This is an invite to give your bike an overseas experience to see a  rare phenomenon in Devonport.

Locals are wandering around the village, shaking their heads in wonderment and disbelief. They’re pouring into our new Devonport Library. I’m loving it!

devonport-library-childrens-area-supplied-auckland-councilWe’ve had heaps of haters moaning about the library project for the past decade. One of these is my beloved hubbie, who is confident to expound his opinions on libraries, despite seldom visiting them.

He’s been saying libraries are irrelevant to people living in a digital world. Another complaint was that the library should not occupy the centre-piece park in the village, where it blocks main-street views to our glorious waterfront and the constant coming and going of cruise liners, working boats and yachts under full sail.

Guess what – the haters are now lovers! My hubbie has even got his first library card!

Get on your bike, hop on the ferry with the kids and visit our fabulous new library. It’s designed by Athfield Architects. The ferry is free for bikes, sadly it costs quite a bit for families. (Wouldn’t it have been great if the Green’s idea of a Gold Card for kids had been adopted by the Nats?) But the library is gorgeous and fun, the local beaches are great for swimming up to 3 hours either side of high tide, the Navy Museum at Torpedo Bay is free (has a cafe and zany naval- themed playground), as are North Head Tunnels, there are cyclepaths to the beaches and cafes galore. Megan at Cycle Auckland on the wharf has on-line maps and is a local treasure.

Devonport Library round window

The library is full of small kids buried in books in their child zone, and teens lying in the round window in their space. Heaps of adults are loving the big stock of new books and huge outlook to the harbour from the mezzanine desks and sophisticated warm chairs. The lovely thing about the Supercity’s libraries is we can borrow books,  videos etc from any library, anywhere and return them to our home library. If you’re anything like me, it gives us another reason to have a purpose for our bike trip, but I’m ashamed to say I have yet to visit the new Birkenhead library which is just a ferry trip and short bike ride away!

Look up and around in the new library for its art works and soak up the detail of Barry Brickell’s pottery plaques featuring the historic vehicular and steam ferries that so loyally connected Devonport to downtown Auckland. The plaques are now superbly displayed compared with their location in the old library.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the new Waiheke Library. It’s amazing, and another reason to spend the day savouring the delights of the island by bike!

I hear Te Atatu has a new library as well – we’d love someone to tell us about it and places to visit while in the ‘hood. Give us your details below and we’ll be in touch!

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8 responses to “Biking to new civic gems – Devonport & Waiheke Library

  1. Thanks for the great description, it definitely sounds worth a visit.

    But that’s the second-most distressing thing about the LTP after the gutting of the cycling budget – that they are cutting library hours. Grrrr.

    1. Thanks for raising that point, Stuart. It’s clear the bean counters are in knifing ascendency when library hours are cut after such major public investment in new libraries, and the public are pouring through the doors to use them.
      Every survey on the popularity of Council services shows parks, libraries, walking and cycling to be topping the list. You gotta ask where were the Councillors when the draft budget was prepared?

      We clearly all have to respond to reject cuts to library hours, along with the proposed knifing of the cycling budget.

  2. Why not make an afternoon of it and take this easy bike ride around Devonport. Did you know the Tainui canoe made a visit to T?maki Makaurau landing in Devonport? Check out the monument in Torpedo Bay. Just along the road is the wonderful Navy Museum in re-purposed Navy sheds. If your feeling energetic climb up Maungauika North Head and explore the tunnels (bring a torch). Take a dip at Cheltenham Beach before stopping for coffee and food treats at the Vauxhall Reserve, From here head up to Narrow Neck Beach for another swim or an ice cream. Return back to the village via Ngataringa park reflecting on the fact that there once were plans to reclaim this bay for a housing development. Before you drop into the library trek up Takarunga Mt Victoria for gorgeous views of the city and the gulf. You could ride this in an hour – 3 hours if you stop for swims and climb the maunga.

    1. Thanks – that’s the one I meant when I referred to Te Atatu! Would you like to give us a guest blog about it, or know someone who could?

        1. Ahhh… good to hear. Jemma Nissen from Bike Te Atatu says she will write about her library.
          AlliD ….. are you, or someone you know, interested in doing a guest blog with photos of the Ranui Library?

  3. Thanks for your kind words about the beautiful new Devonport Library – it’s wonderful to hear you’re enjoying our new spaces! Until you get a chance to pop out to Ranui and Te Atatu’s new buildings yourself, why not take a photographic tour instead? Via our Facebook page, here’s images of Te Atat? Whare Hiranga Hapori Pataka Korero – Te Atatu Community Centre and Library and Ranui P?taka K?rero – Ranui Library

    Kind regards,

    Kelly Bold
    Social Media Coordinator
    Auckland Libraries

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