New chapter for library doors

By Lindy Laird

A thorough restoration means the huge oak doors at the front of the Old Library in Whangarei are no longer a hanging offence.

Weighing about 80kg each, the impressive doors will be rehung today after a month of work by Simon Parker, from Kamo cabinetmakers Smith and Parker.

The renovation has long been planned but was just one more task that had jostled for priority on a list of expensive upgrades the Old Library management board has had to work through.

Putting right the ravages of decades does not come cheaply, and the specialist job on the front doors was estimated to cost $9000, the building's manager Andrea Hemmins said.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust has pledged a contribution of $2500 and Whangarei District Council, which owns the building and leases it to the Old Library Arts Centre Trust, will also help, Ms Hemmins said.

Events, including a concert next month, will now be staged to raise money to restore the doors at the east end of the building.

Ms Hemmins said it was hoped some of that cost or the work itself would be contributed through the Old Library's "friends" support network.

Work on the front doors included stripping and sanding the oak panels and replacing one panel, and making replica mouldings to replace those that were beyond repair.

The doors have been coated in a marine varnish.

Mr Parker said that although it included making some detailed moulding and other decorative pieces, the work was fairly routine. What set it apart from other restorations he had carried out was the size of the doors.

The front entrance had been blocked off, with everyone using the side doors during the past month.

The Old Library had its 75th anniversary on Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day, 11.11.2011. Whangarei District Council handed the former library over to the community to run as an arts and performance centre in 2009.

Major work on the building in recent years includes removing a mezzanine floor and installing new toilets.

- Northern Advocate

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