Purpose - This research seeks to extend our understanding of how community information networks (CINs) are used by public libraries in New Zealand, and to assess key factors in adoption of the internet for CINs. It also aims to explore the application of a particular theory to the diffusion of CINs in one particular library through internet connectivity and, through this theory (diffusion of innovation), to assess the conditions which make these networks feasible. Design/methodology/approach - Face-to-face interviews were conducted with five key CIN staff of one NZ public library as a means of gathering data on the perceptions, motivation and attitudes of those directly involved in developing and managing the CIN. From the data gathered, the research has analysed the potential influences on the adoption of CINs, including the attributes of innovation in public libraries. This is based on the attributes of an innovation in Rogers' theory of diffusion of innovation. Findings - The research findings are summarised from staff discussions during the interviews, including research propositions related to the first research question, i.e. "can Rogers' diffusion of innovation model be applied to the diffusion of CINs in public libraries", and findings from staff interviews related to the second research question - "What are major attributes that have affected CIN adoption in the case study library?" Research limitations/implications - Some attributes based on Rogers' theory were positive, while a few others were not clearly perceived by practitioners, and this needs to be addressed by more careful distinctions being made between the categories in any future research. Originality/value - This research provides knowledge in developing community information services for librarians, students, and researchers, and anyone else interested in this issue. Additionally, it can serve as a model of using the theory of diffusion of innovation.