Topic: Recent History of Kaiapoi Library

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A recent history of Kaiapoi Public Library

Apart from minor alterations the Coronation Library remained in use until the mid 1980s when, because of a growing demand and lack of space, it was decided to build a new library and council offices.  The fire station had been relocated to Hilton Street in 1960, and the upstairs portion of the building was used by the Kaiapoi District Historical Society as a museum until they in turn relocated to the old Court House in Williams Street.

The new library was built behind the old building, on what was the Council yard and Kaiapoi Electricity Department's storage area.  A small portion of Raven Quay was also built on.  The tender was awarded to Bremner Smith Builders.  The architect for the whole civic redevelopment was John Vial.

The design of one storey next to the two-storeyed part reflects the shape of the hills to the north-west of the town, and the flowing nature of the design also reflects the surroundings of the river and stopbanks.

The official opening of the library portion was by the Governor General Sir David Beattie on 18 May 1985.  To mark the opening several well-known Kaiapoi families made gifts.  The Cattermole family presented a wall clock, CWD Hodgson donated money for the main lighting feature and the Blackwell family donated money for books.  As well, the Ranui Club for senior citizens fundraised for new books, and students at Kaiapoi High School did the same for the purchase of toys for the children's area.

The old library and fire station building was demolished to make way for the new council offices, chamber and showroom, and this stage, built by Wadey & Efford, was opened by the MP for Rangiora, R J Gerard, on 18 June 1987.

After the amalgamation of Kaiapoi Borough with the surrounding districts to form the Waimakariri District Council in 1989, Kaiapoi served as the base library until the new Trevor Inch Library was opened in Rangiora in 1996.

By May 2001, usage of the Kaiapoi Library continued to increase but the building had by now reached its capacity for absorbing new resources, while the service centre's activity levels had declined.  It was proposed that the existing wall between the library and service centre be removed; the increased space to be used to house the expanding library collection and electronic resources, as well as providing council services.

Peter Dunbar was the architect for the expansion, with Russell Construction Ltd, the building contractor.

The new complex was officially opened by R J (Jim) Gerard, now in his capacity as Mayor of Waimakariri District, on 25 January 2001.

The Kaiapoi Library and Service Centre was damaged in the September 2010 earthquake and was demolished in August 2012.

Kaiapoi Public Library

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