Timaru Library reopens after major makeover

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Published: 06 Jul 2020

Timaru Library has been re-opened by Mayor Nigel Bowen this morning following a $1.8 million repair and renovation project.

The project to update the more than 40-year-old building included repairing and resealing the roof to ensure water tightness, as well as new insulation, ceilings, paintwork, carpets, heating and energy efficient lighting.

The striking exterior of the building, which was designed by Warren and Mahoney, has also been cleaned and resealed to bring it back to its former glory. Former Timaru City Mayor Ray Bennett, who opened the library in 1979, also helped cut the ribbon for its reopening today.

The upgrade has now created a new community room, which will offer a free, flexible meeting space for use by local groups.

Reopening the library at a ceremony on Monday morning, Mayor Nigel Bowen said that the decision to invest in bringing the current library up to standards had led to a great result for the community.

“We knew that beneath the tired fixtures and fittings we had a fantastic, purpose-built library that with a little creative thinking and some new technology could be brought back to life,” he said.

“Our staff and an army of local contractors have done an amazing job bringing out the best of this iconic  local building, despite some of the challenges it posed. They’ve stayed true to the spirit of the building’s design, while creating a brighter, dryer and more user friendly space for all library users.

“Extending the library closure after lockdown gave us the opportunity to get in and get the job done more quickly and efficiently without causing long term inconvenience to people, as well give the local economy a boost by creating significant post-lockdown work for contractors.

“The library isn’t just a place to get books, it’s a real hub for the community whether that’s getting internet access, getting advice or even just getting out of the rain.

“The new community room will underpin this by offering a meeting space with great technology to support bringing people together.  It is all about connecting with our communities.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the whole library team who mobilised to help with the welfare response during the COVID closure and, when we decided to keep the library closed to accelerate the upgrade process, managed to design and launch a hugely popular click and collect service in a matter of days.

“It’s been a real team effort over the past few weeks, at times it was difficult to count the number of contractors we had on site, but I think everyone – regular and new users alike – will feel like it was time well spent.”

Library Manager Adele Hewlett said that the library staff were looking forward to welcoming people back into the building.

“It’s been an interesting challenge to keep providing resources to people while all the works have been going on around us, but it has also been great to see our customers also explore both the Temuka and Geraldine Libraries,” she said.

“We hope that once people get to see what we’ve been doing behind closed doors they’ll be as excited as we are for the reopening, and we’re looking forward to seeing the place once again buzzing with customers.”

The click and collect service has now closed, however the normal book reservation service will resume, with the $1 hold fee being suspended for the rest of July before being reintroduced on 1 August.

From Monday there some other changes to services and opening times:

  • There will no longer be overdue fines on children’s books
  • Opening hours will be standardised on weekdays to:
    • Monday to Friday 9am – 6pm
    • Saturday 10am – 1pm
    • Sunday 1pm – 4pm

Last updated: 24 Feb 2021