Funding boost for library upgrade
The upgrade of the HB Williams Memorial Library has been given a funding boost with donations confirmed from the J N Williams Memorial Trust of $1m and $860,000 from the Eastland Community Trust.
“We’re thrilled that both trusts have contributed and it now means we can take the redevelopment to the next level,” says deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz.
A $3.5m upgrade of the library was budgeted in the 2015- 2025 Long Term Plan with donations from the estates of Stanley Green, Hannah Dunlop and Jessie Iris Jeffery’s totalling $1.75m and contribution of $1.75m from Council.
“It’s a highly used and very important asset for our community,” says Cr Stoltz. “Whatever the digital world brings us over the next few years we know that the community needs a hub where they can access knowledge.
“This money enables us to future proof this asset and provide for the needs of the community in the best possible way.
“I’d like to thank them for their generosity on behalf of Council and the community”.
The Williams family continue their very long history of support for Gisborne and the library.
Chairperson of the trust, Phillida Eivers says the library was originally built in memory of Mr H B Williams senior, the building won international recognition for its design - the scooped roof representing a book end.
“The Williams family's commitment to the library and what it represents has not waned and this latest contribution is one more demonstration of our continuing support.
“We're committed to the future of this iconic building. Nowhere else in Gisborne meets the needs of the varied members of our society.
“The library's patrons are as diverse as its collection and both are the better for it, says Ms Eivers.
ECT general manger Leighton Evans says “The library is Gisborne’s most used facility with over 240,000 individual visits per year and contributes to a number of social, education and economic outcomes. We see this project as an exercise in future proofing one of our key assets,
“This redevelopment will see it completely reconfigured and extended to create community spaces that better reflect the needs of our 21st century community and cater for those wanting to do much more than borrow a book,” he says.
As well as extend the size of the building the library will also develop and extend the services it offers to the community.
Digital drop-in zones, an informal active youth lounge, an external learning court and a multi-purpose lecture, reception and exhibition space will revolutionise the way in which our library is used.
While research, retreat and support zones will cater for more traditional library users.
Mr Evans says Council’s vision for the library aligned well with the Trust’s objectives.
“A world-class library that reflects the needs of a young and diverse population is a key component in addressing some of the educational achievement issues our community faces,” he says.
“Trustees were pleased to see a focus on digital learning and improving community access to online services.
Council will be finalising the design for a $5.5m building this year and planning for construction to begin 2016.