Countdown to library launch

GETTING READY, above: The new Birkenhead library opens on December 17. An official opening will be held in February when work in Nell Fisher Reserve is finished.

Next week Birkenhead library users can at last set foot in a new $9 million library.

The library’s manager, Sharron Cleghorn, predicts people will love the building so much they won’t want to leave.

Mrs Cleghorn says it’s one of the few buildings that’s been constructed for the North Shore City Council that will be absorbed into the Auckland supercity next year.

Birkenhead’s old library in the heart of Highbury was demolished just over four years ago.

Major resource consent issues were the main cause of the lengthy delay before construction could begin.

On Friday at 5.30pm the temporary library closes and book lovers can look forward to visiting their new library from 10am on December 17.

A formal public opening ceremony is due to be held in February when landscaping in the surrounding Nell Fisher Reserve is finished.

The full cost of the project is about $9m, says Ms Cleghorn.

Construction costs accounted for $7.3m and a further $1.7m is being spent on fittings and books.

Visitors can look forward to enjoying stunning views across the Waitemata Harbour towards west Auckland, Auckland city and back to Devonport.

The new library reflects the fact that libraries are places of learning and recreational reading, says customer services team leader Megan Hayward.

Ms Hayward says the library has extensive studying space.

A community learning librarian will help provide programmes such as helping migrants with literacy skills.

Other features also include a drive-through dropoff point for library books, meeting space for small community groups and larger display space for the Birkenhead and Chelsea Sugar archives.

The North Shore Library Foundation is sponsoring three sculptures by Jeff Thompson that will be up in the reserve outside the library early next year.

Friends of Birkenhead Library and the foundation have also provided a commemorative book recognising library supporters over its 60-year history.

The new library’s opening and future supporters will also be acknowledged.

Credits

Photo/s by: BEN WATSON
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – The North Shore Times

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