To the Library!

I want to see our Central Library fixed as soon as possible, and I want that work to take precedence over an airport runway extension, an arena, and if possible, the convention centre.

Our Central Library was Wellington’s democratic heart. When it was open, 3,000 of us would be there daily, a million visits a year. It was about the only place in Wellington where you’d see the full diversity of this city. Public servants, young families, homelesss people, suits, pensioners. Trying to find our next book, killing time when a bus got cancelled, or getting a bite at Clarks.

It’s a testament to the city that the library’s closure has been an electoral issue. And of course it has been. I’m glad to live in a city with literary tradition that is strong and getting stronger. Writers from Victoria’s Institute of Modern Letters are having huge success. Novelist Eleanor Catton winning the Booker prize, poet Hera Lindsay Bird getting worldwide acclaim, and essayist Ashleigh Young receiving one of the world’s richest literary prizes.

We’re a literary city missing our democratic heart. There’s plenty of ideas out there for what to do with our Central Library. Bowl it for an office block with a Starbucks on the ground floor. The satirical idea of entombing our books in the Convention Centre. There are also a tonne of other projects some of our councillors and candidates are keener on, from a Convention Centre to an airport runway extension. But I don’t get any of it. Whether or not you love the building, our Central Library worked. We need to get that back.

Our Central Library is important to Wellingtonians. I understand that, and I understand the reasons why. As mayor I will ensure the proud literary tradition of this city takes precedence over polluting vanity projects like an airport runway extension.

Public Service Announcement:

From now until 12pm, Saturday the 12th of October, please vote at a library (including the Manners street pop up) or a community centre. The only other option is the Railway station during commuting hours until Friday. For more information go here

Conor Hill