Ready for reading
The new Oxford library and service centre in North Canterbury has opened its doors to the public.
Librarian Hilary Mercer said the 13 months spent in a temporary home at the Pearson Park Pavilion was all worth it.
‘‘We love it, it’s perfect. There is so much more space, it’s modern, there is a lot more book stock and a wonderful dedicated childrens area.’’
Mercer said everybody who walked through the door had been impressed.
‘‘People have been telling us it’s so bright and smells new; the interactive reading nook has been a real hit.’’
During moving day last week, Waimakariri District Council library manager Phillippa Ashbey said there had been a lot of excitement about the new building with people wanting to get in there and then.
‘‘We have got a much improved facility. It is purpose built with a delightful new childrens area that we just did not have in the previous setting, and an enhanced customer service centre as well as the best and latest in library technologies.’’
Work on the library was delayed last year after the discovery of a late 1800s stockyard well on the site.
The demolition of the eastern part of the old building was almost completed when, during removal of the foundations, contractors discovered a red brick well. The discovery of the well meant Hawkins Construction workers had to stop all work on site until an archaeological authority was granted, delaying the project by several months.
Aerial imagery showed the stockyards were on the site up until the early 1940s. The well had an external diameter of about 1 metre and was about 20m deep.
The original building had suffered some structural damage during the 2011 earthquakes and to keep it at the preferred safety level – 67 per cent of the new building standard – an interim measure of applying large concrete supporting blocks to the exterior was put in place.
However, after consulting a team of architects and engineers it was decided more permanent strengthening work was a necessity.
The new library, aside from one store room, is a completely new building.
Librarian Hilary Mercer inside the new Oxford library.