Welcome to Hastings District Libraries. In this section you can find information about our three libraries. Hastings District Libraries offer a wealth of resources and are safe, welcoming and vibrant community spaces.
The Hastings, Flaxmere and Havelock North libraries offer extensive collections of adult, children's and teen fiction, non-fiction, large print, magazines, talking books and DVDs. Facilities provided include quiet study spaces; children's and teens' spaces; public internet and wifi; research databases; research and reference facilities.
The Hastings District Libraries will be centres for lifelong learning and recreation. Each library will be a focal point for its own community.
To enrich the life of the community by providing a library service that meets people's informational, recreational and cultural needs.
The first Hastings Library was destroyed during the 1931 earthquake. The library was moved to the Hastings Municipal Buildings for a time, until the Council resolved in 1952 to build a war memorial library on the Civic Square site.
The current Hastings War Memorial Library was officially opened in 1959, and stands today as a symbol of remembrance and a memorial to those who have died in battle. The Hall of Remembrance is notable for containing the mural painted by Peter McIntyre OBE.
The library houses extensive collections of reading materials for all interests and ages as well as magazines, talking books, DVDs, and CDs. There are also study spaces, meeting rooms and areas for children and young adults.
Peter McIntyre designed the etched glass panels and marble stone in the Hall of Memories.
The words on the stone read: "Our freedom is bought with a price that others paid. As you pass through here, remember."
The following text is quoted from 'City of the Plains: a history of Hastings', by Mary Boyd.
"The first Hastings Library, situated in Market Street South, was completely destroyed by the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.
A temporary library was established in the municipal building, Heretaunga Street. Not surprisingly after the earthquake it was extremely deficient in stock, being little more than a source of cheap fiction that competed with commercial book clubs. By 31 March 1936 the library had 1320 subscribers (823 adults and 497 children), 6497 books and two staff, but little was done to further the long term objective of a new library on Civic Square.
After WW2 the Hastings community, particularly the older generation and the RSA, wanted a war memorial that was both symbolic and utilitarian, and centred around the cenotaph which had become the local shrine for the commemoration of ANZAC day. A Hastings District War Memorial Committee was set up at a public meeting. The committee originally decided on a cultural centre on Civic Square block, consisting of a memorial hall with wings for an art gallery and museum, and a forecourt to where the cenotaph would be moved. [However this decision would later be changed.]
The Council already had long term plans to erect a new library on Civic Square and develop it for cultural and recreational purposes. From 1946 - 54 they worked on acquiring the land for this purpose."
"The appeal for war memorial funds languished until 1952 and much debate and controversy ensued over the form the war memorial would take. At this stage the funds for the war memorial were handed over to the Borough Council so it could obtain a government subsidy on offer by the required date. A proposed change of site was put forward due to increased costs involved in acquiring the necessary land on Civic Square, first to Queen's Square, then to Cornwall Park. A public outcry ensued as, for amongst other reasons, Civic Square had been regarded as the "memorial square" for over 30 years.
Finally at a public meeting of contributors to the fund, a resolution was reached by an overwhelming majority, for a War Memorial Library to be built on Civic Square. The idea of moving the cenotaph was ruled out.
Council set about securing the final parts of land and money required, and liaised with representatives from the Library Association regarding library design. [The building was designed by architects Davies, Phillips and Chapman.] War Artist Peter McIntyre was commissioned to submit designs for a combined entrance and Hall of Memories. [Photo left: The two bas-reliefs on the exterior were designed by Peter McIntyre.]
The estimated cost of the building including the mezzanine floor was £78,000, but as a library was an acknowledged civic responsibility, the extra could be met from rates. A tender was accepted from J.C. Mackersey Ltd., a young local builder."
The foundation stone for the new Library was laid during the year Hastings became a city, on Remembrance Day, 11 November 1956, by the commanding officer of the First New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Major-General Sir Andrew Russell K.C.B, K.C.M.G.
Also taking part were the Mayor of Hastings, Mr W.E. Bate; the Member for Hastings, Mr E.J. Keating; the President of the Hastings RSA, Mr R.V. Giorgi; and Canon K.F. Button representing the Hastings Ministers' Association. More than 100 returned servicemen and 200 residents attended the ceremony.
"Never let us forget the great debt we still owe them...Let us go forward with faith in the future. Let us say to our fallen comrades, "We shall not fail or falter." - Mr Ron Giorgi, President of the Hastings RSA, at the ceremony for the laying of the foundation stone.
The text on the stone reads:
To the Glory of God in grateful memory of the men and women
of this City and District
who gave their lives for us.
1939 - 1945
This stone was laid by
Major-General Sir Andrew Russell K.C.B, K.C.M.G.
November 11th 1956
The Hastings War Memorial Library was officially opened by the Dominion Vice-President of the RSA, Hamilton Mitchell, on 18 October 1959. Peter MacIntyre's mural and designs for brass plaques and sandblasted glass doors ensured it was symbolic as well as utilitarian. After years of controversy it proved an acceptable compromise because it provided for the whole community. "
The names of those who sacrificed their lives in both wars are permanently enshrined in the Hall of Memories.
Italian Verde marble is used as a background to the bronze name tablets, photo left.
At a ceremony marking the 50th Anniversary of Cessation of World War II, a plaque was mounted in the Hall of Memories. It reads:
1935 - 1945
50th Anniversary of Cessation
This plaque is dedicated to the citizens of Hastings and District, men, women and children who worked so valiantly during the 1939-1945 conflict on the land, in the factories and in their own homes, to ensure the victory attained by our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and servicewomen, both overseas and in New Zealand. May we never forget their input and dedication to the great cause.
Dedicated this 15th day of August 1995
Another plaque remembers the conflicts in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam. It reads:
In Memory of those who suffered and died for their country.
Korea 1950 - 53
Malaya 1952 - 66
Borneo 1964 - 66
Vietnam 1964 - 72
Flaxmere Library received a much-needed upgrade in 2014 and functions as a vibrant and bright community space.
Flaxmere Library is a vital part of the Flaxmere community. There are extensive collections of reading materials for all interests and ages as well as magazines, talking books, and DVDs.
There are also study spaces, meeting rooms and areas for children and young adults.
The Havelock North Library has moved to various locations through the years. The current building was purpose-built in 1980, on land purchased from Te Mata Primary School.
The Havelock North Community Centre was added in 1998, while the main library received an upgrade in late 2017.
There are extensive collections of reading materials for all interests and ages as well as magazines, talking books, and DVDs. There are also study spaces, meeting rooms and areas for children and young adults.
Close to The Village and with an open, airy and welcoming layout, Havelock North Library is a great asset to the local community.
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