Fact Sheet

Library facts

Some facts and figures about Christchurch City Libraries Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi.

Libraries Manager

Carolyn Robertson took up her appointment as Libraries and Information Manager on 17 January 2005.


On 5 August 2019 there were the equivalent of 292 full-time people employed in the library network, including part-time and technical staff and service centres.


This is free to all Christchurch City Council ratepayers and residents. At the end of the financial year June 2019 there were 198,088 members.


Apart from a charge for audio-visual material and the Bestseller Collection, all stock is free to borrow. Our basic reference service is free and we offer free computer and internet access.


Each library has a wide range of resources that can include books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, eBooks, magazines, newspapersmaps and other materials.  We subscribe to a wide range of online resources for study, research, personal information and entertainment.

Unrestricted internet use and email are available free of charge on library computers or bring your own and use our free wifi.


Library statistics for the financial year July 2018 to June 2019:

  • Membership:198,088
  • Enquiries answered: 812,058
  • Stock: 1,237,250 total items
  • Issues: 4,643,059 items
  • Website page views (across our websites): 6,574,025


We have community libraries and mobile library services. There are network services teams supporting the libraries with everything from administration, events & programmes, stock purchasing and maintenance, buildings and facilities and technology.

Christchurch City Libraries timeline

1859 4 August The early library was opened on 4 August 1859 by the Mechanics Institute. It started in temporary premises in the then Town Hall on High Street.
1971 6 March Spreydon Library, the first branch library, opened.
1976 September Bishopdale library began operation.
1982 Central Library moved from corner of Cambridge Terrace and Hereford Street to a new building on Gloucester Street.
1989 November Paparua County and Waimairi District become part of Christchurch city resulting in Bishopdale (opened 18 September 1976), Fendalton (opened 28 October 1967), Halswell, Hornby and Redwood libraries joining the Canterbury Public Library network.
1993 December Linwood Library opened.
1997 October Sumner Library joined the Christchurch City Libraries’ network when the former voluntary adults’ library and the children’s library amalgamated.
1999 July An exciting new building for New Brighton Library opened.
2000 July Fendalton Library and Service Centre opened.
2001 7 June Fingertip Library service launched with staff located at Central Library.
2003 August St Martins Children’s Library closed.
August South Christchurch Library, Service and Learning Centre opened.
2005 August Parklands Library opened.
2006 January Upper Riccarton Community and School Library opened.
6 March Non-city membership fees are dropped for Banks Peninsula residents due to local government merger: Akaroa, Diamond Harbour, Little River and Lyttelton Libraries join the network.
2009 5 August Christchurch City Libraries celebrates 150 years of Christchurch libraries. Internet access become free.
2011  8 July After the earthquakes and the closure of Central Library, Christchurch City Libraries opens temporary library at Central South City.
19 December Temporary library Central Library Peterborough opens.
2012 July South Library and Beckenham Service Centre closes due to earthquake damage.
15 July Temporary Central South City library closes.
23 July After the earthquakes and the closure of Central Library, Christchurch City Libraries opens a temporary Central Library Tuam.
8 September New library at Aranui opens.
3 December Mobile "Library to Go" vans start service.
December South Library and Beckenham Service Centre re-opens.
2013 January Demolition of Sumner Library due to earthquake damage begins.
30 April Linwood Library and Service Centre at Eastgate opens.
1 November Central Library Tuam closes.
2014 20 January A temporary Central Library Manchester opens.
July Demolition of the former central library building on Gloucester Street begins.
2015 28 November The Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre opens.
2016 30 January Lyttelton Library closes for earthquake repairs.
15 February Temporary Lyttelton Library opens at Trinity Hall in the Lyttelton Recreation Centre.
22 February Groundworks begin on the new Central Library site.
25 July Construction work begins on new combined library, community centre and museum at Nayland and Wakefield St corner, Sumner.
1 August New Brighton Library closes for earthquake repairs.
15 August Temporary New Brighton Library opens at 60 Brighton Mall.
26 October First concrete pour for the foundations of Tūranga (new central library).
2017 29 January Temporary New Brighton Library closes at 60 Brighton Mall.
13 February New Brighton Library reopens.
13 March Lyttelton Library reopens.
22 July Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre opened on Saturday 22 July 2017 on the site of the former Bishopdale Creche.
19 August Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre opened at 37 Nayland Street.
2018 18 August Central Library Manchester closed for good at 5pm on Saturday 18 August. View photos of Central Library Manchester (it was open from Monday 20 January 2014 to Saturday 18 August 2018).
26 August Central Library Peterborough closed for good at 5pm on Sunday 26 August. View photos of Central Library Peterborough (it was open from Monday 19 December 2011 to Sunday 26 August 2018).
12 October Tūranga, the central library at 60 Cathedral Square, opened at 1pm. View photos of Tūranga's opening day.
17 November Parklands Library closed for repairs.
2019 4 March Fendalton Library closed for repairs.
29 March Parklands Library reopens.
27 July Redwood Library closes for repairs.
29 July Fendalton Library reopens after repairs.
7 October Redwood Library reopens after repairs.
2020 22 March Shirley Library closes for refurbishment.
15 June Shirley Library reopens after refurbishment. Opening is delayed due to Covid-19 lockdown.
2021 Saturday 3 April 4pm Linwood Library and Service Centre closes refurbishment.
Tuesday 27 April Linwood Library and Service Centre reopens after refurbishment.
2022 Tuesday 1 March Christchurch City Libraries goes fines free and historical debt related to fines is wiped.
2023 Monday 27 November New Brighton Library closed for improvements from 4pm Sun 24 September, and reopened 9am Monday 27 November.
2024 Thursday 28 March Hornby Library closed.
Friday 19 April Matatiki Hornby Centre opened.


