Library volunteer Kath Rhodes cuts the birthday cake. Local board members, from left Janet Fitzgerald, Julia Parfitt and Greg Sayers, attended the afternoon tea to mark the library building’s 20th year. Orewa Library’s longest standing volunteer, Kath Rhodes, aged 91, compares notes with one of the most recent recruits – 13-year-old Caitlin Lawson. Joye-Michelle Mitchell of Orewa signs the library’s special birthday Guest book. Comments written in the book include “the assistants are brilliant”.
The opening of the Orewa Library building in Moana Ave, 20 years ago, was celebrated with an anniversary afternoon tea on December 4.
The past, and possible future, of the library building were among the topics discussed.
Around 50 past and present librarians, volunteers and library users attended the function along with Hibiscus & Bays Local Board chair Julia Parfitt, deputy chair Greg Sayers and member Janet Fitzgerald.
Before the former Rodney District Council had the new library built, at a cost of $1.1 million, the service had operated from a house relocated from the Moana Caravan Court and before that it was in a shed attached to Orewa Community Centre.
In a short speech to mark the occasion, Mrs Fitzgerald said she remembered alternative plans for the library building considered by the former Rodney District Council to build a multi-level building on what is now the Orewa New World car park, with glass lifts and the library on top, high enough to enjoy sea views.
“There was a lot of community input at the time, and the feedback was that they didn’t want that,” she says. “They wanted a library that they could walk into directly from the street.”
Mrs Fitzgerald said that ‘going up’ was being considered again – the draft Orewa Centre Plan, which the local board consulted on earlier this year, included the possibility of developing the library site and adjacent pharmacy and radiology businesses into a multi-storey complex.
This area has the tallest town centre height allowances of seven storeys in the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.
The report suggested that redevelopment could provide a library and medical services as well as apartments and around 280 car parks.
“The potential for this site is exciting, and this library does appear to be bursting at the seams and in need of redevelopment,” Mrs Fitzgerald said. “People still love reading books, despite the internet. It will be interesting to see what the library will look like in another 20 years.”