South Library ExteriorIt’s hard to believe that South Library has been closed for three weeks now. It’s been such a pivotal part of life on the south side of town, it still seems strange not to be heading in through the glass doors, searching for books and ordering a coffee from the Red Cafe.

I love the South Library building. It’s funky, innovative, light, bright and welcoming. The building served as an inclusive place where everyone’s welcome. It’s been a source of reliable information, a safe haven in a time of catastrophe, a repository of wonderful books, and an inclusive public space where people come to talk, connect with others, share stories and feel part of the community.

And the future of South? The building has teams of engineers swarming all over it. While there has never been any likelihood of it falling down, the ground it sits on is near the river and needs checking thoroughly. It’s a case of wait and see.

If you’re at a loss to know where to go for your library books now, pop into Spreydon Library, the little library beside the entrance to Barrington Mall.  The librarians will make you welcome and you might find some books you haven’t come across before.  If you’d like to meet with friends or have a cup of coffee while you’re browsing, Upper Riccarton Library has a coffee shop. Central Library Tuam is the newest branch of the library and holds some of the heritage collection that have been retrieved from the damaged Central Library building, as does Central Library Peterborough.  The closest place to pay your rates is at the Riccarton Service Centre, 199 Riccarton Road.