Libraries  |  04 Apr 2019

A striking new building that will house books for all ages will replace the earthquake-damaged Opawa Library.

The volunteer-run library has operated out of interim premises in the nearby Opawa Children’s Library building following the closure of the battered building in 2011.

Both community-managed libraries will move into the new building on the corner of Opawa Road and Richardson Terrace.

The design will be finalised in the next few months.

A proposed design for Opawa Library.

A proposed design for Opawa Library.

The new library will include a public meeting space that is available for bookings.

Opawa Public Library President Carol Brizzell says the library will provide “a fresh new start for its members and for the community itself”.

She says it will be “more than a library”, becoming “a social hub”.

Ms Brizzell, who has been involved with the library for more than 35 years, also see benefits in having both libraries under one roof.

“If a child comes to the library, so does a parent, and not only does the child get books but so too does the parent get something, whether books or DVDs or even a catch-up with friends,” she says.

“It's a win-win situation,” the children’s librarian says.

Demolition work to remove the earthquake-damaged building is due to get under way at the site, with the area to be cleared in preparation for the new build.

The work is expected to be completed by the end of next month.

Christchurch City Council Head of Community Support, Governance and Partnerships John Filsell says work on the new building is scheduled to start later this year.

“The original building was more than 80 years old, and deemed very costly to repair,” Mr Filsell says.

“Our new plan means that both the Opawa Library and the children’s library can share a modern, easily accessible building.

“We have worked very closely with the community to create the right space. It will encourage greater community connections in a friendly neighbourhood space.”

The design has been signed off by a joint working group made up of members of the Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board, Council staff, and representatives from the Opawa Library and the Opawa Children’s Library.