Update on future Central Library services

This afternoon the Mayor Andy Foster, Deputy Mayor Sarah Free, Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons and Councillor Iona Pannett shared a paper going to Council that outlines a range of scenarios available to strengthen and refurbish the Central Library, and options to accommodate the Central Library services. It also seeks Council approval to kick off a broad public engagement process to seeks people’s views on what that value and expect from a modern 21st century library.

This is a significant investment for Wellington and ratepayers. The estimated costs to strengthen the building range from $36m to $133m, plus approximately $40m for upgrading the building’s support services and systems, like the lifts, air-conditioning. The building’s interior will also need to be upgraded as it has not changed since it opened in 1991. This is predicted to cost between $20-30m.

“Libraries at their heart are spaces for people,” says Laurinda Thomas, Manager Libraries and Community Spaces. “This is why we are keen to talk to people throughout late June and August about what they want and expect from a redeveloped Central Library Service. Peoples’ views will help us design the different zones where people can go to find quiet spaces, interact with others or learn; join events and programmes, and ensure they are accessible and welcoming to everyone. This will be used to develop a design concept which will be which will be put out for public consultation as part of the Long Term Plan process.”

“We are also closer to the Central Library collection being available again, and opening the third and largest interim library in the CBD. Work on Te Awe Library in Brandon Street and the new Collection and Distribution Centre in Johnsonville were originally to have opened this week. This has been delayed as work stopped on 25 March under the Covid-19 lockdown. Our contractors and staff were able to begin work again under Alert Level 3 so we expect both services to be available in July.”

“The Central Library collection has also resumed its move to the new Collection and Distribution Centre. Once this is complete, library customers will be able to browse the collections virtually, alongside the current library catalogue (with staff assistance where required), and order items to pick up from the library branch of their choice. We know our customers miss the variety of the Central Library resources, so it was unfortunate to experience the delay in making this happen due to the lockdown. We appreciate everyone’s patience and will share more information about using the new collection around the end of June.”

You can read the media release and the links to the Council paper on the Wellington City Council website.

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