New library ‘what city needs’
Thousands of people yesterday poured through the doors of Christchurch’s newly opened central library, Tu¯ ranga, including
2500 in the first 90 minutes, and they seemed impressed by the $92 million building.
The library holds more than
180,000 printed items – 160,000 of which are books – and a range of technology features including a controversial $1.245m touchscreen wall.
Debbie Scott said the beautiful new building was ‘‘exactly what the city needs’’.
‘‘What a great place for kids to come and get into books and craft and Lego.
‘‘Integrated play with books is always a winner . . . It gets them off the tv and off the devices and being creative.’’
Scott, who was there with her children, said they used libraries all the time so the new library would be a great asset to them.
Staff are expecting nearly every resident to visit the new library during the next few weeks, visitors were told at its opening ceremony.
The Christchurch City Council expects an average of 3000 people to use the library each day.
The library’s five floors will feature new technology, from a studio for media, music and video film-making, 3D printing, laser and vinyl cutting and even robotics, around which the library will offer education programmes.
Play areas include a slide and Lego areas.
About 1000 people applied for 45 available library assistant jobs in the lead up to the opening. The building employs 108 people, many on a part-time basis.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the library’s opening was ‘‘an incredible milestone’’.
The touchscreen discovery wall is a seven-metre ‘‘hugely elaborate smart TV’’ on the ground floor. It will provide an interactive 3D montage of the city’s geography, history and its environment.
Earlier, the council refused to release the price of the touchwall, only doing so after a five-month battle that involved the Ombudsman and AttorneyGeneral.
The Taxpayers Union, who originally asked for the cost, labelled the council ‘‘the most secretive in the country’’.
Dalziel said she thought the touchscreen, designed to fit within the project’s budget, was worth the cost.
‘‘It is a lot of money, I’m not underestimating that, but I think in the scheme of the whole design of the library and how it will be utilised by people who visit here . . . I think it will be seen to be an enormously beneficial feature.’’
Others shared her enthusiasm for the high-tech feature. Carol Guise said the ‘‘amazing’’ wall was expensive but thinking long-term, it was money well spent.
Kris Wehipeihana said the touchwall was ‘‘a really great way to highlight collections and the
‘‘Integrated play with books is always a winner . . . It gets them off the tv and off the devices and being creative.’’ Debbie Scott
history of this area’’. She said it was important for communities to be able to see and interact with their history, and if this was only done in text people would not get the full benefit of it.
Council bosses hoped Tu¯ ranga, with its Ma¯ ori-inspired design and golden aluminium fins that glinted in the sunlight, would become a focal point for the city, a library of the 21st century.
Roof terraces and balconies face areas of importance to iwi – Maukatere/Mt Grey to the north, Aoraki/Mt Cook to the west and the Banks Peninsula to the south.
The golden aluminium fins around the building reflect the shape of native harakeke flax.
Central city resident Marjorie Manthei said when the gold cladding went on the library was ‘‘like a beacon’’.
‘‘It is beautiful so hopefully it will the worth the money.’’
Luke Watts, 10, was the first member of the public up the stairs at the official opening of Tu¯ ranga, the central city library, in Christchurch yesterday.
The five-level building has a large open space in the middle.
Crowds wait for the doors to open yesterday.
The Touch wall is a popular new feature at the library.