Prime Minister, Right Honourable Helen Clark and representatives from local Iwi Ngati Tuwharetoa made the re-opening of the Taupo Public Library in Story Place a special one today with their presence at the official opening ceremony.
Prime Minister Helen Clark unveiled a commemorative plaque to declare the enhanced library open to the public and spoke about the history of the Taupo Library and the importance of access to information for a community.
“A library is critical community infrastructure,” she said. “Having access to information is about being able to participate.”
The Prime Minister also discussed some key national information projects that were underway including free broadband access for libraries and the online encyclopaedia ‘Te Ara’.
Local Iwi Ngati Tuwharetoa began the ceremony with a mihimihi (welcome), followed by a waiata tautoko (supporting song) and ceremonial rites to bless the library. Students from 2 kura (schools), Te Whare Ahorangi in Turangi and Whakarewa I te reo ki Tuwharetoa in Taupo affirmed the ceremony with powerful Haka and Waiata.
Other officials that were in attendance included Hon. Mita Ririnui, Hon. Mark Burton, Hon. Georgina Te Heuheu, Mayor Rick Cooper, Taupo District Councillors and Friends of the Library.
Mayor Rick Cooper congratulated all those involved with the library upgrade for a job well done. “Wow was the first word that popped into my mind when I walked into the upgraded library,” he said. “This facility is an exceptional asset for the Taupo community, congratulations to everyone involved.”
Mayor Rick also spoke about libraries these days being much more than just books.
“Our younger generation are very tech-savvy and expect seamless access to information and communication tools such as YouTube - this is what a modern library has to address,” he said.
For the last nine months the Taupo Library has been situated at a temporary location in Totara Street to provide library users a full service whilst construction works were carried out on the library building in Story Place.
CEO Rob Williams said that he was impressed with the dedication of the library team.
“One of the things that has really impressed me throughout this process is the way the library team has continued to offer a full service library at Totara Point to cater for its customers while the renovations have been happening here at Story Place,” said Mr Williams.
The extension and upgrade will provide library users with a more efficient and user-friendly space. There are now 10 computers for the public to use including 5 online catalogues, 2 PC booths and a new children’s touch screen. There is a children’s resource area and a special space for young people, 3 new meeting rooms, a new and improved reference area and more recreation and reading spaces.
The name Te Haerenga, The Journey has been applied to the Taupo Public Library to signify the many journeys that have been made and will be made into the future, at the library. Special cultural features to signify this name have been incorporated into the design of the upgraded library. These include a Waharoa – Te Toi Huarewa - a totara carving, a proverb (in Maori, English and Braille) etched into the balustrade outside the library and a canopy above the entrance way with Rongomai, guardian of the people and Horomatangi, guardian of the lake watching over all who enter.
The upgraded Taupo Public Library will achieve the current library requirements for Taupo’s population size and cater for future growth in the District.