Nau mai! Haere mai! Welcome to the Massey University Manawatū Library Building Project

Artist's impression of the Manawatū Library building

Massey University Library Te Putanga ki te Ao Mātauranga is redeveloping Manawatū Library, one of the three campus libraries.

Check here for the latest news on the project, how to use the Library during construction, the design, history and more.

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Manawatū Library transformation update

The Project Steering Group (PSG) for the Manawatū Library transformation met last week and has made the difficult but necessary decision to pause the project, in the interests of containing expenditure on the university’s capital investment. Due to COVID-19 driven delays, inflation costs and supply chain issues, alongside increasing pressure on the university’s ten year capital plan, the PSG, with the support of the Senior Leadership Team, has determined that work on the current concept cannot be progressed at this time.

PSG chair, Provost Professor Giselle Byrnes says that when seen in the context of the university’s known capital costs and relative to other large-scale capital projects, it is simply unaffordable to proceed with the project right now.

“The Manawatū Library is a critical part of the university’s infrastructure; it is the physical heart of the campus. The Senior Leadership Team remains committed to this project and to transforming the Manawatū library, but we need to also balance this commitment with other known expenses. It is important that staff and students know this is a pause and not a stop to the project.”

The Manawatū Library, which in the original business plan is described as a place to get things done remains open as per its advertised opening hours. The PSG will continue to work to plan for the future.

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February 2023 Update

As part of preparation for building work, Library staff are relocating books and journals into the back half of the Library (known as Library 2). The shelves have been packed tightly to reduce space; if you have any concerns about access or cannot find what you are looking for, please ask at the Library’s service point on the ground floor.  

As a result of book moving, visitors to the Library will see empty shelves on Levels 2 and 3. Most shelving will remain in place until building work commences because we need to retain the lighting that is attached. Last year some books that hadn’t been used for many years were moved to storage. These are shown on Discover and can be retrieved for staff and students. Retrieval is daily Monday to Friday and the item should be available by 1.30pm. An urgent service is available (Monday-Friday) if necessary (subject to staff availability). 

Refurbishment of the Manawatū Library is now expected to begin in 2023.  The Library will remain open while the transformation takes place – with a range of study space in the Library and elsewhere on campus.  

Level 2 showing the new shelving in place for relocated books – this space was previously occupied by Ngā Kupu Ora.
The new Ngā Kupu Ora space taking shape in what was the New Zealand Room. The popular powered study desks remain in place to the right of this image.
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Design for Manawatū library transformation in final stages

Concourse façade and Area (main entrance)

The Manawatū Library Transformation has recently achieved a major design milestone in the development of this landmark project.

​​​​​​​The Project Control Group met late last month to review and approve the developed design and cost estimates for the work to strengthen and refurbish the Manawatū Library Building. With cost estimates still within budget, the project will now move into the final design stage, with design completion expected early next year.

Provost Professor Giselle Byrnes, the project sponsor and chair of the group says the design process has involved a variety of stakeholders.

“We have consulted with students, staff, and Rangitāne as mana whenua. A number of co-design workshops have led to the development of an authentic cultural narrative and integration of mātauranga Māori into the design, while also delivering on the objectives of increasing student study space, respecting the ‘brutalist’ aesthetic features of the original library building, and undertaking a thorough, much-needed interior refurbishment with appropriate seismic strengthening.”

Key design elements include the creation of an atrium in the main entrance, the use of a ‘curtain wall’ façade to increase visibility from the concourse, the creation of a covered colonnade walkway along the front of the building, increased seismic separation between the conjoined buildings (creating a second atrium), and a re-configuration of collections to create more study space. Windows will be double-glazed with a mix of opening windows, radiator heating and air conditioning.

Staff are preparing for the start of building work so that library services can continue seamlessly. This includes interfiling the New Zealand collection with the general book and journal collections, identifying very low use books and journals to move to the Library’s store (to be retrieved when requested), and preparing print collections to be moved to new locations.

Construction on the refurbishment of the Manawatū Library is expected to begin mid-2022.

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July 2021 Update

Many thanks to our Manawatū students and staff who joined the architects in discussions on the proposed plans in May. We really appreciated the engagement and suggestions made. The feedback has been collated and provided to the architects for the next design stage.

A recurring question was “will the Library be open while construction is happening?”  The answer to this is most certainly yes.  Construction is due to commence in the first half of 2022, focusing first on the front Library building. The Library is actually two buildings joined together – Library 1 in front faces the concourse and Library 2 at the rear faces the pond. From this time the Library will operate out of Library 2, with a new temporary entrance created to access that building.  We will also be setting up some other Library study spaces on campus as well.

We are in the middle of planning where things will go, so we’ll be able to provide more details later in the year.  In the meantime, you will be starting to see movements of our print collections as we prepare them for relocation into Library 2 and to our off-site storage elsewhere on campus. This will involve books being moved to different parts of the Library and shelves being respaced. If you have trouble locating an item please ask at the service point on Level 1. We will also be doing some of the works to create a new entrance over the summer semester when fewer people are using the building.

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