideas.

The future of our libraries

After undertaking contract re-negotiations it has become clear that the amount money we were spending with Hamilton City Council would be better used to enhance our own services and investing a shared service across the entire Waikato region. One of the reasons for this decision is that the previous agreement only benefited a small percentage of our residents. Your feedback clearly showed that our libraries are very valued in our communities and we want to be able to provide the best service possible to meet your needs, now and into the future.  

This is an exciting opportunity for the future of our libraries. Over the next 12 months we will be working closely with our communities to get a better understanding of their specific needs so that we can make sure they are all receiving the right services in the right ways. We’ll also be working with other councils, including Hamilton City Council, to create a shared service across the region. 

Note: we have identified people living in areas near to Hamilton as the most affected by this decision. For this reason, those that are current active* users of Hamilton City Libraries will receive one free 12-month library membership per household (ending September 2019). Those people have been contacted by letter. View more information, including FAQs and a map of the ‘in zone’ area.

Can people still use Hamilton City Libraries and Waipa District Libraries?

Yes. You are welcome to purchase a Hamilton City Libraries membership for $80 per year. You’ll find more information here. Access to libraries in Waipa, Matamata-Piako and Hauraki district will remain free for Waikato District Council residents and ratepayers.