The Library has been fully restored and leased and has re-opened to the public as a contemporary exhibition and selling art gallery. Located near the centre of the Arts Centre site, its open plan space and natural lighting is perfect for exhibitions.
The Library building is more sustainable and stronger than it has ever been following its post-earthquake restoration – all without compromising its beautiful heritage features.
Historically the Library basement was used to store books, but now it features a state-of-the-art heating system for the Library and other nearby buildings. Read more about its restoration.
History and Heritage
The Library was originally opened in 1916. Designed by Collins and Harman, it was very much influenced by architect, Samuel Hurst Seager.
Features including the three tudor gothic arched windows on the northern face, elaborate finials at the points of the gable and the tudor flowers cresting the roof, all exemplify Seager’s richness of detail.
From 1934 to the 1970s, under chief librarian Clifford Collins’ tenure, the library’s book collection grew from 15,000 to 300,000. The basement was full, and stacks were kept in forty different locations across the College buildings. Once described as an architectural gem but an impossible library, by the early 1950s only one student in seventy could be seated.