The thrill of the new

The reopening of the National Library was a big success! Scroll down for some photos of the opening.

Welcome to the new National Library. Both in Molesworth Street, and through our revitalised website, we're excited to bring you a whole new look, new services, and new programmes.

This is a time of celebration for us. It’s a time to talk about the success of what’s been achieved and it’s a time for us to plan ahead for the future.

Our statutory purpose is to enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand. That gives us plenty of scope! The National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library have been collecting knowledge about New Zealand for a hundred years or so, keeping it safe for others to use down the line.

Our latest changes not only let us perform these functions better than ever, they allow us to view our role in a new way. This website, and this building, are more open, more generous and welcoming, and more able to help you create knowledge yourself.

What's new online

On the website you’ll find the results of the digitisation projects we ran while we’ve been out of the building. We now have more than 400,000 digital images available due to both the Pictures Online Preservation Project and the Alexander Turnbull Library Digitisation Programme.

Empty search box on this website

That's not all. Papers Past digitisation increased coverage of newspapers to two million pages and added 10 newspaper titles to the collections. The Audio Project digitised over 2000 at-risk audio recordings.

You are also welcome to download 2,500 free high resolution images, with no restrictions on their reuse from the National Library website.

What's new in the building

In Wellington, Te Ahumairangi (the ground floor space) offers new service improvements, from space to meet and work, to unique browsing experiences, to excellent wifi.

Te Ahumairangi, the Ground Floor of the National LibraryPhoto by Mark Beatty.

Our new services are highly interactive, and create an environment where you will be able to find out about your own stories and create new ones. You can come in and work by yourself or in a group, whether or not you're using our collections. Take a break for a cuppa, and wander through the galleries.

In net.work you'll find power charging stations for laptops and mobile devices, and other technology support enabling research, content development and knowledge network exploration. You can come at it from another angle with the Lifelines table, using a massive touch screen to dig into your heritage.

It's fitting that our new building design has a strong element of Mātauranga Māori in the Te Kore Ki Te Ao Marama story, which details the evolution of the universe from formless potential Te Kore, to the world of light, Te Ao Marama.

What's new for Thorndon, New Zealand, the world

Big Data is our first Public Programme offering. This is a change of focus for us as it breaks down all boundaries between scientific and cultural knowledge in a digital environment.

You will see 3D renderings of historic landscape paintings from our collections mashed-up with big scientific data providing a data visualisation that flies the viewer through the past, the present and the imagined futures of Wellington around our building.

Sculpture of Thorndon in the Big Data programmePhoto by Mark Beatty.

Soon we'll be able to invite you to a seminar series, a chance to get involved in crucial conversations about the questions raised by Big Data.

What's new for you

We're absolutely thrilled to finally be home, to reopen in such a new and different way. And we very much look forward to seeing what you create when you come here.

Update! Following the successful event...

Yesterday morning the National Library of New Zealand's building in Molesworth Street, Wellington, officially reopened to the public after being closed for three years for extensive refurbishment. I am extremely proud of what we have achieved and want to take this opportunity to thank those who came to the ceremony, and to share the experience with those who couldn’t make it.

The work done by our team has been tremendous, and they were rewarded by the strong turn out to the reopening ceremony at which New Zealand Prime Minister the Right Hon John Key officially declared the building open. I am confident that the rewards will continue as we see this organisation flourish as a world leading contemporary library.

Have a look at some of the great images of the day.

National Library staff sing a waiata for our guestsNational Library staff sing a waiata for our guests. Photo by David Sanderson.

Prime Minister John Key officially opens the Library by cutting the ribbonPrime Minister John Key officially opens the Library by cutting the ribbon. Photo by Mark Beatty.

The Prime Minister tries out the unique Lifelines table on Te AhumairangiThe Prime Minister tries out the unique Lifelines table on Te Ahumairangi. Photo by Mark Beatty.

The Prime Minister has a go in our brand new AV pods. Photo by Mark Beatty.

Need more photos? Download opening day shots and much more.

By Bill Macnaught

Bill is New Zealand's National Librarian.

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