Mould issues in the current library ceiling mean that the library services will be moving to a new location in the old ANZ building while decisions are made on next steps.
In July this year, test results came back from the patch of mould on the library ceiling and the library was closed briefly to treat the facility to kill off any live spores from black mould that could cause issues for staff and library users.
The mould was treated and repairs done, but the leaking roof has been a constant problem in the building. Over the years it has been regularly patched and repaired to stop leaks.
Councillor Shona Browne has been involved with decisions about the library over the years. She explained that Council keeps on top of the repairs and maintenance but the roof design is old and prone to issues. "Repairs and mould treatment buy time, but both issues are likely to return.
"In light of this, we have decided to move into the old ANZ building as soon as possible. The move won't be immediate as it will take some time to make sure the new space can work as a library with internet, furniture and of course book shelves. But I am looking forward to seeing the new space finished and I know the staff will make the best of the move and it will be buzzing with fun and activities in no time," Ms Browne said.
Councillor Browne also said that while the move is an interim solution to the mould problem, it is a timely reminder of the importance of the long term project to build Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi – the technology and research community hub.
"Although the need to move the library isn't ideal, there is an upside – it is an opportunity to kick-start our future plans for the library and community hub.
"We have been fundraising and seeking sponsorship for Te Tāhuhu o te Rangi for several years and many local people and organisations have generously contributed to our goal of a Research and Technology Centre for the district. We have made significant progress and have raised over a million dollars for that purpose and as organisers and as a community we are really proud of that.
"But the fundraising goal is high and has seemed a long way off. This is a great opportunity to re-energise our efforts and get the ball rolling while the library building is vacant.
"The community have been behind this effort from the start and will be vital in these next steps. There will be a report going to a future council meeting to discuss next steps and I encourage members of the community to talk to their local councillors, particularly Lyn [Riesterer] or myself, if they have thoughts, ideas or want to get involved. I really look forward to bringing this project front and centre for the community again," Ms Browne said.
The library may be closed for a short period to move facilities and more detail will be available on the Council and library Facebook pages and website.
Image courtesy: Opotiki News