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From works of art to the written word

New Napier Libraries Manager, Darran Gillies, wants to bring knowledge, ideas and imagination to the city's readers.

Darran Gillies Library

Darran Gillies, new Napier Libraries Manager.

Darran Gillies is still passionate about art, but for the foreseeable future, his world will (mostly) revolve around books and all the other things that go into maintaining a successful library.

Darran joined Napier City Council as Napier Library Manager early last month, after 10 years at Te Papa, Wellington, the last three as head of retail.

His wife, originally from Hawke’s Bay, and two girls aged seven and three, are joining him soon and are very excited – especially now catch-ups with relatives will no longer be limited to holidays.

Darran had been looking not just for local job opportunities to enable him and his famiy to move here, but ones which offered chances to expand his leadership skills, something he has sought to develop over the past couple of years. “This job offered just what I was looking for – a new challenge, I’d still be working for the public good, and I could bring my family to Hawke’s Bay.”

Darran Gillies: “The library team remind me of the curators at Te Papa, the way they assist and help inform people. They hold signposts up for us to access all types of information.”

Darran, originally from Longniddry just south of Edinburgh, holds a fine arts degree from the Edinburgh College of Art, where he majored in painting, although he confesses he has had little time to pick up a paintbrush for years.

From his observations the Napier and Taradale libraries are welcoming, open spaces much loved by a wide cross-section of the community, he says. “The library team remind me of the curators at Te Papa, the way they assist and help inform people. They hold signposts up for us to access all types of information.”

The way free wifi, for example, has had the effect of encouraging people into the library who may otherwise never have thought to is great, as they often find other things to do while they are there. “That’s a great thing about this public space and the way it’s used currently.”

For now, Darran has two main areas of focus. “Number one, it’s about the team, how I can support them in what they do, particularly in this time of transition as we identify where our new space is going to be, and two, making sure the space is the right place for our audience.”

12 September 2017

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