Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

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Central city library services FAQs

The closure of Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui (Central Library) building affected our city's library services. Below you'll find some frequently asked questions about new services available in the central city and other general information about how you can use our libraries.

In October 2020 the Council voted to remediate Te Matapihi to the highest level (base-isolation) and provide the public with the opportunity to consider this funding alongside other priorities for the city in the 2021-31 Long-term Plan consultation.

On 15 April 2021 the Council adopted the four principles that will guide the design for modernising Te Matapihi within the required remediation plans. This includes calling the Central Library, Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui (Te Matapihi) which is the name it was gifted by the Māori Language Commission when it opened. It means 'to open windows on the wide world'. If the funding for remediating is approved in the Long-term Plan, we will able to procure the contractors needed to manage the detailed design process.

You can read more about the Te Matapihi / Central Library project on the Wellington City Council website 

Te Awe Library - Harbour City Centre on Brandon Street

Te Awe Library in Lambton Quay opened on Tuesday 14 July.

You can visit the library from the 29 Brandon Street entrance, or the one at 28 Panama Street, next to the Collective Café. To learn more about our inner-city library locations, and the ongoing plans for our collections and services, please read our Timeline for Wellington Te Matapihi (Central Library) Replacement services.

Artist's impression of the Te Awe Brandon Library

How long will this library be kept open?

The Te Awe Library will remain open until it is no longer required to ensure continuity of central library services. The term of the lease is four years.

What are Te Awe's opening hours?

Monday to Friday 8:00am - 8:00pm
Saturday & Sunday 9:30am - 5:00pm

Te Awe has a 24/7 book returns facility.

What can I borrow from this library?

Te Awe has more than 20,000 items available. This includes fiction, non-fiction, large print, audio-book and audio-visual collections, plus the vinyl collection.

What else can I do there?

There is a variety of seating and spaces for quiet or collaborative work. Public computers, printing and photocopying facilities are available, with free Wi-Fi.

Popular programmes like Baby Rock & Rhyme and pre-school story time are available, along with other events which may include book clubs and author talks, free movie screenings, creative projects and activities. You can see the regular programmes below:

Baby Rock & Rhyme - Mondays at 10.30am and Wednesdays at 2.00pm
Family storytime - Saturdays at 10:30am
Pre-school storytime - Thursdays at 10:30am
Let's Go Lego - Sundays at 11am
Movie Night - Tuesdays at 5:45pm.

Does it have wheelchair access?

Yes. The library is fully accessible to people who use wheelchairs, and has a lift. On-street mobility parking is available in close proximity to the site.

Is there any parking?

Yes, on-street parking and private off-street carparks are available in close proximity to the site.

Is the library child-friendly?

Yes, the library includes a children's area, and a programme of activities aimed at children is offered. Te Awe also offers a parents' room.

Is there a café on-site?

Yes, the privately owned and operated Collective Café operates on the ground floor next to the library, at the Panama Street entrance, so you'll be able to enjoy a hot drink or something tasty from their range of organic, free-range food, while reading a magazine or finding your latest read.

Is there a meeting room available?

Te Awe offers a large semi-private multi-function area that can be used for events.

You can read more about the new library on our Te Awe Branch Page.

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He Matapihi Molesworth Library

He Matapihi Molesworth Library opened to the public on Wednesday 9 October 2019 on the ground floor of the National Library at 70 Molesworth St, Thorndon, Wellington.

Why is this library located in the National Library building?

He Matapihi Molesworth has been developed by the National Library and Wellington City Council as a partnership project and offers a library service and collection which complements the National Library's collection.

Opening day at He Matapihi Molesworth Library

How long will He Matapihi Molesworth Library stay open?

He Matapihi will stay open at least until the end of 2021. The arrangement will then be reviewed depending on National Library's plans for future use of the site and the Council's decision-making about future central city library services.

What will the opening hours be?

The new library's opening hours will be in keeping with National Library's:

Monday to Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday 9:00am - 1:00pm
Sunday Closed

What can I borrow from He Matapihi Molesworth Library?

