Dunedin Public Libraries Association

Every Library needs a friend and among the closest allies of the Dunedin Public Libraries’ (DPL) is the Dunedin Public Libraries Association (DPLA) also known as the Friends of the Library.

The Friends organisation enjoys a membership of close to 100 and has an annually elected committee which works to promote and support the DPL network.


The Association was formed in 1890 by a group of concerned citizens who wished to see a free public library established in Dunedin.

Since that time the Friends have successfully campaigned for the establishment of two new public library buildings: the Carnegie Library, which opened in 1908, and the present City Library, which opened its doors in 1981.

The Library network now includes  Blueskin Bay,  Mosgiel, Port Chalmers, South Dunedin and Waikouaiti libraries, as well as the City Library and two Bookbuses.

In this new century, the Friends are as passionate as their 19th and 20th century counterparts and contribute actively to ensuring our Libraries are well supported and promoted.

Supporting our libraries

The Friends have made substantial financial contributions towards the maintenance of the Heritage Collections, the provision of a drinking fountain, trolleys, baskets and audio equipment for talking books as well as children’s toys, display cabinets and TV monitors.

A colourful stained-glass window designed by the late Otago artist Shona McFarlane was commissioned by the Friends and this artwork features prominently on the ground floor of the City Library.

Through its executive body, the DPLA Committee, the Friends administer the Dunningham Fund, a handsome bequest from which various substantial grants have been authorised, such as $25,000 to help meet the cost of alterations to the New Zealand Room in the City Library.

The Friends also contributed $18,000 towards upgrading the Blueskin Bay Library in Waitati, annually support the Books for Babies Programme in conjunction with the University Book Shop and provide a monetary prize to the winner of the unpublished poet section of the Robert Burns Poetry Competition, an annual event conducted by the Dunedin Public Libraries. More recently, the Friends contributed monies to help support the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival.

What the Friends do

  • Actively lobby on behalf of the libraries
  • Provide extra facilities for library users
  • Support and promote libraries in the community
  • Present interesting talks on a variety of  topics
  • Provide financial grants to support literary events and projects

Join the Friends

New members are most welcome. Membership forms can be found at all branches of the DPL network, can be downloaded from this website or you can join online: https://www.dunedinlibraries.govt.nz/about/dpla/become-a-friend-of-the-library

Annual membership fees are:

  • $15 per Individual
  • $20 per couple/family

Membership benefits

  • Personal invitations to Library events
  • Discounts to Library events with an admission/registration charge
  • A 50% discount off library book sale items
  • One complimentary "6 holds" card for each member per annum
  • Opportunity to be involved in/support library events and projects
  • Opportunity to join a Friends of the Library book group at the City Library
  • A tour of the City Library by a senior staff member (by arrangement)
  • A 10% discount off non-sale items at the University Book Shop

Speaker programme

The Friends host  functions with speakers talking on a wide variety of literary and other interesting topics. These events are held quarterly at 12.00 noon for one hour and  the cost is $5, including a light snack.

The December event is a popular Christmas lunch for members to meet, mingle and listen to a guest speaker.

Monthly Newsletter

The publication covers:

  • Upcoming Friends news and events
  • Events happening at the DPL
  • Other matters likely to interest members

Contact details

The Association’s address is:

Dunedin Public Libraries Association Inc.
P O Box 5542
Moray Place
Dunedin 9058

Email: friendsofthelibrarydunedinnz@gmail.com