Elma Turner Library will open to full capacity in January, marking the end of almost two years of strengthening work and repairs.
The community is invited to join the celebrations as the library reopens the last of its closed areas, the Halifax Street entrance and adjacent space, from 10am on 17 January 2024. While staff prepare the library for this grand reopening, it will be closed for nine days, from 8-16 January inclusive, to allow staff time to repopulate the space.
The library will be hosting a range of special events and activities, including a comic book-themed escape room, on the day of reopening with a full-day sci-fi and fantasy fiesta to celebrate the completion of the work and thank the community for their patience while the earthquake strengthening and repair work was carried out.
In addition to its regular hours, Stoke Library will have extended hours while Elma Turner is closed, and will open Saturday 13 January, 10am to 4pm and Sunday 14 January, 1pm to 4pm. Nightingale Library Memorial will also open for longer hours, 10am to 4pm, on Wednesday 10 January. People who have books on hold will be able to arrange to collect them from Stoke Library or Nightingale Library Memorial. More information about what services will be available during this time is available through the libraries’ website.
As we reach the final stages of the work, the main library toilets will be closed from Wednesday 13 December as contractors remove the temporary walkway in preparation for the reopening. The toilets in the children’s area remain open, and two portable toilets will be installed just outside the library entrance for customer use. They will remain in place until 8 January, when the library closes for the reopening preparations.
Acting Manager Libraries Kate Miller says it is a welcome relief to be closing this chapter of the library’s history.
“Although it may only be a small part of the library we will reopen on 17 January, it marks the end of almost two years of ongoing disruptions that have been challenging for both our library staff and our customers. During this time the library has been closed, shrunk, shuffled, and rearranged many times, and I am so thankful to the staff and our visitors for the resilience and understanding they have shown throughout.
“We are all so looking forward to welcoming the community into the fully reopened library in January and celebrating the end of the strengthening and repair works.”
Elma Turner Library was closed in June 2022 after it was discovered heavy ceiling tiles throughout the building posed an earthquake risk and the ceiling grid itself was in some parts of the building under 34% NBS (New Building Standard), meaning the building was earthquake prone.
The total cost of the Elma Turner Library earthquake strengthening project and additional truss and roof repairs is $2.7 million. Once the work is complete, the library will meet 67% NBS (New Building Standard) for the ceilings, and 34% NBS for the structure, giving the building a further 5 to 10 years of life while longer-term solutions that meet the needs of the community are considered.
If you’re looking to get around the libraries this summer, eBus Route Two will take you from the city, through to Tāhunanui and on to Stoke, so you can visit all three if you choose. Other eBus routes will also drop you nearby, no matter where you’re coming from. See https://ebus.nz/ to plan your trip.