Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Central & CBD Services FAQs

Our Central Library building is closed until further notice. We realise this closure affects many people and we are working hard to minimise disruption. Below you'll find some frequently asked questions about the closure and what's happening to our services in the central city.

Key points about services

Central & CBD Services updates

Arapaki Manners Library & Service Centre

A new pop-up library that opened on Tuesday 28 May sees library services returning to central Wellington for the first time since the closure of the Central Library in March. The pop-up library at 12 Manners Street is co-located with the Wellington City Council Service Centre.

What can I borrow from Arapaki?

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

All the same services that were previously available at our Wakefield Service Centre are available at Arapaki, 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, to any branch library or to the small returns box at 101 Wakefield Street.

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 entire CBD pop-up library network is up and running.

How long will Arapaki be here for?

It could be several years before we would have a Central Library again. So we are planning for Arapaki, and the other replacement services pop-up libraries, to be in use for the medium term.

When will other pop-up libraries open?

Arapaki is just the first in our CBD pop-up library network to open. We have recently announced details of our partnership space with the National Library, set to open in September. Details about other pop-up locations will be available in the coming weeks.

Will branch libraries still be open late nights and weekends?

As our staff transfer back into the CBD network, extended hours at our branch libraries will gradually reduce. We will keep our customers informed about changes to hours at their local libraries. To keep up to date with replacement library services, check back on this page, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

What's happening to the Central Library collections?

Our property team is searching for a warehouse that meets our criteria for floor loading and amount of space for shelving, and we are investigating several promising opportunities. Our aim is for the warehouse to also act as a distribution hub so we need a space that's comfortable for our staff to work in, with office facilities, and a loading bay. At this stage we are continuing to store the collection in the library building. The Central Library collection is unavailable and cannot be reserved at this time.

Why can't I find this magazine at Arapaki?

The Arapaki collection is only some of the magazines which would have been found at the Central library. It is small because of the limited space available. Future CBD pop-up libraries will increase the range of titles for users.

The entire Central library collection will be put into storage as soon as suitable accommodation has been found. WCC is actively looking for this warehousing space. Once the central collection has been transferred, customers will be able to request any item, including magazines.

Are meeting rooms available at Arapaki?

There are 2 small meeting rooms in Arapaki, they are for Service Centre customers meeting with WCC staff.

Can I reserve items from Arapaki?

Arapaki's collection is not reservable but you can still choose CDB Arapaki Manners as your pickup branch for items reserved from our other branch libraries.

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.

New co-operative space to open at National Library

A partnership between the National Library and Wellington City Council to develop library services has been announced by Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.

National Library Announcement

When will the partnership space open?

It will take some time to fit out and set up the space, but we aim to have it open in September.

How long will the partnership space be open?

This depends on the Council's eventual decision about the future of the Central Library building and the National Library's future use plans for the site. It could be several years before we have a Central Library again. Our initial partnership agreement is until the end of 2021, at which time both parties will review and agree any changes.

What can I borrow from this library?

We expect around 7,000 items will be available to browse and borrow. Items will have a New Zealand focus and complement the National Library's existing collection.

What else can I do there?

Get access to digital content, free WiFi, and public PCs with scanning and printing facilities. A librarian will be on hand to answer questions and join up new members.

How many library staff will work there?

Up to 5 Wellington City Libraries' staff will be based at the partnership space.

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.

About the building closure

Why is the Central Library building closed? Updated: 12/07/2019

We've had to do this because of recently received engineering advice based on Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) guidelines.The engineering advice revealed the Central Library building has structural vulnerabilities that mean it may not perform well in the event of a significant earthquake.

More information about the reasons for closing the building are on the Wellington City Council website. This includes a copy of the engineering report commissioned by the Council in response to the MBIE guidelines, and the WSP OPUS Peer Review of Assessment.

Is the building safe?

The building is not damaged but there are vulnerabilities with the building that would be a concern in the event of a significant earthquake, which is why we have made the decision to close the building.

What will happen with the Central Library building? Updated: 31/07/2019

At this stage Wellington City Council is considering what the options are for addressing the structural issues with the building. We've appointed Professor Ken Elwood, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Auckland, to lead the process of facilitating a group of construction and engineering industry experts in finding the right way forward for the Central Library building.

These considerations may take some time to ensure that the right outcome is achieved, and we do not have a confirmed timeframe for when a decision will be finalised. Read the latest updates on the Central Library building here.

Please keep an eye on our website, social media (Facebook, twitter) and email updates for further information about the Central Library building and accessing library services.

What about the area around the building and Civic square — is it safe to be around the area?

The public carpark and areas of footpath around the building will also be closed as a precaution, as they lie within the building envelope.

What are we doing about accessibility issues for the waterfront

The closure has made it more difficult to access the Wellington waterfront, particularly for cyclists and wheelchairs.

We're aware of the accessibility issues resulting from the closure. We're working on solutions as quickly as we can and will keep you updated.

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

The Citizens Advice Bureau — including Justice of the Peace services — has been relocated to the Ground Floor of Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield Street. You can reach them on 04 472 2466 or cab.org.nz.

You can view a full schedule of JP clinics across Wellington by clicking on the link below:

JP clinics across Wellington

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

If you had items on loan from the Central Library, we have adjusted the due date to 19 June.

You can return them to any branch library at no cost (including Arapaki in the CBD).

Will I be charged overdue fees if I don't return my Central Library items?

Due dates for Central library items have been extended until 19 June. If items are not returned by their due date, then overdue fees will apply.

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 12 branch libraries (including Arapaki Manners Library) remain open to all library members. Some Central Library items that have been returned to a branch can be found on display shelves, and are available for loan.

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

If you want to reserve items from another branch library, there is currently no fee for this service. We'll let you know via our website, social media and e-newsletter when alternative services are set up and able to be accessed. There are also no fees for reserving items in eLibrary.

Where else can I go for library programmes, e.g. storytimes, Baby Rock & Rhyme?

Our branch network offers a range of special programmes/events, including children's programmes. Please check our events calendar for locations and times.

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.

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

We have contacted social support agencies so they can let some of our more vulnerable library users know about the closure.

In the meantime, we encourage users to make use of other public facilities that are open to them — including our 11 suburban branch libraries, CBD Arapaki Manners 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.

General contact information

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

Library email addresses and phone lines continue to be monitored, though there may be a longer delay than normal in responding.

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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