Dunedin Public Libraries Association

Every Library needs friends and among Dunedin Public Libraries’ closest allies is the Dunedin Public Libraries Association also known as the Friends of the Library.

Currently the Association enjoys a membership of just under 100 individuals who actively support and work to promote the Dunedin Public Libraries network.

This work takes many forms including lobbying local council and other organisations on behalf of the Libraries, encouraging greater public use of the Libraries and helping to provide extra facilities for Library users.


The Dunedin Public Libraries Association was formed over 100 years ago in 1890, by a group of concerned citizens who wished to see a free public library established in Dunedin.

Since that time, the Association has 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.

A colourful stained-glass window designed by the late Otago artist Shona McFarlane was commissioned by the Dunedin Public Libraries Association. This artwork features prominently on the ground floor of the City Library.

In this new century, Association members are as passionate as their 19th and 20th century counterparts, and ensure our Libraries are well supported and promoted.


Turn Back the Pages by Merle van de Klundert tells the story of one of the oldest and most active groups supporting public libraries in New Zealand, the Dunedin Public Libraries Association.

The book provides an interesting account of the growth of the Association and its challenges and successes during the development of the Dunedin Public Libraries.

The vision of its founding members for access to library services by the Dunedin community has been upheld for more than a century and the book is testament to the work of many individuals.

Turn Back the Pages is available from any branch of the Dunedin Public Libraries for $16.00.

Supporting the libraries

The Association has made substantial financial contributions towards the maintenance of rare book collections, the provision of a drinking fountain, trolleys, baskets and audio equipment for talking books.

The Association also administers the Dunningham Fund, a handsome bequest from which the executive have authorized grants such as $25,000 to help meet the cost of alterations in the New Zealand Room.

The Association also provided $18,000 towards upgrading the Blueskin Bay Library in Waitati and annually supports the Books for Babies Programme in conjunction with the University Bookshop.

The Friends also 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.

Membership and benefits

New members are most welcome! Join online here.

Membership forms can be found at all branches of the Dunedin Public Libraries network or can be downloaded from this website.

Annual membership fees are:

  • $10 per Individual
  • $15 per Family

Membership of the Association brings with it a number of benefits:

  1. Speaker programme

    The Dunedin Public Library Association hosts regular, informative talks with speakers talking on a wide variety of literary and other interesting topics.

    Sessions are held on Wednesdays at 12.00 noon for 1 hour and cost $2.00.

    Tea and coffee are provided and you are most welcome to bring your lunch.

    Twice a year, one of which is the annual Christmas get together, the Association holds a member lunch at which there is more time for members to get to know each other and enjoy listening to a guest speaker. The cost is $10 per head.

  2. Newsletter

Always popular, the publication covers:

  • Upcoming Association news and events
  • Events happening at the DPL
  • Other literary matters of interest to the members

Contact details

The Association’s postal address is:

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

Secretary Email: Lyndsey Garden
President Email: Russell Walker