Wellington’s third CBD library has been gifted the name Te Awe (meaning white feathers or plumes) which caps off an eventful but productive year for the city’s library service, says Mayor Andy Foster.
The Mayor says 2019 was extremely busy for staff with the closure of the Central Library building, the opening of two new central city libraries and the Johnsonville Library at Waitohi, and the design and planning of Te Awe Library in Brandon Street. The new collection and distribution centre, which has been named Te Pātaka – a storehouse, is also under construction in Johnsonville and will house the Central Library’s collection of over 400,000 items.
“I’m proud of the many major milestones we have achieved in only nine months since the Central Library closure in March. As well as opening three new libraries, staff have delivered the popular ComicFest and Beyond the Page events, held the Kanopy Film Festival and expanded the digital collections that members can access.
“A new artwork and hoarding has been installed around the Central Library as we begin to look at options for the future of central city library services. This is part of Council’s Te Ngākau programme where staff are considering the future development of the Civic Precinct as a whole, including the Central Library building.” Council staff will be reporting to the Mayor and Councillors on this in March 2020.
“We know that libraries play a key role in the social infrastructure of our communities. They’re crucial to our city both in terms of providing access to a range of collections and programmes which inform, entertain and educate, but also in providing our communities a place to meet, talk and grow.”
Community facilities portfolio leader Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons says Te Awe Library is planned to open by May, which will give contractors time to fit out the space.
“We’re working closely with our architects to ensure the design makes best use of the space available and is fit for purpose as the largest new CBD library. The building has undergone significant structural strengthening and the new library space is currently a blank canvas so the fit out will take some months to complete.”
Councillor Fitzsimons says work on Te Pātaka is also well underway and staff expect to begin relocating items in the Central Library collection as soon as February 2020. Items may become available to library members to request as early as April 2020 by which time most items will have been relocated.