Over 5000 items with an Aotearoa and Māori focus can be browsed and borrowed. Topics include Māori and Māori local history, NZ fiction, biography, books in te reo, art and architecture, natural and general history, and social comment.

Can I reserve items from He Matapihi Molesworth Library and collect them at other libraries?

Yes books and other items can be reserved from the library.

Can I collect my reserves from there?

Yes you can collect your reserves from He Matapihi Molesworth Library - look for the new library in the list of pickup branches.

What else can I do there?

It also offers a children's section, magazines, access to digital content, free WiFi, public PCs, printing and seating spaces.

How many library staff will work there?

Up to eight Wellington City Libraries' staff are based permanently at the partnership space.

You can read more about the new library and its collection on our News Blog and He Matapihi branch page.

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Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre

Arapaki Manners Library is co-located with the Wellington City Council Service Centre.

Where is Arapaki?

12 Manners Street, Wellington.

What are the opening hours?

Monday to Friday 8:00am - 7:00pm
Saturday 9:30am - 5:00pm
Sunday Closed
Arapaki Manners Library

What can I borrow from Arapaki?

There are roughly 7,500 items on the shelves at Arapaki at any one time - a mixture of fiction, non-fiction, popular children's titles, language resources and AV items.

What else can I do there?

Internet access computers and a small area of casual seating is available. Library staff are on hand to answer questions, process payments, register new customers, and provide support and advice on the wide range of online content available through our eLibrary.

What does the Service Centre offer?

The service centre at Arapaki can help you with everything that was previously available at our Wakefield Service Centre, such as paying rates and dog registration.

Can I return items to Arapaki?

Yes. Items borrowed from Arapaki should be returned to Arapaki. Items borrowed from the Central Library before it closed can be returned to Arapaki or to any branch library.

Can I go to activities at Arapaki?

Arapaki is a relatively small space, so we do not have capacity for activities at this time. It is likely that we will review what activities and programmes we can offer once our complete central city library network is up and running.

How long will Arapaki be here for?

We are planning for Arapaki to be in use for five years as it could be some time before we know what will happen to our Central Library building.

Why can't I find this magazine at Arapaki?

The Arapaki collection only has some of the magazines which would have been found at the Central Library due to the limited space available. We have also recently moved specific titles that were previously housed in the Central Library to various branches.

Are meeting rooms available at Arapaki?

There are two small meeting rooms in Arapaki, they are for Service Centre customers meeting with WCC staff.

Can I reserve items from Arapaki?

Yes books and other items can be reserved from the library.

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Te Pātaka Collection and Distribution Centre

The Te Pātaka Collection and Distribution Centre houses Wellington Central Library's collection.

How large is the site and what is it for?

The Council is leasing a 2000 square metre, two storey site to house Wellington Central Library's collection.

Will the Collection and Distribution Centre be open to the public?

Te Pātaka is not open to the public, but it's where you can reserve items from the Central Library collection via our catalogue. For more information about the Central Library Collection, please email enquiries@wcl.govt.nz.

Does this mean that the Central Library collection is available again?

Yes, a large portion of the collection became available again when the new Collection and Distribution Centre, Te Pātaka, started operating in July 2020. Work continues on making the remaining parts of collection (some non-fiction titles and references collections) available to reserve via our catalogue.

Moving our collection has been a process over time — in March 2020 we began relocating the approximately 370,000 items in the Central Library collection. This was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown which began later that same month.

Is there be a fee to get items from the CDC?

We have decided to remove any fees for reserving items from Te Pātaka.

You can read more about the Collection and Distribution Centre on our News Blog.

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General information

How long will the Central Library be closed for?

Work to identify and scope possible remedial engineering scenarios for the Central Library building was due to be presented to Council on 25 March, as part of the Te Ngākau Civic Precinct programme. These discussions were delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Council has also put forward Te Ngākau as a "future project" for consideration under the government's Industry Infrastructure fund. This fund has been set up for projects that will create growth and support the region's economic recovery. Any scenarios which are put forward to progress for Te Ngākau Civic Precinct, including the Central Library building, will take some time to complete, and will involve engagement with stakeholders and the public.

