Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Central Library closure FAQs

Our Central Library building is closed until further notice. 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. Below you'll find some frequently asked questions about the closure and what's happening to our services while we're closed.

Key points about services

Central Library updates

About the building closure

Why is the Central Library building closing?

We've had to do this because of recently received engineering advice based on Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) guidelines.

The engineering advice revealed the Central Library building has structural vulnerabilities that mean it may not perform well in the event of a significant earthquake.

Can I view the engineering report?

More information about the reasons for closing the building are on the Wellington City Council website.

This includes a copy of the engineering report commissioned by the Council in response to the MBIE guidelines.

Is the building safe?

The building is not damaged but there are vulnerabilities with the building that would be a concern in the event of a significant earthquake, which is why we have made the decision to close the building.

When will the library reopen?

The Central Library is closed until further notice for safety reasons. We do not have a confirmed timeframe for when Central Library will be open again. Please keep an eye on our website, social media (Facebook, twitter) and email newsletter for more information about services available in the Wellington CBD.

Follow the link below to sign up to our Library eNewsletter (select 'Your Library' from the newsletter options)

Sign up for the Library eNewsletter

What about the area around the building and Civic square — is it safe to be around the area?

The public carpark and areas of footpath around the building will also be closed as a precaution, as they lie within the building envelope.

Free membership to Hutt City Libraries

Thanks to the generosity of Hutt City Libraries, Wellington City Libraries customers can sign up for free to access Hutt City Libraries' collection. Just bring your Wellington City Libraries card to any Hutt City Library branch. More information

Can I use my Wellington City Libraries membership at Hutt City Libraries?

Yes. Just take your Wellington City Libraries card to any Hutt City Library branch to sign up for free access to Hutt City Libraries books and magazines.

I have already paid for non-resident access to Hutt City Libraries. Can I get a refund?

Yes. Contact Hutt City Libraries for a refund.

What's happening to Clark's Café and the Citizens Advice Bureau?

Clark's Café

Clark's Café has closed. We are talking with them about suitable alternative premises.

Citizens Advice Bureau

The Citizens Advice Bureau has been relocated to the Ground Floor of Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street. It will reopen from Monday 25 March.

You can reach them on (04) 472 2466 or via the Citizens Advice Website

Opening hours

Monday 9.30am-5.15pm
Tuesday to Thursday 9.30am-6.30pm
Friday 9.30am-3.30pm
Saturday 11am-1pm

Where can I go to access Justice of the Peace services?

The Citizens Advice Bureau — including Justice of the Peace services — has been relocated to the Ground Floor of Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street. You can reach them on 04 472 2466 or cab.org.nz.

Days & hours

Below you'll find a timetable for Justice of the Peace hours at the Citizens Advice Bureau on the Ground Floor of Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street. Alternatively, you can view a full schedule of JP clinics across Wellington by clicking on the link below:

Full list of JP clinics in Wellington

Monday 11am-2pm
Tuesday 11am-2pm, 5pm-6pm
Wednesday 11am-2pm, 6-6.30pm
Thursday 11am-2pm, 5pm-6pm
Friday 11am-2pm
Saturday 11am-12.30pm

Is there anywhere I can access library services in the Central City?

We have set up a library desk at reception in the Wellington City Council building at 101 Wakefield Street, open from 8.30am to 5.30pm weekdays, and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. We have also announced a pop up library to open in Manners Street.

At the Wellington City Council building, customers will be able to join the library, issue reserved titles and return their loans - as well as get answers to your general enquiries about library services, and how to access our eLibrary resources.

Where is the pop up?

The Manners Street library services pop-up will be at 12 Manners Street, beside the DoC visitors centre and alongside the bus stop. The new library services pop-up will share the site with the Council service centre that was already planned. Manners Street is an ideal location to provide convenient services right in the heart of our city.

What services will the pop up provide?

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, including eBooks, eAudio, eMagazines, online databases and digitised heritage.

Free wifi and some printing, photocopying and internet access facilities will also be available.

When will it be open?

It is anticipated the pop-up service hours will include late nights and weekends, from late May

How many items will be in there?

We won't know how many items will be in the pop-up until we have finalised the internal design and fit out.

What's happening to library staff?

Our expectation is that there will not be job losses as a result of the closure. We are talking with staff about options for them to work in different locations.

What's happening to the collections?

All Central Library collections will be unavailable to the public from 8.30pm Tuesday 19 March, until further notice.

