People are being urged to join the library before the doors slide open to reveal Christchurch’s most modern and multi-use “community hub”, Tūranga.
Innovative Tūranga in Cathedral Square will be the largest public library in the South Island, connecting five floors of knowledge, products, services and experiences. It is due to open later this year.
Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson points out that Tūranga features a hands-on technology and innovation zone, a cafe, a 200-seat community arena, activity rooms, an exhibition space, study spaces, meeting rooms, an arts and crafts space, a video-editing suite, music studio, outdoor terraces, a playground – and more than 175,000 books.
“It’s free for Christchurch residents to join our city libraries, which all offer a range of valuable resources. You can do so online or simply fill out a membership form at any local library,” Ms Robertson says.
“Membership means you can borrow books and music, access multiple online resources, download eBooks and even gain same-day access to more than 2000 newspapers and over 500 magazines from around the world. And that is just the tip of the amazing array of entertaining and educational resources at your fingertips,” she says.
Libraries Content Manager Anne Anderson says libraries are rapidly adapting to being much more than just storehouses of books.
“You can still choose from more than a million books across the Christchurch City libraries network of 20-plus libraries, physical and digital,” she says.
“However, you can also sign up for programmes to learn new skills, such as 3D printing, or how to get the best out of your tablet or iPad or attend library or community events, including author talks, bedtime stories and craft sessions.
“You can even practice reading to dogs, or you can just come to the library as ‘the third space’ – a place to meet others and relax, a safe place to take time out.
“While we don’t provide WOFs for your car, we can help your teenagers prepare for their driver’s licence. We are not a travel agent, but we can certainly provide you with information on where to go and what to see. We are not a WINZ office, but we assist people with forms, CVs and applications.”
However, Ms Anderson believes the core purpose of libraries is unchanged.
“They have always been about literacy, about access to information, about imagination and looking at things through a different lens. A place where everyone is welcome,” she says.
The modern-day library is a community hub, often providing a social lifeline.
“We can provide ease of access to information via the internet, providing direction and often bridging a digital divide within the community,” she says.
“People are just changing the way they use our libraries.”