The libraries are linked by the SirsiDynix Symphony library system. Customers have access to stock information via computer catalogues in our libraries and through our website.

1989 19 June Online Public Access Catalogue released inside the library.
1995 7 June Internet access and pages on WWW launched at www.ccc.govt.nz/library/.
1 November Dial-up access to catalogue introduced.
1997 9 June Web1 interface to catalogue introduced.
2001 18 April Redesigned web site and new URL launched. Old site: wayback machine - www.ccc.govt.nz/library August 2000, New site: wayback machine - library.christchurch.org.nz April 2001
22 – 29 July Te Reo navigation and ‘core’ pages launched for Māori Language Week.
2003 19 May the pulse / te auaha website for teens launched
28 July Online index of 22 volumes of Ngāi Tahu claims evidence, Te Kerēme, launched.
2004 13 November Sirsi Unicorn Library system replaced DRS.
2006 4 January Redesigned web site launched: wayback machine - library.christchurch.org.nz March 2006.
2007 5 April Wireless internet access launched at Central Library.
22 May Christchurch City Libraries blog is launched, with the first posts from the 2007 Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. Here is our first post.
7 June Bibliofile blog is launched, with the first posts coming from a conference in the United Kingdom on joint school/public libraries.
June - September Pharos system introduced for library PC booking and printing / copying charging.
2008 the pulse / te auaha website for teens moves to thepulse.org.nz
14 June Moved website domain from library.christchurch.org.nz to christchurchcitylibraries.com: wayback machine christchurchcitylibraries.com June 2008.
August Christchurch City Libraries joins Flickr.
2009 January http://library150.com/ goes live to celebrate 150 years of Christchurch libraries.
5 August Free internet access.
2010 12 April Christchurch kids blog is launched. Read the first post.
15 September Christchurch City Libraries joins Twitter as @ChristchurchLib.
2011 March Christchurch City Libraries establishes a Facebook presence.
2 May BiblioCommons catalogue is launched.
2012 23 October Our Flickr site passes one million page views.
20 November CINCH moves to new system.
2013 2 September Our Flickr site passes one and a half million (1,500,000) page views.
2014 1 December Our main website moves to my.christchurchcitylibraries.com in a BiblioCommons' hosted content management system.
2015 October ThePulse website content is moved to a special Teens section on the new Library website.
2017 December ThePulse website is closed.
2018 12 October Tūranga's Discovery Wall and website launches.
2019 12 February Christchurch City Libraries joins Instagram as @ChristchurchLib.
9 December Digital heritage repository Canterbury Stories launches.
2023 11 August Canterbury Stories adds its 70,000th item.
18 October 5 millionth item borrowed on OverDrive.

For more information, read our brief history of Christchurch City Libraries.

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