Libraries  |  31 Aug 2020

A striking new “edition” of a dedicated community library has opened in Opawa.

Following nearly 10 years without a permanent base, the volunteer-run Opawa Public Library finally has a home, sharing the new Christchurch City Council-funded, purpose-built building with the local Children’s Library.

The Public Library had been operating out of the former Children’s Library space following the closure of its earthquake-battered building in 2011.

However, both community-managed libraries now have complementary space on the corner of Opawa Road and Richardson Terrace.

Opawa Public Library President Carol Brizzell says that it is “exciting after nine-and-a-half years of not having an operating library on that original site to finally have a beautiful new, light, bright and warm building”.

She says that contractors have successfully navigated the COVID-19-enforced lockdown, “working hard” to deliver the new library.

“The library has always been an important part of the Opawa community,” Mrs Brizzell says.

“It's a social hub, where people meet friends, make new friends, have some really great discussions and some gossip, plan social occasions, ask for directions to or some advice and, oh yes, get a good book or two or DVD out.

“The new building is a real boost for locals who have seen considerable change in our community, partly because of the earthquakes and also the loss of key services – such as the Post Office, doctor and chemist – from the area.”

The new library offers books and DVDs, along with jigsaw puzzles for adults. While there is a small charge for the adult books and the DVDs, the books for children are free to borrow.

The building also houses a small community meeting room, which is available for hire.

The volunteer-run library is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2pm to 4pm and 6.30pm to 8pm. It is also open on Tuesdays from 2pm to 4pm and on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10am to noon and 2pm to 4pm.

Under COVID-19 Alert Level 2, measures are in place to ensure people can maintain physical distancing in the library building. Library users are also required to sign in using the national COVID Tracer app and scanning the QR code or fill out the sign-in register.