Busy library getting work

Balclutha Library will have remedial work in the next 12 months. PHOTO: NICK BROOK
Balclutha Library will have remedial work in the next 12 months. PHOTO: NICK BROOK
The Balclutha Library is to undergo some repairs as it buckles with more than 1000 people a week visiting.

Growing pressure on space in the library had been met over the past 30 plus years with repairs but it has now been decided to do something more significant.

The repair work will make the library watertight and improve ventilation to ensure it can continue to operate at existing service levels until an appropriate long-term solution for the building can be properly determined within a future long-term plan.

Costs have not been specified but the work is expected to be completed within the next 12 months.

"The first small front section of the library was built in 1914, this was extended in 1989 and had a further extension in 1993. Minor maintenance has been carried out, but there have not been any significant renewals since," Clutha District Council’s head of libraries Debbie Duncan said.

Council head of libraries Debbie Duncan. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Council head of libraries Debbie Duncan. PHOTO: ODT FILES
"Balclutha Library plays two roles. It is the local community library for Balclutha and surrounding areas and the ‘central’ library for the wider district, providing the management point for all collections, physical and digital, on behalf of ... Milton, Owaka, Lawrence and Tapanui.

Besides literature and information technology services, Balclutha Library is a hub for community cohesion and education, regularly hosting schools and organisations such as Age Concern.

"This together with the growth in digital use and visitor numbers — approximately 1000 people per week — has placed increasing pressure on the spatial constraints of the building along with ongoing watertightness issues for most of the last 30 years.

"These have been repaired on a case-by-case basis. However, the extent of the water issues has grown to the point that significant sections of the roof now need to be replaced, with additional repairs required for other parts of the building also suffering the effects of poor water tightness. This includes improving the library’s ventilation system to provide a healthier environment for staff and visitors."

Mrs Duncan said inclusion of the library within the new Te Pou Ō Mata Au community centre was not a suitable option, as it did not meet the library’s size and layout requirements,

It would also not provide the level of safe accessibility currently enjoyed by Balclutha’s senior residents and school-age children who walk to the John St library.

Balclutha Library’s annual operational cost is $1,067,208, excluding GST.