Share your views on the future of the Central Library

Monday 27 July marks the start of a six-week public consultation to gather Wellingtonians’ views on restoring the Central Library service in the heart of the city.

“We know how frustrating the closure of the Central Library building is, which is why we sped up the decision-making as quickly as the Local Government Act allowed us to,” says Mayor Andy Foster.

“We are looking forward to hearing Wellingtonians views and we also want to bring life back to Te Ngākau Civic Precinct.”“The building itself is deemed unsafe for people to be in, and there are several ways to remedy this, which also creates new possibilities in how we create the space to meet the changing needs of our growing modern city.”

“The Central Library has been treasured by generations of Wellingtonians as a special place in the heart of our city,” said Libraries Portfolio holder Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons.
“I encourage all Wellingtonians, young and old to have a say about the future of the Library. We need to hear your questions, your views and your aspirations for our Central Library so we can make a good decision that will be well supported by residents.”

“The Statement of Proposal outlines five options for retaining a Central Library service in Te Ngākau Civic Precinct,” says Councillor Iona Pannett, Portfolio Leader for Resilient Buildings. “Three remediate the existing building to a low, mid, or high level and two more suggest building a new library on either the existing site or another site within Te Ngākau Civic Precinct.”

“It also discusses other options which have been discarded, as they were not practicable. We are keen to understand what options you prefer, and the factors behind your decision, or whether you prefer another option.”

Sign up at https://www.letstalk.wellington.govt.nz/central-library to stay-up-to-date with the latest news, find out when events are happening near you and read the Statement of Proposal on the Future of Central Library Consultation. Paper copies of both documents will be available at all library branches from Monday 27 July.

Everyone is invited to complete a submission form between Monday 27 July and 5pm, Monday 7 September. The public are also welcome to make their submission in person to the Strategy and Policy Committee on Wednesday 22 September. To do this, select this option in your submission form.

Central Library fiction available to reserve

“We are excited to announce our Wellington City Libraries customers can begin reserving fiction books online from the Central Library collection through our new Collection and Distribution Centre (CDC),” says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager.

“Once items are reserved through the catalogue they will be delivered to the library branch the customer has chosen. This should take between one to three working days. Our teams will continue to help people find items and place reserves for them where they need it.”

“People can reserve titles from the fiction collection for adult readers at catalogue.wcl.govt.nz. We will add the young adults and children’s fiction over the coming weeks, followed by the non-fiction titles. After that, we’ll work through the reference collections and how we can make these accessible. We’ll keep customers updated as more parts of the collection become available.”

“It’s been mammoth job to find a space with the right climatic conditions and strength to house the more than 350,000 items which remained at the Central Library after taking out the 60,000 items that are available at our three interim CBD libraries. While we opened two of the interim branches last year – Arapaki Manners Library and He Matapihi Library – our plans to open the third library and the CDC in May were delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown. So we are excited the collection is now accessible, and we are opening Te Awe Library at 9:30am, Tuesday 14 July. We’d very much like to thank our customers for their patience and support over the past fifteen months.”

How library customers can reserve items:

In the New Catalogue (catalogue.wcl.govt.nz), look for items held at the “Off-site Storage” location, and select Place Reserve as you do for other items:

The Collection and Distribution Centre in Johnsonville and the library teams based there, manage the distribution of the thousands of new and current library items which are borrowed from, or returned to our 14 library branches every day. The Centre is closed to the public.

Te Awe Library to open Tuesday 14 July

Wellington City Council is pleased to announce the third and largest interim library in the CBD, Te Awe Library (meaning White Feathers), will open to the public from 9.30am, Tuesday 14 July.

“We are delighted to announce we are opening Te Awe Library with a dawn ceremony this coming Tuesday,” says Mayor Andy Foster. “Te Awe Library is the largest of the three, interim CBD libraries we designed for people to use while decisions on the Central Library service are made, and subsequent physical works undertaken.

“Everyone will find something to enjoy in our new oasis in the city among the more than 20,000 items including fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, CD and vinyl, as well as the many popular events and programmes our libraries are known for. It will also bring additional life to this part of the Golden Mile.”

Community Well-Being portfolio lead Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons says Te Awe Library is going to be great for children and young people.

