Returning your Central Library items

library updateAt the end of April we alerted customers that items loaned from the Central Library had their due dates extended to 19 June. If you have items borrowed from the Central Library, please make sure you return them to any of our 12 libraries so that other library members can enjoy our collections. There are still no fees applicable if you return your items to a branch other than the library you borrowed them from.

Overdue fees will apply if items are not returned or renewed by the due date. We have been sending out courtesy reminders to customers who have items due on that date. If you don’t already receive courtesy reminders, please make sure that your contact details are up to date by emailing us at or talking to library staff.

New co-operative space to open at National Library

A partnership between the National Library and Wellington City Council to develop library services was announced today by Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.

The Minister says since Wellington’s Central Library was closed, the National Library has been working with the Council to look at creative ways to deliver complementary services.

“Both share the goal of making sure people have access to knowledge. It’s great there’s going to be a new co-operative space, where some of Wellington’s Central Library services and collection can complement National Library’s open access research collections,” says Minister Martin.

National Librarian Bill Macnaught says the new space will be adjacent to the popular He Tohu exhibition. “National Library school group visitors will be able to use the new ‘bleachers’ mini theatre area for visits to He Tohu.

Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester, says Wellingtonians are missing the Central Library and this is one way this special collaboration can enhance library services to customers. “We’re really excited to work together with the National Library for the benefit of Wellingtonians and all New Zealanders. The partnership with the National Library will form a part of the Capital’s replacement library services network,” says Justin Lester.

The new co-operative space is expected to be open in September offering customers a small collection of books and magazines to browse and borrow, access to digital content, free WiFi, and public PCs. A librarian will be on hand to answer questions and join up new members.

Questions and answers for the National Library & WCC Partnership

When will the partnership space open?
It will take some time to fit out and set up the space, but we aim to have it open in September.

How long will the partnership space be open?
This depends on the Council’s eventual decision about the future of the Central Library building and the National Library’s future use plans for the site. It could be several years before we have a Central Library again.  Our initial partnership agreement is until the end of 2021, at which time both parties will review and agree any changes.

What can I borrow from this library?
We expect around 7,000 items will be available to browse and borrow. Items will have a New Zealand focus and complement the National Library’s existing collection.

What else can I do there?
Get access to digital content, free WiFi, and public PCs with scanning and printing facilities. A librarian will be on hand to answer questions and join up new members.

How many library staff will work there?
Up to 5 Wellington City Libraries’ staff will be based at the partnership space.

When will other pop-up libraries open?
Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre is set to open on Tuesday 28 May.  Details about other library sites in the CBD network will be available in the coming weeks.

What’s happening with the Central Library building?
At this stage we are awaiting further engineering advice on what the options are for addressing the structural issues with the building.  It is likely there will be a range of options for how we approach this and we don’t know yet if this will include any kind of upgrading or redevelopment beyond the required remedial work.

Longer branch library hours start 15 April

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester today confirmed on-going additional opening hours and days for some branch libraries in response to the closure of the Central Library.

“In the two weeks after the Central Library was closed our branch libraries overall had 9276 more customer visits than when compared to the two weeks before – an increase of 21 percent.”

“During this time, some of our more popular neighbourhood libraries showed significant increases in customer visits, with Karori Library up 21 percent or 3567 more visits. Visits to Wadestown Library went up 20 percent, Brooklyn Library 18 percent and Newtown Library 6 percent.”

“After the Central Library closed, we acted quickly to relocate some of our Central Library staff out to our branch libraries to respond to the increased customer demand.  So I’m very pleased that with the continued support of our staff we’re able to add 31 opening hours per week across the branch library network. We think we have achieved a good match of customer demand with the right increased hours at the right locations, but this will be closely monitored over the coming weeks,” the Mayor said.

New hours will be in place from Monday 15 April at the following libraries:

  • Brooklyn Library – Wednesdays from 10am to 5.30pm (additional 3 hours)
  • Johnsonville Library – Wednesdays from 9.30am to 8pm (additional 2.5 hours)
  • Karori Library – Tuesdays from 9.30am to 8pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm (additional 3 hours)
  • Miramar Library – Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm (additional 5 hours)
  • Newtown Library – Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays from 10am to 8pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm (additional 7.5 hours)
  • Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library – Saturdays 9.30am to 5pm (additional 1.5 hours)
  • Wadestown Library – Wednesdays from 10am to 5.30pm and Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm (additional 8.5 hours)

Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, who holds Wellington City Council’s community facilities portfolio, says the first pop-up in Manners Street is due to open in late May, with other library pop-ups opening throughout the year. “The new hours may gradually reduce over time as the CBD library network pop-ups are opened,” she said.

Further details of the locations and services available at the library pop-ups will be announced in the coming weeks. Services are likely to include selections of popular and new items, reserve pick up service, returns, wifi and internet access. Library staff will be on hand to answer questions, process payments, register new customers, and provide support and advice on the wide range of online content available through our eLibrary.

It is anticipated the pop-up service hours will include evenings and weekends.

First pop-up library service for CBD in Manners Street

Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester, today announced the return of library services to the CBD with a new pop-up space set to open in Manners Street. “Manners Street is an ideal location to provide convenient services right in the heart of our city. I am thrilled we have been able to quickly secure this site for the first in what will be a network of library services across the CBD.”

“The new library services pop-up will share 12 Manners Street with the Council service centre that was already planned for the site. It will be great for people to have access to a range of services under the one roof. Both services will open in late May,” said Mr Lester.

At the pop-up, customers will be able to browse and borrow a range of popular and new items, pick up reserves, and return books and other library resources. Self-service options will be available and library staff will be on hand to answer questions, process payments, register new customers, and provide support and advice on the wide range of online content available through our eLibrary.

