19 Sep 2019

Construction of a new Ōpāwa Public Library will begin this month.

A sod-turning event was held on Thursday morning ahead of construction getting underway on the new library, which will be built on the corner of Ōpāwa Road and Richardson Terrace.

The new 180 square metre facility will replace the earthquake-damaged Ōpāwa Public Library, which closed in 2011 and was demolished earlier this year. The volunteer-run library has operated out of interim premises in the nearby Ōpāwa Children’s Library building in Louisson Place since the building closed.

The new facility, which is due to open in mid-2020, will house the Ōpāwa Public Library and Ōpāwa Children’s Library services, and a small community meeting space that will be available for bookings.

Ōpāwa Public Library President Carol Brizzell says volunteers are looking forward to providing a permanent combined service in the new building.

“It’s all very exciting as we’ve been waiting eight years for this to happen. The adults’ library has been with the children’s library for the past eight years but it will be exciting to be together on the other side of the river in a warm, modern building.

“Visually, the new building will be more of a community space and we’re hoping it will be used by a variety of community groups, such as book groups or young mothers’ groups,” she says.

Christchurch City Council Head of Community Support, Governance and Partnerships John Filsell says the development of this new facility has been a real partnership between the Council and the Ōpāwa community.

“We have worked closely with the community to create the right space. We’ve had input from the volunteers who will staff the library and they, as well as members of the Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board, had sign off on the design of the new building.

“This is an example of where the earthquakes have given us the opportunity to create a new facility that reflects what residents want. This space will encourage greater community connections in a warm and welcoming space.”

A library has stood on the site since 1936. A number of heritage fixtures salvaged from the demolished library will be reused in the new building, including coat hooks, doors and wood mouldings; skirting; a memorial plaque and art deco beams and shelving.