Ready for read­ing

Northern Outlook - - FRONT PAGE - KIM NUTBROWN

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.

KIM NUTBROWN/STUFF

Librarian Hi­lary Mercer in­side the new Ox­ford li­brary.

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