“There is a large space, dedicated for them to read, play, and take part in popular programmes and events like Baby Rock and Rhyme, Storytimes, and Lego Sundays. Baby Rock and Rhyme is a Wellington institution loved by babies and parents alike. I know families have been really missing it, many will breathe a sigh of relief with its return to the central city,” says Councillor Fitzsimons.

The team of specialist librarians have carefully selected the more than 20,000 items in the collection to reflect the interests of customers and added new or related themes to help further exploration, says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager.

“People will find plenty of seating and quiet zones to study, read, or for groups to gather and chill. There are also spaces and meeting rooms where we’ll run a range of events for everyone, such as movie nights.

“Music lovers and aficionados will enjoy a strong CD and vinyl collection, including many hard to find or stream albums, plus most of New Zealand’s Flying Nun releases. Our music specialists have highlighted seminal or must-hear albums from around the world using new, blue ‘Essential listening’ stickers.

“We all know how important good coffee is for Wellingtonians, so we’re also excited to have Corey and the Collective Café team as neighbours, which will open beside the library on Wednesday 15 July. Everyone will be able to enjoy a hot drink, including Peoples’ coffee, or choose something tasty from their range of organic, free-range food while reading a magazine or finding the latest books.”

After the opening ceremony, Te Awe Library will welcome the public from 9.30am, Tuesday 14 July. This branch’s normal opening hours will run from 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday and 9.30am – 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

We will swap the central city weekend hours from Arapaki Manners Library to our larger Te Awe Library. So from Monday 13 July, Arapaki Manners Library will be open between 8am – 7pm, Monday to Friday and closed on weekends.

Te Awe Library can be accessed via either 29 Brandon Street or Panama Street next to the Collective Café.

There are return slots at both entrances, and the one in Panama Street is open after-hours.

Map of our 3 CBD Branch locations

Purapura Whetū: A Matariki festival in our libraries

Tēnā koutou katoa, e te whānau! This July, we are celebrating Matariki with Purapura Whetū, a special festival of events, crafts, storytelling, and reflection for whānau and tamariki all over our city.

As well as all the programmes listed below, each of our libraries will have special crafting stations set up where you can make your very own star to add to our city-wide purapura whetū; a pattern, or web of stars.

Why do we celebrate Matariki? The star cluster Matariki (also known as the Pleiades) reappears in the dawn sky about Aotearoa in late May or early June. The new moon following the rising of Matariki signals the Māori New Year. Customarily, this was a time to remember the deceased of the past year and to plan for the new year. Today, Matariki has been revived as a celebration of people, culture, language, spirituality, and history. It is a time for whānau and friends to come together to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the year ahead. When you add your star to our purapura whetū, we invite you to send a message to someone you love, or reflect on the year that has just passed.

Come down to your library to make your whetū (star) and add it to our constellation!

Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! As well as the Purapura Whetū craft activity happening at every branch, there are many other fabulous events to look out for celebrating Matariki during the school holidays:

Kōhunga Kōrero o Matariki
Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! Pakiwaitara i roto i te reo Māori. E 30 meneti pakiwaitara, rotarota, waiata hoki i roto i te reo Māori nō ngā kōhungahunga me ō rātou mātua kaitiaki. Join us for these special Matariki storytimes in te reo Māori! Featuring stories, songs and rhymes in te reo Māori, these 30-minute storytimes are open to anyone, and are recommended for children aged 2-6 years and their caregivers.

  • Friday 10 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
  • Monday 13 July, 10.30am at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Friday 17 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Making Matariki Stars
Join us for this special Matariki craft session! Make your very own Matariki star using one of our designs, or let your creative juices flow and create your own! Then, we will add your star to our purapura whetū — our pattern of stars — for everyone to enjoy and admire.

  • Monday 13 July, 11.00am at Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga

Matariki By Torchlight
Head down to the library at twilight for this special evening of Matariki and Aotearoa-themed stories and songs under the starlight (or clouds!). Bring your own torch and come along in your PJs ready for some heart-warming bedtime stories and songs.

  • Monday 13 July, 6.00pm at Brooklyn Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā

Matariki Music Makers: Making Taonga Whakatangitangi
Come along and celebrate Matariki by crafting music makers inspired by the porotiti, and making Matariki stars. You can take your creations home, or display them at our libraries during our #purapurawhetu Matariki festival.

