Biking to new civic gems – Devonport & Waiheke Library

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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Bike Auckland is the non-profit organisation working to improve things for people on bikes. We’re a people-powered movement for a better region. We speak up for you – and the more of us there are, the stronger our voice!

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