Contact Details

Christchurch City Libraries
work PO Box 73045,
Christchurch 8154,
New Zealand.
workp: +64-3-941-7923

Our 150th Anniversary – 1859 to 2009

Canterbury Public LibraryCelebrate with us

2009 is the 150th anniversary of public libraries in Christchurch, and we’ll be celebrating this fantastic milestone throughout the year by sharing our stories, achievements and memories.

Christchurch City Libraries have come a long way since first opening in a single room back in 1859. Since then, our services, collections, and spaces have become an essential part of our customers’ lives. From 1952, the city has provided free library membership for Christchurch residents – and their popularity continues to soar, with over 70% of today’s residents signed up as members.

Mobile Two at Avonhead roadWhat we’ve become would be hard to believe for our original customers, 150 years ago. Back then, only 1000 or so books and newspapers were available to a select few, both wealthy enough to afford the annual subscription and borrowing fees, and educated enough to be able to read them. Today the library’s massive collection of over 1 million items is available to all.

It’s been an amazing journey rich with dedicated librarians, loyal customers, innovative changes, always connecting people with a growing selection of resources. During 2009, we’d like to share that journey with you, both online and in your local library. Enjoy our 150th website, displays, exhibitions, competitions, prizes, customer stories, nostalgia trips and of course, birthday parties and cake!

The Library150 website

The ground floor Reference LibraryThe 150 years website goes live in late January. It’ll tell the library’s stories and keep you up to date with activities and celebrations. The library has had a huge impact on individuals, communities and groups. Our website will tell some of those stories, as well as giving you the chance to share your own stories and memories with us.

Among the things you’ll be able to explore on the site will be:

  • how the library has changed – from librarians in smocks keeping customers quiet to today’s lively spaces of technology, cafés and events
  • what we’ve been taking away with us in our bags and backpacks - from the earthy, instructional and inspiring to the highly esoteric, escapist and fantastical
  • what the library has meant to you, our loyal customers
  • the people behind the library’s success story – those who’ve made a real difference
  • the changing places and spaces enjoyed by our customers through the years

Our celebrations start in late January, so keep an eye on this website and in our libraries for further details. If you have any ideas or have a library story or memory you’d like to share with us, please use our feedback form.

150 years of Christchurch libraries photos at flickr - Photos from 150 years of Christchurch libraries

150 Years blog

Celebrating 150 years of public library service in Christchurch.

Library 150 promotional material in Bibliofile

Posters, bookmarks, t-shirts and our special Library150 library card.