  • Friday 10 July, 2.00pm at Brooklyn Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā

Matariki Online Storytimes
Whakarongo mai, tamariki mā, pākeke mā! Celebrate Matariki wherever you are with our Matariki online storytimes. He korero paki i te reo Māori ēnei; these stories are in te reo Māori. The stories will be streaming live on our Wellington City Libraries Facebook page, and will remain up for your enjoyment throughout the holidays!

  • Saturday 4 July, 7.30pm — online!
  • Sunday 5 July, 7.30pm — online!
  • Monday 6 July, 7.30pm — online!

Matariki Storytimes
Come along and celebrate Matariki at your local whare pukapuka, or library, with Matariki-themed stories and waiata with our librarians. Then, why not try your hand at making Matariki stars at our crafting stations? There will be a range of activities available for your whānau.

  • Tuesday 7 July, 10.30am at Khandallah Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Tarikākā
  • Wednesday 8 July, 10.30am at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Monday 13 July, 10.30am at Wadestown Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari
  • Wednesday 15 July, 10.30am at Cummings Park Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako

String Bean Puppets: Once in a Full Moon
Come along and celebrate Matariki at your local library with Anna Bailey and her string bean puppets! Anna’s puppets will be helping her perform the magical tale “Once in a Full Moon.” One evening, a lonely kiwi looks up in the sky and sees something remarkable… can kiwis fly after all?

  • Monday 13 July, 2.00pm at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Tuesday 14 July, 11.00am at He Matapihi Molesworth Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o He Matapihi
  • Wednesday 15 July, 2.00pm at Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-Taia
  • Friday 17 July, 2.00pm at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Nō reira, nau mai, haere mai ki ōu tātou whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i tēnēi wā tino hirahira! So come on down to your library to celebrate this special time!

 

 

Visiting libraries under Alert Level 1

covid19 logo

Under the Covid-19 Alert Level 1 all Wellington City Libraries branches will return to normal opening hours from Monday 15 June, while continuing with additional cleaning and providing QR codes for people to track where they’ve been.

“It’s been great to see people coming back to our branches over the past few weeks, and we’ve really appreciated everyone for their patience in following the sign-in and physical distancing rules,” says Laurinda Thomas, Manager Libraries and Community Spaces.

“We will continue to provide regular cleaning of shared resources, such as children’s toys, and keep our QR codes up so people can continue to keep track of where they’ve been”

“Our teams loved entertaining Wellingtonians by delivering our Storytime, Bedtime stories, and Baby Rock and Rhyme programmes live through Facebook, and we were delighted with how well received they were.

“Now we’re back in the branches, our Storytime and Baby Rock and Rhyme programmes will be gradually restarting. But we’ll continue to help Wellington kids get off to sleep by reading Bedtime stories on Facebook.”

To see the branch opening hours and which programmes are available, and where, please visit the opening hours and event calendar pages.

More library branches to reopen from Monday 25 May

“Wellington City Libraries will reopen three more branches as we get back to our new normal under Alert Level 2,” says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager. “We reopened seven branches from Thursday 14 May, and now our Brooklyn, Khandallah and Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) libraries will reopen from Monday 25 May.”

“All open branches will continue to follow slightly reduced hours, so we can manage the additional covid19 logohealth and safety measures required under Alert Level 2. Our teams continue to work hard on making our new normal as smooth as possible for everyone, and we appreciate how patience and kind everyone has been.”

“Magazine fans will be super excited as we had a massive amount waiting for us when we returned. They were part of the 11 bags of mail that greeted our teams, which included hundreds of newspapers from around the country!”

“We also saw a huge jump in people entertaining their bubbles using the thousands of eBooks, audiobooks and movie streaming services people can access for free through their library card. Compared to last year, we issued 32% more eBooks and 27% more audiobooks and reserves went up around 50% for both – and the issues aren’t slowing down yet.”

“What we are most excited about is we welcomed over 1,110 new members in March, which was a 300% increase compared to 2019.  We relaxed the rules for lockdown so people could apply to become a member online and we could issue them a library number to login. It’s proved so popular we not changing the process back.”

The following branches that have reopened: Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre, Cummings Park (Ngaio), Johnsonville (Waitohi), Karori, Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie),  Newtown, and Wadestown.  Brooklyn, Khandallah, and Mervyn Kemp Library (Tawa) will join them from Monday 25 May.

