Fundraising for the HB Williams Memorial Library upgrade has just received an $860,000 dollar boost courtesy of the Eastland Community Trust.
This is one of the Trust’s more significant funding decisions, with the project accounting for almost half of the annual $2million Attractive (Community Assets and Projects of Significance) Fund.
The fund was specifically designed to support community infrastructure and assets or projects of regional significance and trustees felt the importance of the HB Williams Memorial Library to the community warranted the investment.
“The library is Gisborne’s most used facility with over 240,000 individual visits per year and contributes to a number of social, education and economic outcomes. We see this project as an exercise in future proofing one of our key assets,” says general manger Leighton Evans.
Fifty years ago the library was designed for three key purposes – as a lending library, a reference library and a reading room.
“This redevelopment will see the library completely reconfigured and extended to create community spaces that better reflect the needs of our 21st century community and cater for those wanting to do much more than borrow a book,” he says.
The proposal to reconfigure the library will not only increased the scale of this community asset, but will also develop and extend the services it offers to the community. Digital Drop-in Zones, an informal Active / Youth Lounge, an external Learning Court and a multi-purpose lecture / reception / exhibition space will revolutionise the way in which our library is used. While research, retreat and support zones will cater for more traditional library users.
Mr Evans says Council’s vision for the library aligned well with the Trust’s objectives.
“A world-class library that reflects the needs of a young and diverse population is a key component in addressing some of the educational achievement issues our community faces,” he says.
“Trustees were pleased to see a focus on digital learning and improving community access to online services.
“But Trustees also recognised the very important social benefits that come with a well-supported library that connects the community in a neutral common space.”
With significant funding already in place, it is anticipated that ECT’s donation will enable Council to move to the next phase in the project.