New library top Sumner priority

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2013
Sumner Library
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

TURNING PAGE: The Sumner Library has been off-limits since the February 2011 earthquake. Demolition was scheduled to start yesterday.

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A new library is "the highest priority for Sumner", residents say.

Demolition of the suburb's earthquake-damaged library was due to begin yesterday.

The Christchurch City Council approved the demolition last month after a detailed engineering evaluation last May showed the building had suffered major damage in the February 2011 quake.

Council insurers deemed it uneconomic to repair.

The library has been off-limits since the quake, but staff were able to recover stock late last year after the neighbouring Sumner Community Centre and Museum was demolished.

Former Sumner Residents' Association chairwoman Adrienne Jackson said the library was sorely missed.

"The most important thing is to have a new library built. It was a big focus in our community, especially with a lot of elderly in Sumner," she said.

"It's the highest priority for Sumner, in my opinion.

"The library bus is OK but it's no substitute for shelves with books on them."

John Cook said Sumner was much quieter without the library but it would be good to see the dilapidated building go.

He had a primary school-aged daughter and they now had to go to Linwood or the city for books.

"If Sumner got a new library, everyone would be overjoyed with it," he said.

"Within Sumner, it should be one of the top council priorities, as opposed to footpaths."

The demolition is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Council libraries and information manager Carolyn Robertson said options were being considered for a combined library, museum and community hub.

"The loss of three facilities that were all so close together - the library and the already demolished Sumner Community Centre and Museum - has given the council a unique opportunity to begin looking at the type of facility that might best suit the needs of our community in the future," she said.

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