See our Frequently Asked Questions for the full details about the branches opening hours and steps we have in place.

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.

Half of Wellington City Libraries to reopen under Alert Level 2

Wellington City Libraries have been busy over past weeks preparing to welcome people back to half of their branches – but things will be a little different.

“We’ve been busy right through the lockdown moving many of our popular programmes online and creating events and activities to help keep everyone entertained in their bubbles,” says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager. “Over the past weeks we’ve been preparing to make our spaces for our customers and staff to return to. Meeting the government hygiene guidelines includes additional cleaning of the spaces and equipment, temporarily remove some toys and activities, working out how our teams can work and serve customers while meeting the physical distancing rules.”

“Now we have the systems set up we will begin reopening five branches from Thursday 14 May, with another two libraries opening from Monday 18 May. We are reducing our opening hours slightly to fit in the additional health and safety requirements. In order to make sure everyone can maintain physical distancing, we will be managing numbers onsite, so it is likely to be a little busier when you visit.”

“To help everyone enjoy their visits safely please keep your visits shorter, and be kind when keeping your 2m distance, especially when waiting to sign in or check out items. It’ll take a little while as we all settle into around our new ways of working and getting around, so thank you for your patience.”

The Cummings Park (Ngaio), Waitohi (Johnsonville), Karori, Kilbirnie and Newtown branches will reopen on Thursday 14 May 2020. Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre and Wadestown branch will reopen from 10am, Monday 18 May 2020. See our Frequently Asked Questions for full details.

Harry Potter casts a spell over the capital’s readers

The magic of words continue to delight the capital even while our libraries are closed. The use of our online resources is growing, with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone one of the top five eBooks and eAudiobooks downloaded during lockdown.

“It’s not surprising Harry Potter is in the top five, as these stories appeal to young people and adults alike,” says Laurinda Thomas, Wellington City Libraries and Community Spaces Manager. “The number of people reading eBooks and listening to audiobooks has jumped by over thirty percent compared to 2019.”

“Over the past weeks we welcomed the biggest increase in new members, with 436 new people registering online – double the average weekly joining rate of 215. Plus we updated the details for 377 existing members so they can access the online resources. Now we’re focused on delivering new content; activities and events to stay engaged, educated or entertained during lockdown.”

“In the film streaming world, Little Ted’s Big Adventure is most popular so far on Kanopy, but this was followed closely by recent and classic movies, and documentaries – so there is definitely something for everyone.”

”This week we launched the #StayAtHome Film Festival, where our librarians will promote a selection of films on different genres every few days. People can watch the films for free using our Kanopy or Beamafilm subscriptions through their library card. The Festival opens with Marilyn’s picks for women in sport on the Library website.

“Marilyn will also be running tutorials for people who are using the lockdown to develop new work skills from courses available on Lynda.com. She’ll post a new blog with tips and links to free courses every few days on our website.”

“We’re also providing some of our popular branch services via Facebook, such as the Facebook Storytime sessions which are seeing between 1500 to 2500 views that are often shared far and wide!”

“We encourage more people to find what latest books, films, activities and eResources are available by visiting our website or  following us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.”

The huge popularity of these online services demonstrates the value of the Wellington City Libraries in the capital, says Mayor Andy Foster.

“The library teams have been quick to adapt to the current lockdown situation, and have been incredibly resourceful, imaginative, and collaborative in providing content for everyone in every bubble. Not only are they engaging with their pre-existing audience, but they are building a new one too.”

To join Wellington City Libraries online complete the WCL online form at wcl.govt.nz/join

Membership is open to all Wellington residents, students and people currently staying or working in the city.

Other new activities and events include:

All library branches are closed temporarily

“To help reduce the spread of Coronavirus, we have closed all Wellington City Libraries branches temporarily from Sunday 22 March,” says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager. “This follows an announcement from the Mayor for Wellington, Andy Foster earlier today.”

Library customers can access a range of online resources at wcl.govt.nz/elibrary. This includes online storytimes, eBooks, newspapers, movies, and online courses.

Explore our eLibrary

All due dates have been extended to 4 May. We will waive any overdues related to the closures. Please keep items at home until our libraries re-open.

Answers to more frequently asked questions can be found on our COVID-19 FAQs page.

If you have any further questions please contact us by email enquiries@wcl.govt.nz, or by messaging us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.