Research and special collections

Items in our reference collections must be used in our libraries. Some may be accessible only by special arrangement.

Archives

The Archives are a rich collection of primary sources for the city’s history and include:

  • Unpublished records of local sporting, cultural or community organisations clubs or societies
  • Church archives
  • Genealogical records
  • Business archives
  • Original diaries and manuscripts, as well as the papers of individuals.
  • A small oral history collection

Archives can be viewed in the Research Room, Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga. Archival material is not available for loan.

Art collection

Christchurch City Libraries has a policy of enhancing its library buildings with artworks. These are not borrowable.

All our libraries have paintings and other art works and some have outdoor sculptures - Bing Dawes’ Eels sculpture and carpet at Parklands Library, Graham Bennett’s Engage at South Library and Phil Price’s Knowledge at Upper Riccarton Library. Also of special interest is the Whariki matariki hanging at Parklands Library. (Parklands is closed for repairs until April 2019: Find out more.)

Butler Collection

A collection of books by and about Samuel Butler (1835-1902).

  • The Butler collection is held in Store but can be viewed in the Research Room on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga. Please ask a librarian to arrange this for you.
  • Material held in this collection is not available for loan.
  • Search our catalogue for items in the Butler Collection.

Family History Collection

A collection of genealogical material such as transcripts of baptism, burial, headstone and marriage records, directories, electoral rolls, and microform resources containing information about New Zealanders and people coming to New Zealand.

Godley Gifts

The Godley Gifts is a collection of essays, watercolours and the children’s story Seadrift, by early Canterbury settler James FitzGerald. In 2007 a limited edition, finely-bound, facsimile set was produced in Christchurch. On 16 December 2009, one of these sets, appropriately number 59, was gifted to Christchurch City Libraries by the J. R. Godley Trust in honour of the 150th anniversary of the libraries’ founding in 1859.

LP Collection

A collection of vinyl LPs covering a range of musical genres including classical, folk, jazz and popular music. Also includes some spoken word and comedy recordings.

  • Material held in this collection is in storage but may be requested (see placing holds).
  • Search our catalogue for items in the LP collection.

Marsh Collection

A collection of books by and about Ngaio Marsh (1895-1982). It includes translations of most of her works into other languages.

  • The Marsh collection is held in Store but can be viewed in our Research Room on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga. Please ask a librarian to arrange this for you.
  • Material held in this collection is not available for loan.
  • Search our catalogue for items in the Marsh Collection.

Merton Collection

A collection of books, pamphlets and papers by and about Thomas Merton (1915-1968), a Trappist monk. Merton’s father was a New Zealander and two of his aunts lived in Christchurch. Donations in 1969 by the aunts, Agnes and Beatrice Merton, formed the basis of the collection to which the Library has added significant new publications since.

  • The Merton collection is held in Store but can be viewed in our Research Room on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga. Please ask a librarian to arrange this for you.
  • Material held in this collection is not available for loan.
  • Search our catalogue for items in the Merton Collection.

Nautical Collection

The Nautical Collection is a small donated collection held at Lyttelton Library. It is made up of items dedicated to seafaring life, ships and shipping. It is mainly non-fiction with a few fiction titles.

New Brighton local history

Christchurch City Libraries have a number of resources where you can trace the history of New Brighton.

Photographs

Images of New Brighton
From our heritage photograph collection. Most can be viewed online. 
Pier construction photograph collection
More than 350 images detailed the pier construction process

Books and booklets

  • Search for the subject New Brighton on the Libraries' Catalogue.
  • Local History Resources — an annotated bibilography of published sources on the history of Christchurch, Lyttelton and Banks Peninsula.

Local newsletters and newspapers

New Zealand Reference

Fornerly known as the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre, this collection is made up of material about New Zealand and in particular the Canterbury region, both contemporary and historical and in a variety of formats. It is both a research and a heritage resource and includes several specialised collections. Material held in this collection is not available for loan although there may be copies of some items in other libraries that can be borrowed.

New Zealand Reference resources are on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2. 

Newton Collection

A small collection of mountaineering books, pamphlets and serials donated by Henry Newton.

  • The Newton collection is held in Store but can be viewed in our Research Room on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga. Please ask a librarian to arrange this for you.
  • Material held in this collection is not available for loan.
  • Search our catalogue for items in the Newton Collection.

Ngāi Tahu Collection / Ngā Rākau Teitei e Iwa

Material relating to the Ngāi Tahu claim and general books about Ngāi Tahu or written by Ngāi Tahu authors.

The Peace Library

Christchurch City Libraries has a large collection of material about the Peace Movement in New Zealand. The collection of books and magazines is held in trust by Christchurch City Libraries for the Peace Foundation and the Women’s International League for Peace. Archival material is held by the Macmillan Brown Library, University of Canterbury, and other material is held by the Canterbury Museum.

  • Material held in this collection is in storage but may be requested (see placing holds).
  • Some reference magazines must be viewed in the Research Room on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga..
  • Search our catalogue for items in the Peace Library.

Photographs

Our photographs collection has been sourced from newspapers, archives, books, reports and donations from private collections. Photographs can be searched for through our catalogue. A substantial number have been digitised.

Waitangi Tribunal Reports / Ngā Rīpoata o Waitangi

A collection of Tribunal reports and information on the claims settlement process.

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