From Canterbury Public Library to Tūranga – 1982 / 2013 / 2018

Tūranga opened on Friday 12 October 2018. We did a bit of a historical re-enactment with the Tūranga staff.

Back in 1982, staff were moving into their fab new digs on Gloucester Street. In 2013, librarians were clearing out stuff from their old workplaces in the Central Library. In 2018, Tūranga staff were excited about opening to the public.

Canterbury Public Library staff outside the new library building on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace [1982] CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0091 Previous Photo ~ Next PhotoCentral Library staff, Gloucester Street, 28 September 2013. Flickr 2013-09-28-IMG_9406Tūranga staff. Flickr 2018-IMG_1061

One of the notable features of the old Central Library was the escalator. In Tūranga, there are the mighty Harry Potter-esque stairs.

Staff group on escalator, Central Library. Flickr CCl-150-702Gloucester Street. Saturday 28 September 2013. Flickr 2013-09-28-IMG_9380Tūranga staff. Wednesday 10 October 2018. Flickr 2018-IMG_1047

So here it is, in black and white – new central library 1982, Tūranga 2018.

Canterbury Public Library staff outside the new library building on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace [1982] CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0091Tūranga staff. Wednesday 10 October 2018. Flickr 2018-IMG_0210

And the first customers arriving is the biggest moment of all! We are so happy to welcome you to your new central library, Tūranga.

Customers waiting to enter library. January 1982. Flickr CCL-150-472Customers entering library, 1982. Flickr CCL-150-470Customers entering new libraryThe people arrive in Tūranga. Tūranga opening day. Friday 12 October 2018. Flickr TU-2018-10-12-IMG_1258Crowd waiting for ribbon-cutting

Customers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony

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A glimpse of libraries past

As we move ever closer to the opening of Tūranga, it can be interesting to reflect and look back on how far libraries have come in the last few decades. Looking at our fabulous digital collections I hit a fascinating and poignant vein of images of Christchurch libraries past.

Particularly poignant is this image of staff in 1982 outside the new – now old – central library on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace. It feels very symbolic of change, and hope, and the unexpected – and was recreated in 2013.

IMG0091
Canterbury Public Library staff outside the new library building on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace [1982] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0091
Another image shows behind the scenes views of Canterbury Public Library from the 1950s. Lots of stamping and binding and indexing going on! I’m glad to say that our wonderful Bindery is still going strong, but I think we look a little different behind the scenes these days – still heaps of books, but much more technology.

IMG0090
A behind the scenes look at the day to day activities of the Canterbury Public Library 
[1954]
File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0090
Two more views show cataloguing and processing in the 1960s and 1950s. We still do a considerable amount of cataloguing and getting items shelf ready, but we certainly don’t have tables like that any more, nor do we wear the legendary smocks!

IMG0092
The cataloguing and processing department of the Canterbury Public Library moved to the area that was formerly the bindery, who had moved to the ground floor of the library house next door in Cambridge Terrace 
[1967]
File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0092

Cataloguing and processing staff of the Canterbury Public Library in their workroom in Cambridge Terrace, 1953
Cataloguing and processing staff of the Canterbury Public Library in their workroom in Cambridge Terrace 
[1953]
File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0093
I love looking at photos like this. It’s great to look at where we have come from as we plan our move ahead into the future. However, as much as we have changed, some things do stay the same – piles of books and librarians working hard to connect you with wonderful content.

 

Goodbye old friend

Librarians house has goneRecently I went into the central City and took a series of photographs of the Library Chambers which are now being demolished.  Many people will know the Library Chambers as the old Canterbury Public Library which closed in 1981 when the Central Library moved to its new building across the river on Gloucester Street.

As I walked around snapping pictures of the damaged building memories came flooding back. When I first came to Christchurch I ‘went native’. That is to say, I brought a bicycle to get around. I cycled round to the library and joined up. As well as books I was soon hauling away treasures like LPs  and prints to brighten up my inner city flat.

Then a bit later I worked there briefly in a very part-time capacity. It was the sort of city library I was used to from Wellington. Lots of dark polished wood, a cool refuge on a hot day, a magnificent bank of wooden catalogue drawers in the heart of the library, lots of nooks and crannies with their own special character – the newspaper reading room, the children’s library, the New Zealand room and so on.

We have photos of the old library in our digital collection.

For the library 150th celebrations in 2009 we collected a number of fond memories of the old library both as a physical place and as a lively institution adding much life and richness to our city. Read about the original art that could be borrowed, Mollie Tobeck’s memories of joining the library or Brian Gilberthorpe’s experience of his first job at the Canterbury Public Library.

So goodbye old friend – thanks for all the memories.