Council Decision on future of the Central Library

On Wednesday 28 October 2020 Council will debate on whether to strengthen or build a new Central Library for the city.

Council officers published a Council paper which recommends Option C to remediate the building to the highest level. This advice is based on the information gained from the public consultation process and the progression of the design and engineering work, which builds on the information available at the time the Statement of Proposal was published.

Option C has been recommended over Option D (new build on the same site) as:

  • the margin between the publics’ preferences was small - 11% higher for Option D in submissions and 1% in the survey.
  • the previous cost difference of $39.1m between Option C and D, has reduced to $4.6m (at the top of the range)
  • the more detailed design process has provided reassurance it is possible to remediate the building and create a modern, future proofed library, similar to a new build
  • to remove the risk of delays due to legal challenges regarding the perceived heritage value of the building under Option D
  • demolition of the building does not contribute to sustainability outcomes.

Council is recommending Option C to be incorporated in the draft Long-Term Plan (LTP). This would allow the officers to continue work on the design and service level brief, including engaging with stakeholders. The results would then be presented Councillors in March 2021 for approval. It would also enable the public to share their views on the updated information, alongside other priorities for the city through LTP consultation process.

You can read a copy of the papers which are included in the Council meeting agenda on our website: https://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/meetings/committees/strategy-and-policy-committee/2020/10/28

The meeting will be livestreamed on the Council’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/user/WgtnCC.

You'll find the latest information about the Central Library closure on the Wellington City Council website.

Is there a fee for reserving items?

If you want to reserve items, there is no fee for this service. However we have introduced a $2 charge per item if people do not pick up their reserved items within 10 working days of being notified they are available for pick up. This is to help keep the items in the collection circulating for everyone to access.

Where can I return items I have on loan from the Central Library?

You can return them to any branch library.

Can I still borrow items from the Central Library collection, via a branch?

All items from the Central Library collection, except some reference items, are available to reserve via our catalogue. For more information about what is available, please email enquiries@wcl.govt.nz.

Can I still access online resources?

Members can access a range of resources online through our eLibrary — including eBooks, eAudio, eMagazines, movies, online databases and digitised heritage.

Our eLibrary collection is both free to borrow and reserve, and you can find more information below.

Can I interloan items from other NZ libraries?

For items which are held by the National Library, we have reduced the interloan fee to $5. You can arrange for the pickup location to be any Wellington City Libraries' branch. You can search the National Library Catalogue and request items using the interloans request form.

Alternatively you can go to the National Library to view the item.

Items can still be loaned from other libraries around New Zealand using our standard interloan service by completing our Interloans form.

What's on for kids across our libraries?

For more information about the programmes available across all library branches, please visit our Event Calendar.

How can I find help with a research project?

Our staff continue to respond to enquiries received via email or phone.

You can contact our team via enquiries@wcl.govt.nz or 04 801 4040.

For access to research collections, check whether National Library, Archives New Zealand, university and polytechic libraries may have items. Library staff can provide advice on this.

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Where is the Citizens Advice Bureau? Where can I access Justice of the Peace services?

Please visit the Wellington City Council website for more information about these services

What are we doing to support our more vulnerable library customers?

We contacted social support agencies so they could let some of our more vulnerable library customers know about the closure.

In the meantime, we encourage everyone to make use of other public facilities that are open to them — including our 11 suburban branch libraries, CBD Arapaki Manners Library, He Matapihi Molesworth Library, Te Awe Brandon Street Library and community centres across the city.

How can I keep up-to-date with what's going on?

We will provide regular updates through the following channels:

Information will also be available for customers through our other branches and Council websites.

How to contact us

You can continue to contact our Libraries team directly via enquiries@wcl.govt.nz or (04) 801 4040.

Branch libraries and community centres are operating under COVID level restrictions and can assist. You can also contact the Wellington City i-Site or Wellington City Council Service Centre with general enquiries.

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