The future plans for the central city mean the Central Library is going to be demolished; we are saying goodbye.
Christchurch City Libraries began in 1859 as a Mechanics Institute collection in temporary premises in the then Town Hall in High Street. In 1863 the library moved to a wooden building on the corner of Hereford Street and Cambridge Terrace. The wooden building was replaced with a handsome brick building in 1901 and this was the Central Library until 1982.
The 4th incarnation of the Central Library – located on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace – opened on 11 January 1982. Warren and Mahoney were the architects and C. S. Luney the principal contractor. Governor-General the Hon. Sir David Beattie officially opened the building on 2 February 1982.
I started going to the Central Library in Gloucester Street when I moved to Christchurch in the 1990s. I would toddle in once a week for my supply of CDs and books. Later on I was stoked to get a job at Central. I’ve got many good memories of all sorts of things: talking with customers on the Popular desk on the ground floor, the neat views over Gloucester Street to Cathedral Square, great friends, staffroom chats, oohing and ahhing over new books and CDs and DVDS, breastfeeding my daughter in the sick room, listening to NZ Music Month concerts and author talks. In Central you really did feel part of town’s action and bustle. Central Library staff and customers were (and are) an awesome bunch.
The riverside land the library stands on is required for the planned Convention Centre. A new Central Library is to be built on a site bordered by Gloucester Street, Colombo Street and Cathedral Square.
We’d love you to share your memories and comments at the bottom of this post
Until we are back again in a new Central Library, enjoy our temporary Centrals – Central Library Peterborough, Central Library Tuam (until it closes on 1 November) and the upcoming Central Library Manchester.
More about the Central Library
- Central Library / Te Kete Wānanga o Ōtākaro
- A history of the Central Library building in Gloucester Street, Christchurch
- Booklet published to celebrate the official opening on 2 February 1982 of the new library building at 91 Gloucester Street
- The Library in the heart of the city
- Search our catalogue for stuff about the Central Library
There are lots more photos of the Central Library on Flickr.