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Ashburton library nears long-awaited opening

Ashburton library nears long-awaited opening

It’s only a matter of 200m, but shifting more than 60,000 books, magazines and other resources make it a big enterprise.

Ashburton’s library is halfway through its three-week move to its new home Te Kete Tuhinga inside Te Whare Whakatere, the new library and civic centre.

The old library closed its door on December 31 and is set to begin operating on the ground floor and first floor of the new building from January 22.

Council people and facilities group manager Sarah Mosley said library staff are excited to welcome the community to the new, modern facility.

“We are hopeful that all finishing touches are done but some signage and accessing the APNK computer network may not be ready on day one, with this dependant on external providers.

“The library team will have their induction activities starting next week.”

That will involve training staff and setting up the new facility, ready for the long-awaited opening day.

An official opening ceremony is yet to be scheduled.

In late December, chief executive Hamish Riach announced the council admin staff had their move delayed because of an issue with the air conditioning on the top floor.

Rather than moving in on December 18, the staff have continued to work remotely and are expected to move in a week after the library opens.

“We are planning that the admin staff will move in from January 29, but the final commissioning of the air conditioning system, scheduled for next week, will determine this.”

A site blessing is planned for January 19.

The old earthquake-prone library delivered one final hurrah, suffering flooding from the rain on New Year’s Eve.

“Luckily, we didn't lose many books this time,” Mosley said.

Out the front of the building, the $2.45 million redevelopment of Baring Square East is all-but complete, with a few minor finishing touches required once the construction of Te Whare Whakatere is finished.

The project created a paved plaza entrance to the new building, a new one-way slow-speed road with angle parking, and involved a replant and renovation of the square while retaining several existing features.

Next door to Te Whare Whakatere, the demolition of Cavendish Chambers is nearly completed.

The rubble from the historic brick building is set to be cleared, and a public carpark to service Te Whare Whakatere is expected to be completed around the end of February.

By Jonathan Leask