Tauranga City Council has agreed to invest in a new, future-proofed central library as part of the Long Term Plan 2018-2028 deliberations. The new facility will open at 91 Willow Street in 2022.
The mayor and councillors considered submissions on the options to replace the current central library and voted in favour of a future-proofed facility.
The Long Term Plan will be signed on 28 June, and work will begin immediately to design the new library.
City Transformation Committee Chair, Larry Baldock, said that a new central library will support a vibrant, safe, successful city centre.
“I am thrilled that we have committed to a new central library that is going to a special place for people to meet, learn and connect in the heart of the city.”
“Thanks to the support from many people across the community who have shared their views through our consultation. The community voice for investment in a library, built to last, is loud and clear,” said Cr. Baldock.
The current central library has a long history of building issues, such as water infiltration, air conditioning and service malfunction. The current library also has no room to accommodate the growing population. Technical assessments determined that repairing the building was not a financially prudent option.
Over the past year, the community has been involved in coming up with a solution and a proposal for a new central library. Community aspirations, together with international and national trends on modern libraries, informed the development of the central library strategy.
The central library purpose is to:
- be a recreation and cultural attraction that contributes to a vibrant city centre
- be a community hub for learning, innovation and connection
- share the stories of Tauranga: past, present and future in its Heritage Centre and Archive.
Joanna Thomas, Manager of Tauranga Libraries, said that the ‘community hub’ model adopted reflects the trend that libraries offer much more than books.
“In this digital era, a strong emphasis is on providing a wide range of services from homework programmes, to CV support, to computer and internet access, all encouraging civic participation. Libraries are a place for our people,” she said.
Council consulted with its community on a number of central library options. Overall, the majority of submitters (61.2%) supported investing in a future-proof central library rather than a smaller, replacement library. The mayor and councillors heard the message and supported this approach. They also considered other priorities and capped Council’s contribution to the project at $35m. Council will be looking to raise external funding in addition to this contribution.
Staff will continue to identify potential savings while keeping true to the aspirations of the community. The new library is expected to be operational in 2022, with the current central library continuing to provide services to the community until the new facility is open.
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