Central Library closure

Wellington’s Central Library building and public library car park remain closed for assessment.

Entrance to Central Library.

Wellington Central Library building is closed

The Central Library was not damaged in the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes, however it was re-assessed after a change to the Government’s seismic performance assessment criteria guidelines for buildings. A decision was made to close the building, including the public car park and the footpath around the library. 

We are developing further assessment options for the library over the next few months so that the Council can make a decision on the future of the building. We are also installing a new hoarding and artwork around the building that celebrates the life of J.C. Sturm, also known as Jacquie Baxter. The new artwork will provide vibrancy to the area as we work through the long term future of the building and Te Ngākau — Civic Precinct.

The future of the Central Library is part of the Council’s bigger Te Ngākau – Civic Precinct redevelopment programme of work. We are considering how the Central Library and other buildings in the precinct are affected by the new seismic performance assessment criteria guidelines in relation to their structural design and/or construction. Most will require strengthening and redevelopment works, as well as services upgrades and varying levels of redevelopment. 

We need to make sure that minimum service levels (the standard of services provided to the occupants for amenities and maintenance) are able to be maintained and that buildings are compliant and fit for purpose for the community, now and in the future. 

We are also looking at future options for Central Library services so that the Council can take this into consideration when looking at options for the Central Library building. We will be taking our summary of options to Council in March to allow them to make informed decisions on the future development of Te Ngākau as a whole.

You can read more on our website about the redevelopment of Te Ngākau – Civic Precinct.

Collection and distribution centre

A home has been found for Wellington Central Library's collection of 400,000 items in Johnsonville. The Council is leasing a 2000 square metre, two storey site at 141 Johnsonville Road and will begin developing a new collection and distribution centre. The collection will be available to the public once the centre becomes operational in 2020.

Earlier updates on Central Library

Message from the Chief Executive 31 July 2019.

We’re pleased to announce that Professor Ken Elwood, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Auckland, has agreed to lead the process of facilitating a group of construction and engineering industry experts in finding the right way forward for the Central Library building.

Read the full statement Prof Elwood to lead Central Library experts.

Message from the Chief Executive 12 July 2019

Given the high public interest in the Central Library building, as well as the broader Civic Precinct, what follows is an update on where we are at with this work and an indication of the process from here.  

Read the full statement (470KB PDF)

— Kevin Lavery, Chief Executive

Engineering Assessment Memo  (1.9MB PDF)
Aurecon Engineering Assessment  (317KB PDF)
WSP OPUS Peer Review of Assessment (861KB PDF)

Accessing library services and facilities

We are working hard to minimise disruption while continuing to add to our central city library replacement services. You can find information about where to access library services in the central city, including WiFi and printing, at the Wellington City Libraries website

Details about the closure
Wellington Central Library Closure Map  (768KB PDF)
Library Branches by Suburb
Library Opening Hours
Community Centres

Contacting Wellington City Libraries

Contact our Library team directly via enquiries@wcl.govt.nz or 04 801 4040. 

You can also contact the Wellington City i-Site or Council Services Centre with general enquiries.

Citizens Advice Bureau and Justice of the Peace service desk

These services are now available at the James Smith Building on the corner of Manners Street and Cuba. You can reach them on 04 472 2466 or www.cab.org.nz.

Citizen Advice Bureau hours are:

  • Monday: 9.30am-5.15pm
  • Tuesday to Thursday: 930am-6.30pm
  • Friday: 9.30am-3.30pm
  • Saturday: 11am-1pm

Justice of the Peace service desk hours:

  • Monday to Friday: 11am-2pm
  • Tuesday and Thursday evening: 5pm-6pm
  • Wednesday evening: 5pm-6.30pm
  • Saturday: 11am-12.30pm

View a full schedule of JP service desks across Wellington.

Contacting Wellington City Libraries

Contact our Library team directly via enquiries@wcl.govt.nz or 04 801 4040.

You can also contact the Wellington City i-Site or Council Service Centre with general enquiries.