One hundred fifty years ago, the pakeha settlement of Tauranga numbered less than 250 households, road transport was powered by horse or donkey, and the few roads that weren’t dirt were made of white pipi shell.
On this day, 7 April 1871, three men had a meeting at the Masonic Hotel about providing reading material to the local community. Little did they know this would sow the seeds of the library that we now have today.
The public library in Tauranga predated the newspaper, the fire station and even the first brewery. The Tauranga Library’s central branch started in Harrington Street and occupied two other buildings on Willow Street before moving to its present location.
Tauranga City libraries now have four locations throughout the city, including a new mobile library.
General Manager: Community Services, Gareth Wallis says 2021 marks a significant historic milestone for the Tauranga Library and it’s also the start of a new chapter, as the Willow Street library redevelopment is consulted on through the draft Long-term Plan.
“While still issuing over a million books each year and being a source for local research, technology and information access, today’s libraries foster a sense of belonging and connection.
Libraries are a place of diverse events and activities where different generations and people from all avenues of life can gather. The evolution into community hubs means the new design needs to be multipurpose and incorporate communal spaces, as well as being a place for learning,” adds Mr Wallis.
To mark the 150-year milestone, the Seeds of our Library exhibition will be at Willow Street branch until 8 June and includes library minute books from 1871 to 1897, and a catalogue of library archives in digital form on Pae Korokī – Tauranga Archives Online. For more information, visit our website.