Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Central city library services FAQs

The closure of our 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.

You can always find the latest information about the Central Library building closure on the Wellington City Council website 


Te Awe Library - Harbour City Centre on Brandon Street

A third new central city library is planned to go into the Harbour City Centre on Brandon Street.

Artist's impression of the Te Awe Brandon Library

When will the Te Awe Library open?

Before the lockdown we were on track to open by May 2020. However due to the recent lockdown and ongoing hygiene and social requirements, we envisage this will open by mid-July. You can read our Timeline for Wellington Central Library Replacement services.

Why will it take this long?

The building has undergone significant structural strengthening and needs a complete fit-out to make it fit for purpose as the largest new CBD library. This work required some months to complete, which has been extended further due to the recent lockdown and new hygiene measures required under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

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 will the opening hours be?

The new library is expected to be open the following hours:

Monday to Friday 8.00am - 8.00pm
Saturday & Sunday 9.30am - 5.00pm

There will be a 24/7 book returns facility.

What can I borrow from this library?

The new library will have 20,000 items available. This will include fiction, non-fiction, large print, audio-book and audio-visual collections.

What else can I do there?

There will be a variety of seating and spaces for quiet or collaborative work. Popular programmes like Baby Rock & Rhyme and pre-school story time are planned to be offered along with other events which could include book clubs and author talks, free movie screenings, creative projects and activities. Public computers, printing and photocopying facilities will be available with free Wi-Fi.

Does it have wheelchair access?

Yes. The library will be fully accessible to wheelchairs and will have a lift. On-street mobility parking will be 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.

Will the library be child-friendly?

Yes, the library will include a children's area and a programme of activities aimed at children are being developed. The library will offer a parents' room.

Will there be a café on-site?

Yes, a privately operated café will operate on the ground floor next to the library.

Will there be a meeting room available?

The new library will offer a large semi-private multi-function area that can be used for events.

You can read more about the new library on our News Blog.


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He Matapihi Molesworth Library

The new central city library service 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 will be based permanently at the partnership space.

You can read more about the new library and its collection on our News and Libraries website pages.


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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 & Sunday 9.30am - 5.00pm
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.

Can I change my pickup branch to be Arapaki?

You can have it changed by a staff member, please send us an email at enquiries@wcl.govt.nz so we can change your Central reserves to Arapaki.

You can also set your default pickup branch to be Arapaki if you login to the New Catalogue and update your contact information.


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Te Pātaka Collection and Distribution Centre

The Council is leasing a site at 141 Johnsonville Road to house 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?

No, it will not be a public facility. We will have a system in place for library users to access the collection.

Does this mean that the Central Library collection will become available again?

Yes, the collection will become available again when the new Collection and Distribution Centre, Te Pātaka becomes fully operational around July. In March 2020 we began the eight week process to relocate the approximately 370,000 items in the Central Library collection.

This work stopped for the COVID-19 lockdown. We are currently working with the contractors who are restarting this work under the COVID-19 Alert Level 3 hygiene and social distancing rules. We will let library members know how they will be able to order books from here towards late June-early July, once we have a clearer picture of how the COVID-19 requirements affect these projects.

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

All reservation fees were suspended following the closure of the Central Library. We have decided to remove any fees for reserving items from Te Pātaka when it becomes operational. However we have introduced a $2 charge per item for when 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 people to access.

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


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Free membership to Hutt City Libraries

Thanks to the generosity of Hutt City Libraries, Wellington City Libraries customers can sign up for free to access Hutt City Libraries' collection for three months.

More information

Can I use my Wellington City Libraries membership at Hutt City Libraries?

Yes. Just take your Wellington City Libraries card to any Hutt City Libraries' branch to sign up for free access to Hutt City Libraries books and magazines.

I have already paid for non-resident access to Hutt City Libraries. Can I get a refund?

Yes. Contact Hutt City Libraries for a refund.


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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.

Due to the changes COVID-19 will bring to the economy and the Council's future work programme and priorities we are reviewing scenarios before they will presented to Council on Thursday 21 May.

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.

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 currently no fee for this service.

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

You can return them to any branch library, when they re-open.

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

No, all items housed with the Central Library are unavailable for loan until further notice. Our 13 branch libraries (including Arapaki Manners Library and He Matapihi Molesworth Library) are open to all library members.

Can I still access online resources?

Members can also 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 here: https://natlib-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/search?vid=NLNZ 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 this form.

What's on for kids across our libraries?

Our branches deliver a range of special programmes and events, including children's programming such as Pre-School Storytime and Baby Rock & Rhyme. During the COVID-19 lockdown we are providing these programmes on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wellingtoncitylibraries at the following times:

  • Baby Rock & Rhyme on Thursdays from 9:30-10am
  • Children's Storytime: week days at 10:30am, and Saturdays at 2:00pm.

The Library team has been helping me with a research project. What happens to that now?

Our staff will 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 have contacted social support agencies so they can 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 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 as normal 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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