Opening the doors to the city library
A multimillion-dollar upgrade will transform Palmerston North’s library into a welcoming space of the future and open it up to The Square.
The planned $5.245 million update of the 20-year-old facility will also fling its doors open into George St.
Many of the changes are designed to modernise the library, with an increased focus on digital needs and on welcoming community activity.
Some key physical changes will simply make it easier for people to find the doors.
Libraries and community services general manager Debbie Duncan said the 1996 transformation and extension of the heritage DIC building into the ‘‘living room of the city’’ was innovative.
The building had served the community well, with 2000 people a day visiting – more than 10 million in two decades.
‘‘It is so much more than a library. It is a platform for delivering a huge range of community services.’’
The money for the upgrade includes $1.2 million to replace the leaking glass atrium roof above the walkway to the current front door, which will continue to be used, and to improve heating and ventilation.
Duncan said 3500 people took part in a community survey helping to shape the changes.
She said key principles were that the library needed to be a place for all, engage the community, respect the integrity of the heritage building and anchor the city’s cultural hub.
Most of the changes would be at ground level.
The reclaimed Public Trust Office space on The Square will be converted into a new cafe, entrance and meeting area for groups of about 50.
Duncan said a cafe was the people’s first choice for what needed to be done.
It would be more than just a food and drink business, with the space to be used for events and delivery of library services.
Development of the cafe area would involve removing a false ceiling to reveal the restored, original plastered ceiling.
Tiered bleachers or steps will lead up to the mezzanine level that will take on more of a ‘‘village green’’ feel.
At the other side of the building, the floor level of the events lounge – ‘‘Makerspace’’ – will be raised to street level so doors can be opened directly on to George St for activities catering for up to 250 people.
Shifting the current toilets will open up a ground floor link directly between George St and The Square.
Along that corridor, the archives section will be extended so community archives currently stored in the council building can be brought into the humidity and temperature-controlled environment.
Upstairs, the children’s area will be extended and improved.
As part of weather-proofing of the building, there will be a mesh barrier put up along the side of the building.
It will be planted to create a green hanging garden, allowing the doors to be opened out on to balconies from reading areas on the first and second floors.
Work is expected to be carried out between July next year and April 2018.
The plans will be presented to the council’s community development committee on Monday.
Plans for Palmerston North’s City Library upgrade include a new entrance from George St, with visibility straight through to The Square.