Wellington is to have a third new central city library, this time in the Harbour City Centre on Brandon Street. Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says the Council has finalised a partnership with building owners Cornerstone Partners making the central location possible. He says the Council expects the new library to open early next year. He says the library will be the largest of the Council’s three CBD branches to be developed at around 1400 square metres across a ground and a mezzanine level. A privately operated café will operate on the ground floor next to the library.
The Mayor says that careful planning is underway to make best use of the space for study, relaxation and access to collections and services. “This fantastic location has given the Council an opportunity to develop another fresh and innovative space for Wellingtonians to learn, relax and be inspired.”
Community facilities portfolio leader Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons says the planned Brandon Street library will complete the new CBD library network, along with Arapaki Manners Library, and He Matapihi Molesworth Library which is due to open in October.
Councillor Fitzsimons says she’s delighted that the new library will focus on children and families, with a dedicated space for a children’s collection, parents’ room and the very popular Baby Rock ‘n’ Rhyme sessions. “We’re looking forward to bringing programming for children and families back into the central city as the space will give us the ability to hold regular and one-off events.” She says the new library’s wide-ranging collection will have around 20,000 items, almost tripling the number of items on offer to members in the CBD library network.
New Collection and Distribution Centre
The Council has also found a home for Wellington Central Library’s collection of 400,000 items in Johnsonville. The Mayor says the Council is leasing a 2000 square metre, two storey site at 141 Johnsonville Road and will begin development on a new collection and distribution centre.
He says finding the right site marks a key milestone to making items in the Central Library collection accessible once more following the closure of the Central Library building earlier this year. It will give Wellington City Libraries Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui a new centre to manage the entire network’s collection, as the Central Library previously provided this function.
“We’re extremely pleased with this location. It’s been a challenge to locate a safe and suitable space in Wellington which is large enough and ticks all the boxes. This site has excellent access to major transport routes and the building is structurally strong enough to house the collection, with the correct climatic conditions.”
The Council will use the present Johnsonville Library building as an interim extra warehouse facility, once the new Waitohi Library opens in December. The Mayor says more decisions have yet to be made around the new operating model, “but we’re happy to be in a position to now move ahead.”
Work to get the site ready is expected to take several months and items will be available to library members to request after the collection has been relocated.
Before then, Wellingtonians will see over 30,000 items across the CBD library network become available in the next few months: Arapaki Manners Library has a collection of 8,000 accessible items; He Matapihi Molesworth Library, due to open in October, will add around 5,000 items; and the new Brandon Street library will add another 20,000 items when it opens. Wellington’s 11 branch libraries presently hold around 250,000 items which library members can access.
Further information on the new Brandon Street library
- Once completed, the new library is expected to be open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 9.30am to 5pm and have a 24/7 book returns facility.
- Items in the collection will include fiction, non-fiction, audio-visual and world languages collections.
- The new library will have dedicated zones with a variety of seating and spaces for quiet or collaborative work.
- Popular programmes like Baby Rock ‘n’ Rhyme and pre-school storytimes are planned to be offered along with other events which could include book clubs and author talks, free movie screenings, creative projects and activities.
- Customers will have access to the library catalogue and website, and a full range of self service options with staff on hand to help.
- Public computers, printing and photocopying facilities will be available with free Wi-Fi.