Wellington Scoop

Third temporary library opens, with 20,000 books “carefully selected”

News from WCC
The Wellington City Council’s third and largest interim library in the CBD, Te Awe Library (meaning White Feathers), will open to the public from 9.30am next Tuesday.

“We are delighted to announce we are opening Te Awe Library with a dawn ceremony,” says Mayor Andy Foster. “Te Awe Library is the largest of the three, interim CBD libraries we designed for people to use while decisions on the Central Library service are made, and subsequent physical works undertaken.

“Everyone will find something to enjoy in our new oasis in the city among the more than 20,000 items including fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, CD and vinyl, as well as the many popular events and programmes our libraries are known for. It will also bring additional life to this part of the Golden Mile.”

Community Well-Being portfolio lead Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons says Te Awe Library is going to be great for children and young people.

“There is a large space, dedicated for them to read, play, and take part in popular programmes and events like Baby Rock and Rhyme, Storytimes, and Lego Sundays. Baby Rock and Rhyme is a Wellington institution loved by babies and parents. I know families have been missing it, many will breathe a sigh of relief with its return to the central city,” says Councillor Fitzsimons.

The team of specialist librarians have carefully selected the more than 20,000 items in the collection to reflect the interests of customers and added new or related themes to help further exploration, says Laurinda Thomas, Libraries and Community Spaces Manager.

“People will find plenty of seating and quiet zones to study, read, or for groups to gather and chill. There are also spaces and meeting rooms where we’ll run a range of events for everyone, such as movie nights.

“Music lovers and aficionados will enjoy a strong CD and vinyl collection, including many hard to find or stream albums, plus most of New Zealand’s Flying Nun releases. Our music specialists have highlighted seminal or must-hear albums from around the world using new, blue ‘Essential listening’ stickers.

“We all know how important good coffee is for Wellingtonians, so we’re also excited to have Corey and the Collective Café team as neighbours, which will open beside the library on Wednesday 15 July. Everyone will be able to enjoy a hot drink, including Peoples’ coffee, or choose something tasty from their range of organic, free-range food while reading a magazine or finding the latest books.”

After the opening ceremony, Te Awe Library will welcome the public from 9.30am, Tuesday 14 July. This branch’s normal opening hours will run from 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday and 9.30am – 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

We will swap the central city weekend hours from Arapaki Manners Library to our larger Te Awe Library. So from Monday 13 July, Arapaki Manners Library will be open between 8am – 7pm, Monday to Friday and closed on weekends.

Te Awe Library can be accessed via either 29 Brandon Street or Panama Street next to the Collective Café.

There are return slots at both entrances, and the one in Panama Street is open after-hours.


  1. Traveller, 9. July 2020, 12:15

    Andy talks of “decisions on the Central Library service” being made. Is his choice of words intending to indicate that they have no intention of restoring the Central Library itself? Words matter. Will the council be continuing to ignore the public demand for a reopened Central Library?

  2. michael, 9. July 2020, 14:02

    It seems clear the WCC have a secret agenda where the Central Library is concerned. In the Annual Plan Consultation, the Library was not mentioned. Instead, millions more have been budgeted for something called a “Central City Library Network” which seems to be here to stay, regardless of assurances from the Mayor and some councillors.
    The WCC is disregarding the needs of residents by ignoring the fact the inner-city has surpassed Karori in terms of resident numbers to become the biggest suburb in Wellington. This is a suburb that desperately needs its major community hub – the central library.

  3. greenwelly, 9. July 2020, 14:34

    Something not predominantly mentioned in the news release, but on their website – “The term of the lease is four years.” Doesn’t inspire confidence in anything happening to the Central Library in a hurry.

  4. RPNZ, 13. July 2020, 12:46

    Having just seen the Christchurch public library, can we please abandon plans to rebuild the current library and just copy theirs as is?

    Also, the old town hall – I’d rather that money was being spent on fixing our pipes. Those we all use everyday whereas the town hall might be something we use (on an individual basis) only once every couple of years.

  5. Peter Kerr, 13. July 2020, 13:57

    RPNZ, the Christchurch Public Library may be a very fine building, but the housing of an adequate number of books is lacking. The same situation applies at Johnsonville. The new library has all the space in the world for lounging and sleeping and playing and writing essays, but the supply of a full range of subjects and books is away down the list.
    I’m used to shelving that is within arm’s reach and which houses all that can be stacked on display. The shelving space could be multiplied at Johsonville so a decent number of books from those in storage from Central might be accommodated and used.
    But I don’t hold out hope for a return to what Central used to represent. It was too good.

  6. Traveller, 13. July 2020, 14:49

    I remember on the top floor of the Central Library there was a generously-stocked history section – with thousands of books containing information not available anywhere else. Where have they gone? How can we search through such books when we cannot access them any more?

  7. michael, 13. July 2020, 15:41

    RPNZ. All very well to feel envious of the Christchurch Library but it was paid for by insurance not the ratepayers who cannot afford it. We just need to get out central library and community hub back and open again, otherwise it will be 5-10 years before anything happens and Wellington City will continue to be boarded up. The heart of the city has gone.

  8. judy siers, 13. July 2020, 15:58

    Couldn’t agree with Peter more. The planners and librarians between them forgot what a library is when it came to Johnsonville, consequently there is no encouragement to use the library as it should be. How did this change of concept and usage come about? It crept up on me.
    At least double the number of books would start to fill the gaps. Of particular disappointment to me, after 50 years of researching and publishing local history I note there is no heritage section, so sadly all the published works of the likes of Onslow Historical Society and local historians are for zilch, they are not on display, on the shelves or known to exist.
    The importance of literacy and knowledge is overwhelmed by, and competes with, the sun streaming through the great walls of glass and the aroma of fine coffee and freshly baked food at the cafe.

  9. michael, 14. July 2020, 9:11

    All the great cities in the world have great libraries full of books where people can go and browse through centuries of wisdom. Instead, we are facing libraries with fewer books and more internet where it is difficult to be confident of the authenticity of much of the content. Shame on WCC.

  10. Jason, 16. July 2020, 9:53

    I get that there is a thirst for history, but most people now use online resources, so a space is needed to better provide this. If we give up the opportunity to move forward now, it will be a long wait for improved services. Judy, all of the books you are wanting will be available, just ask. Can you also please explain what the use for a library is? Just because you cannot embrace the technology of the future, doesn’t mean others shouldn’t. The people planning the new spaces are well educated and forward thinking, books are becoming more digital and are therefore easier to access by all.