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New Central Library / Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi

New Central Library graphic

Your library, your voice

New Central Library

The old Central Library in Gloucester Street housed about 320,000 items and attracted almost a million visitors annually.

After the building was badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake the Central City Development Unit’s rebuild blueprint earmarked the old library site for the new convention centre. The blueprint also set aside a prominent site on the corner of Gloucester and Colombo Streets for the New Central Library.

New Zealand company Architectus will lead the design team in association with Danish architects schmidt hammer lassen, world leaders in library design. They welcome suggestions from the public about how the library should look and feel.

It will be the largest public library in the South Island, and able to cater for up to 2000 visitors a day when it opens in 2017.

Until then two temporary libraries in Manchester and Peterborough Streets will service the central city.

New Central Library FAQ

Where will the New Central Library be located?
The New Central Library will occupy a prominent site on the corner of Gloucester Street and Cathedral Square.
How big will it be compared to the old Central Library?
The old Central Library was about 7200 square metres and had insufficient space to meet the growing demand for services. The new Central Library will be up to 12,000 square metres and capable of handling 2000 people a day.
Why can’t the Council just repair the old Central Library?
Under the Central City Development Unit’s blue print for the CBD, the land the old library stands on is designated for the new Convention Centre.
Why do we need a new Central Library?
The New Central Library will be the flagship of the city library service, providing support to suburban libraries and housing specialist collections. Two temporary libraries in Manchester and Peterborough Streets are servicing the inner city but can only accommodate less than half of the 320,000 items previously available at the old Central Library, and the remainder is in storage.
Who will design the new library building?
The Council has appointed leading Australasian architects Architectus to do this work in association with Danish library specialists schmidt hammer lassen. Both architectural companies have extensive experience in designing large libraries and landmark civic buildings. Architectus designed the Waitakere City Central Library, the Auckland Central Library Precinct and the Library and Campus Hub at Victoria University. Schmidt hammer lassen designed an extension to the Royal Library in Copenhagen, the Halifax Central Library in Canada and the DOKK1 multimedia library in Denmark which will be the largest public library in Scandinavia when completed. The company also recently won an international competition to design a new library for Ningbo City in China housing more than two million books.
What will the New Central Library look like?
The intention is to produce a vibrant inspiring metropolitan library of international standing to serve Christchurch residents and visitors now and in the future. The Council will receive preliminary concept designs in late 2014. The design will be functional, flexible enough to accommodate future needs and changing demographic trends, earthquake–resistant, low maintenance, and energy efficient.
How will the New Central Library differ from the old one?
As part of the consultation process we are interested to hear what our community considers important. The plan could include performance, exhibition, entertainment and learning spaces. Digital technology will be an integral part of the building. Other considerations include a café and there may be space for a bookshop or complementary retail to be part of the new complex. There is also the option of including some commercial space to allow for future growth and provide a source of income in the interim.
Will library users get to have a say about what services they want in the New Central Library?
From Friday 21 March to Friday 2 May the Your Library, Your Voice campaign gives Christchurch residents an opportunity to have a say about the sorts of services and spaces they want to see in the new facility. Opportunities for input will be promoted through all city libraries and via the Christchurch City Libraries’ website and yourvoice.ccc.govt.nz.
Why is this consultation taking place?
The newly–elected Council has pledged to give Christchurch residents the chance to have their say as the city is rebuilt. In the case of the New Central Library people can contribute ideas about the look and feel of the building and the sorts of services it could provide.
What happens to the feedback once it’s been collected?
The ideas will be collated and analysed by the Council, Christchurch City Libraries and the design team to decide what’s important to the community.
How much will the new library cost and where is the money coming from?
The current $85 million budget is made up of $60 million from the facilities rebuild fund, $15 million from a “transformational fund” set aside in the 2013/14 Annual Plan, and $10 million in philanthropic funding from the Crown. The Government has also provided the land.
When will the New Central Library open?
Construction is expected to start late 2014 and the library is scheduled to open in 2017.
What library services are available in the central city in the mean time?
Two temporary libraries service the inner city:
North of Cathedral Square: Central Library Peterborough (91 Peterborough Street)
South of Cathedral Square: Central Library Manchester at 36 Manchester Street (on the corner of Allen Street) opened in late January, 2014. This library replaces Central Library Tuam which closed in November 2013 to make way for the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct.

The Mayor - Your library, your voice Your library, your voice

More photos from the launch of Your Library, Your Voice on 21 March 2014.

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