Our Wellington

News | 26 November 2020

Te Awe’s most wanted: Top picks at the library

What do flat whites, The Dave Clark Five, and a Māori language learning guide all have in common? To be fair, not a heck of a lot. Except that they are among the most popular selections by Wellingtonians visiting Te Awe Library and its inhouse cafe.

Two children sitting at separate tables, each engrossed in a book, with the bright Te Awe Library mural behind them and blurred people walking by.

Pōneke’s newest library, Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awe, opened in the CBD in July and was an instant hit with the community.

The city may have been in Alert Level 2 restrictions, but that didn’t stop a whopping 1070 items walking out the door on opening day.

Team Leader Jane Brooker says in that first week the library attracted 143 new members, and 52,000 items were borrowed within the first three months – that’s 4000 a week.

Here are the most popular items:

Most issued CD

  • The Dave Clark Five: All the Hits

    (Check out the band’s song that knocked The Beatles’ hit ‘I want to hold your hand’ off the top spot in the UK charts in 1964)

Most popular vinyl

  • Bill Evan: Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
  • Benee: Fire on Marzz
  • Benee: Stella & Steve 

Most popular children’s items

  • Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
  • The Sisters Vol. 5: M.Y.O.B. by Christophe Cazenove
  • Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey

Most popular adult fiction

  • Auē by Becky Manawatu
  • The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle

Most popular adult non-fiction

  • Māori Made Easy: For Everyday Learners of the Māori Language by Scotty Morrison
  • Vegful by Nadia Lim
A girl reading a book sitting up high in a circular cubby hole at Te Awe Library, with a man walking past and another girl reading on a comfy, wide rectangular seat.

Jane says more than 24,000 visitors frequent the library each month, and customers love its central city location on Brandon Street.

She says customer feedback spans from “what a wonderful space” and “it’s cosy without being cluttered”, to “credit to yourselves and Council – it’s better than I thought it would be” and “great space, lots of places to sit”.

“From a staff perspective, we’ve been really pleased with the new library’s fitout,” Jane says. “We love the colour palette and furnishings, but especially the reaction from the public. It has surprised and delighted and exceeded our expectations.”

The walls in Te Awe have been brought to life with murals that were a collaboration between Pōneke school pupils and Wellington City Council’s Creative and Brand Team.

But neat artwork, comfy seats, and literature and music aside, there’s another reason to visit Te Awe Library – caffeine.

Each day Collective Cafe serves up hundreds of flat whites – three times as many as long blacks, the next most popular coffee – and up to 100 hot chocolates.

Oat milk is the top alternative milk choice, and if you’re into the classic sandwich, you better get in quick before the roast chicken, apple, walnut and ranch sammie sells out.