Free WiFi and some printing, photocopying and internet access facilities will also be available. It is anticipated the pop-up service hours will include late nights and weekends.

“Work to set up the pop up service is already underway. There are lots of moving parts to manage – first we need to complete a fit out, set up our IT infrastructure, select which parts of our collection will be available, and work with our staff.”

“We know Wellingtonians want more access to library services in the CBD and this will take some time. Since the closure of the Central Library, in addition to locating suitable pop up spaces, we’re also working to find innovative ways we can partner with other providers to quickly offer other services like internet access, printing, WiFi, and research services at CBD locations,” said Mr Lester.

Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, who holds the community facilities portfolio, says Council has also increased capacity in our branch network of 11 community libraries.

“Central Library staff are being relocated throughout our branches, to provide additional hands on deck as well as increased opening hours at some libraries,” she said.

The Manners Street pop-up is just the first in what will be a network of library services residents can access across a range of CBD locations. Details of other pop up locations and services will be announced in the coming weeks.

Temporary extended hours this fortnight

With the Central Library closure, we’ve had a lot of interest in extending our branch hours. While we’re still considering future options, we have temporarily extended some library branch hours for the next fortnight — details below.

Thank you so much for all the support we’ve been receiving over the past two weeks — we’ve had some lovely messages from our customers, and we’re missing you all very much!

We’ll keep you posted here and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts with any service updates.

Karori Library

Tuesday 2 April, till 8pm
Tuesday 9 April, till 8pm

Brooklyn Library

Wednesday 3 April, opening early at 10am (closing as usual at 5.30pm)

Johnsonville Library

Wednesday 3 April, till 8pm
Wednesday 10 April, till 8pm

Saturday 6 April

This Saturday (6 April) some of our library branches will also be open extended hours:

Brooklyn Library, 10am – 2pm
Johnsonville Library, 9am – 5pm
Karori Library, 9am – 5pm
Kilbirnie Library 10am – 5pm
Newtown Library, 10am – 5pm

The Library service point at 101 Wakefield St will also be open this Saturday from 9am – 1pm.

Temporary extended branch hours for this Saturday!

Tomorrow, Saturday 30 March,  some of our library branches will be running extended Saturday hours:

Brooklyn will extend to 10am – 2pm
Johnsonville will extend to 9am – 5pm
Karori will extend to 9am – 5pm
Kilbirnie will extend to 10am – 5pm
Newtown will extend to 10am – 5pm

The Central library service point at 101 Wakefield St will also be open tomorrow from 9am – 1pm.

New magazine issues for the branches

New magazines are slowly, but surely, heading out to branches now! With the closure of Central Library, there was no space to receive deliveries but the team have set up a temporary work space and are now able to unpack, sort and distribute new magazines to branches.

Don’t forget that many of our print magazines are also available through our eMagazine resources RBdigital and Pressreader.  You’ll be able to find the latest issues of The Listener, The Economist, the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Country Life, The Oldie and many, many more on these platforms as soon as they are published.  You can find RBdigital and Pressreader in our eLibrary.  Helpful information on getting started is here.


Update on library services

Central Library closure FAQs

Our Central Library building is closed until further notice. The footpath around the library building and the public library car park are also closed. We’ve made the decision to close the Central Library after receiving advice from engineers that the building has structural vulnerabilities which mean it may not perform well in the event of a significant earthquake.

The Central Library is one of Wellington City’s busiest buildings, with 3000 visitors a day. We realise this closure will affect many people and we are working hard to minimise disruption. The building is not damaged but the vulnerabilities identified using new guidelines from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) are such that Wellington City Council has made the decision to close the building to the public and relocate our staff while next steps are planned. Further information (including the engineers’ report) on this decision can be found on

You can still use any one of our 11 branch libraries located in suburbs across Wellington – information about these can be found here. We’re working on how we can extend our branch hours and open some of our branches for additional hours during the evenings and weekends. We’re also working to set up alternative library services in the central city.

If you currently have items on loan from the Central Library, we have adjusted the due date to 1 May. You can either hold on to the item for now or return it to one of our other branches. We won’t charge you a fee if you return items to another branch.

If you prefer to return books in the central city, we have set up a small returns box in the ground floor reception area of the Wellington City Council building at 101 Wakefield Street. This is an interim measure until we can get a larger returns area set up. This is only for book returns at this stage and is available from Monday-Friday 7.30am–5.20pm.

We are working on ways to make the Central Library’s collection available while the building is closed and will make further information on this available via this website and social media. In the meantime, collections of the Central Library are not displayed on our online catalogues. If you want to reserve items from another branch library,  there is currently no fee for this service.

We have set up a library desk in the foyer of the Wellington City Council building at 101 Wakefield Street. Staff can answer your general enquiries about library services including membership registration, questions about customer accounts, placing reserves, and how to access our eLibrary resources.

Update:  There will be extended opening hours at Newtown, Karori, Brooklyn, Kilbirnie and Johnsonville libraries on Saturday 30 March and 6 April. Temporary opening hours are:

  • Karori and Johnsonville: 9am-5pm
  • Newtown and Kilbirnie 10am-5pm
  • Brooklyn: 10am-2pm

This is just a small first step to help people affected by the central library closure to access library services in their community.

We know that customers will also want to hear about the other tenants in the Central Library building – the Citizens Advice Bureau and Clarks Cafe:

  • from 25 March 2019, services of the Citizens’ Advice Bureau are available from Wellington City Council’s ground floor foyer, 101 Wakefield Street. You can reach them on 04 472-2466 or via
  • Clark’s Café has also closed. Wellington City Council staff are talking with them about suitable alternative premises.

If you have any questions about library services or your library card details, please email us.