by Chris Tobin
A strong smell of damp in Timaru’s library is not helping make it a place where people want to come and spend time, Sharon Taylor, Timaru District Council’s general manager, community services, says.
The cause of the damp is a leaking roof and the council is now planning extensive repair work, although a timeline for the project has yet to be confirmed.
“Despite regular maintenance the roof is no long longer weather-tight and needs significant repairs,” Ms Taylor said.
“Depending on the final re-roofing plan, we will confirm whether some public library services will have to be relocated.”
She said the building had an extremely complex roof design.
“This makes the task a more difficult process than just bolting on some new long-run steel, so it may require some services to be moved around during the works.
“As well as the library roof repair, there are a number of community services projects being undertaken at the moment such as the earthquake strengthening of Aigantighe House and on top of any possible relocation of library services, we have had to lease some short-term space to give us extra storage and work space.”
Meanwhile, statistics compiled by the council revealed visitor numbers to the library were below the number targeted.
In a snapshot eight-month review of the period July 2018 to February 2019 considered by the council on Tuesday, the target number of library visitors for this time was 420,000 but the actual number was 224,944.
This was still above the number of visitors for the corresponding period last year.
The library issues target was 585,000 but the actual number was 371,300.
However, database searches at the library had easily beaten the target of 220,000 with 251,206 recorded.
This was due mainly to PressReader performing “exceptionally well” and the addition of Kanopy, an on-demand streaming video platform.