Christchurch City Council Libraries 2025 Facilities Plan

Libraries 2025 Facilities Plan

The library as a place – a community hub, a business hub, a space for innovation and creativity – is becoming more important even as libraries become more digital and virtual. The library is changing from being a place where people came to get ideas and information, to an experiential place where people meet with others to create, share and learn about new ideas in a social context.

Facilities Plan
Libraries are important community hubs and help strengthen communities.
– The Plan will recognise the need to provide relevant services and community space.
– Libraries will foster local communities’ wellbeing by providing accessible meeting places and focal points for the community, learning and leisure activities.
– Library facilities will be safe buildings that can be utilised as local hubs and in particular enable access to information and Council and related services during emergencies.
– Library facilities will embrace the cultural diversity of local communities.
– The Plan will reflect Council’s commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi by reflecting an understanding of and respect for the needs of the Tangata Whenua.
– Architecturally designed buildings will generate community pride and reflect the diversity of local cultures and lifestyles.

City’s Community Outcomes
– A City of Lifelong Learning.
– A City for Recreation, Fun and Creativity.
– A City of Inclusive and Diverse Communities.
These are key contributors to meeting the Council’s strategic direction for creating Strong Communities along with a Liveable City and Prosperous Economy.

Strengthen The Community
Public libraries strengthen the communities in which they are situated:
– helping to build community unity,
– identity and developing citizenship;
– providing people with the information they need to enrich and excite them;
– supporting, encouraging and facilitating lifelong learning and fostering literacy;
– encouraging a love of reading.
Public libraries assist in drawing people out of social exclusion and contribute to the economic development and cultural well being of their communities.

Urban Design Protocol
The value of public buildings such as libraries is emphasised in the Urban Design Protocol (which Christchurch City Council is a signatory to): they protect the cultural identity and heritage of our towns and cities; provide creativity; and add social, environmental and cultural benefits by creating well connected, inclusive and accessible places.

Key Stakeholder Engagement
Selective pre-consultation engagement by the Project Team with key stakeholder groups was undertaken during the information-gathering phase to support and inform the Working Party’s deliberations. Representative community groups, library professionals, education providers, volunteers and library website users were among those consulted. Earlier customer and stakeholder research was also referenced. In summary, the key and common points raised by many of these stakeholder groups were:

Library Facilities
– Important, central meeting place and focal point in a community.
– Open, spacious, welcoming environment; warm place to be in winter; vital social contact for many (especially older persons); place to meet (café) and relax with children and friends or family.
– Outstanding location (e.g. overlooking ocean, park setting), source of community pride, for the building and the resources available.
– Access to a diverse range of reading materials – books, magazines, children’s and talking books; Central Library used by people for the value and depth of collection and there are more items from which to choose.
– Free learning environment; provider of ‘second chance’ opportunities for adults wanting to learn.
– Provider of general services, e.g. photocopiers, community/local information.

Location Preferences
– Near local shops/supermarket/mall/bank/medical centre/schools/playground/toy library; malls and aquatic facilities not seen as highly desirable areas for co-location or as adjacent locations; co-location with a Council service centre favoured.
– On bus route/near transport hubs; handy walking distance from home; easily accessed, free, plentiful car parking adjacent to library.
– Attractive street visibility.

Library facilities need to be ‘where the people go’. Many users, particularly casual leisure users, are attracted to libraries in a similar way to retail and entertainment activities.
Therefore, library facilities are best located either close to a major destination within the city, such as a mall and/or a major transport junction, or at sites sufficiently attractive to draw visitors to them as standalone ‘destination locations’.

Building Requirements
– Spaciousness – cafes; room for quiet spaces away from bustle of café and children’s area; generous space between book stack aisles to enable easy browsing by less nimble and multiple users at one time; plenty of chairs/ beanbags and desks at which to work/relax.
– Whanau-friendly facilities, e.g. children’s areas, baby feeding/changing facilities.
– Outdoor environment important – need natural features and to be welcoming; clear signposting within and outside the building.
– Accessible buildings and facilities for people with disabilities.
– Good infrastructure and building design (air conditioning, etc).
– Library buildings will foster a sense of civic pride.

Future Service Needs
– Will always be a need for books.
– Continue free access to libraries. In the future, key uses will be for carrying out research using non-digitised resources and accessing leisure reading.
– Retain libraries as the key repositories for books/knowledge in the city; storage of local history and identity; act as a one-stop source for tourist and community information, e.g. InfoTap and Heartlands.
– Ensure adequate staffing by helpful, positive and knowledgeable librarians.
– Provide continuing education courses in information access/library use.
– Ensure libraries are safe, restful places; provide opportunities to relax – coffee and areas for families.
– Maintain a high-quality library website and electronic catalogue.
– Provide more resources in Te reo and materials of interest to Maori.
– Incorporate barrier-free access to latest technology, e.g. free Broadband and wireless network; provide online assistance for remote users; and free internet access.
– Include technologies that enable access to information by people with disabilities – important that Central and at least some of community libraries have a good range of technologies available; ensure information and leisure reading/listening/viewing resources meet needs of people with disabilities.

Library Trends
Libraries will transition from a centre of information to a centre of culture.
Not surprisingly the growing use of technology is a major trend. The New Zealand government’s Digital Strategy envisages a digital future for all New Zealanders, using the power of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to enhance all aspects of our lives; provide seamless, easy access to information for work, leisure and cultural identity.
Its goals are to:
– Enable communities to use technology to realise their social, cultural and economic aspirations.
– Enhance the contribution ICT makes to New Zealand’s overall business productivity.
– Provide all New Zealanders with the digital skills and confidence to find and use the information they need.
– Public libraries, as primary providers of information in Christchurch, must embrace key goals of the Strategy in future planning.

Post Earthquakes
Those libraries that were able to remain open in the aftermath of the quakes rapidly became the only, vital link that people could have with friends and family elsewhere. Free access to the internet and social media enabled people to connect with family and friends to reassure them of their safety, sharing their experiences and expressing their needs.
Public and community information was readily available at libraries – they became an information and social conduit for recovery.
Libraries have always had this role in communities, but never more valued than during this time when other channels of communication were limited.

‘Share an Idea’ | Christchurch Central Recovery Plan
People’s thoughts on libraries in our city’s future included that they are community hubs and lifeblood, provide accessible public spaces where all are welcome, are centres for preserving and reflecting cultural heritage, have exciting learning spaces, children’s areas, café, exhibition and performance spaces, and provide free WiFi and interactive access.
The community has strongly indicated libraries are valued as key destinations and “anchors”.

Shirley Library 2008
Current Facility: Built 1996. Future need for more service capability. Space required to develop service for learning services to support need in the community.
Fit With Need: Growth retail – The Palms Shopping Centre. Need – Community.
Recommended Actions: Participate in ongoing Council/Ecan planning with mall owners with the view to possible relocation and upgrade of library facility as suburban library.
Priority Driver: Growth/need. Retail development impacted by growth. Opportunity for service improvement.

Land Use Recovery Plan | December 2013
Halswell, Belfast, New Brighton and Shirley suburbs are identified a key activity centres for business and community which aligns with the planning for new and retention of libraries in these areas.

Shirley Library 2014
Current Facility: Detailed Engineering. Evaluation completed. Some repairs will be required.
Fit With Need: Extensive housing developments to the north expected to balance the loss of households to the east due to earthquake damage.
Recommended Actions: Maintain library service and consider the future location of the library in the post earthquake environment in line with developments in Shirley and Marshlands.
Priority Driver: Growth/need. Supporting the projected increases in residential growth in the north east.