We'll work on a plan for storing the collection and making it available for loan, once next steps with the building are known.

Please keep an eye on our website, social media (Facebook, twitter) and email updates for more information about accessing library services.

Will you be extending branch library hours and opening suburban branches on Sundays?

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 will let you know via Facebook and the library website as soon as we have more information.

Where can I return items I have on loan from the Central Library?

We are encouraging you to hold on to library items for now.

If you currently have items on loan from the Central Library, we have adjusted the due date to 1 May.

If you need to return items to us you can drop them into any branch library at no cost.

We have set up a very small book 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. It is available within Council working hours — 7.30am - 5.20pm.

Will I be charged overdue fees if I don't return my Central Library items?

No, overdue fees from Wednesday 19 March onwards (until a new central returns location has been set up) will be waived for any items borrowed from the Central Library.

Can I still borrow items from the Central Library collection, via a branch?

No, all items housed with the Central Library are unavailable for loan until further notice.

Our 11 branch libraries remain open to all library members.

Members can also access a range of resources online through our eLibrary — including eBooks, eAudio, eMagazines, online databases and digitised heritage.

We are working on ways we can make our collection available while the Central Library is closed, but it will take us some time to plan this and get it up and running.

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'll let you know via our website, social media and e-newsletter when alternative services are set up and able to be accessed.

Will you be able to retrieve items from the Central Library for me?

No, all items housed with the Central Library are unavailable for loan until further notice.

Please check the library catalogue for availability at other branch library locations, or email our team to see if they can help — enquiries@wcl.govt.nz.

Library catalogue

I have something on reserve — where can I get it now?

We are starting to contact customers with reserved items to arrange for these items to be collected from either one of our other branches or the Wellington City Council building on Wakefield Street.

If you have an item on reserve and have been notified that it's ready to collect, expect to hear from our team in the next couple of days.

What can I access online via your website?

Lots! Our eLibrary resources are available 24/7, including eBooks, eAudio, eMagazines, New Zealand and world newspapers, online research databases and digitised heritage. Use your library card details to log in.

I use the library as a space for work, study, leisure, etc. What other options are available?

Our 11 branch libraries remain open to the public and we encourage people to make use of these spaces.

Wellington's Community Centres are also available for anyone to visit and use.

I use the library for wifi, internet access or printing. What other options are there?

CBD free wifi is available throughout Wellington CBD.

All 11 branch libraries and some of our Community Centres provide wifi, internet PCs and printing facilities. You may wish to contact them directly to check availability.

There are other commercial providers in the CBD who provide printing and internet services.

Where else can I go for library programmes, e.g. storytimes, Baby Rock & Rhyme?

Our branch network offers a range of special programmes/events, including children's programmes. Please check our events calendar for locations and times.

I have a meeting booked in one of the meeting rooms. What do I do now?

Unfortunately these meeting rooms are no longer available for use. You will need to find an alternative venue.

Our team is directly contacting anyone who has an existing booking in one of our meeting rooms to let them know and arrange for any room hireage fees to be refunded.

The Library team has been helping me with a research project. What happens to that now?

Our staff will continue to respond to enquiries received via email or phone.

You can contact our team via enquiries@wcl.govt.nz or 04 801 4040.

For access to research collections, check whether National Library, Archives, University and Polytechic libraries may have items. Library staff can provide advice on this.

What are we doing about accessibility issues for the waterfront

The closure has made it more difficult to access the Wellington waterfront, particularly for cyclists and wheelchairs.

We're aware of the accessibility issues resulting from the closure. We're working on solutions as quickly as we can and will keep you updated.

What are we doing to support our more vulnerable library users?

We have contacted social support agencies so they can let some of our more vulnerable library users know about the closure.

We are looking at options to offer alternative library services in the Central City and will keep those agencies informed, as well as posting updates on our websites and social channels.

In the meantime, we encourage users to make use of other public facilities that are open to them — including our 11 suburban branch libraries and community centres across the city.

How can I keep up-to-date with what's going on?

We will provide regular updates through the following channels:

Information will also be available for customers through our other branches and Council sites.

General contact information

You can continue to contact our Central Library team directly via enquiries@wcl.govt.nz or (04) 801 4040.

Library email addresses and phone lines will continue to be monitored, though there may be a longer delay than normal in responding.

Branch libraries and community centres are operating as normal and can assist. You can also contact the Wellington City i-Site or Council Service Centre with general enquiries.

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