Open­ing the doors to the city li­brary

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JA­NINE RANKIN

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.

SUPPLIED

Plans for Palmer­ston North’s City Li­brary up­grade in­clude a new en­trance from Ge­orge St, with vis­i­bil­ity straight through to The Square.

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