A suburban self-service library, thought to be the first of its kind in New Zealand, will open in Whanganui East in January.

Whanganui District Library, in partnership with Whanganui Advocacy and Support Trust (WAST) community centre, will open the Hakeke Street Library at 65 Hakeke St on January 23.

"No one should be excluded from the library by distance or cost and through this partnership the library will build deeper connections into our community," Whanganui District Council libraries and community manager Pete Gray said.

"We want the community to feel it's their space and look after it. It's not a council space; rather, it's the council putting something into a space that is there for the community.

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"As far as we know, the suburban self-service library is a new model for New Zealand."

The library will be in part of the former New Zealand Railways complex that also houses Love and Learn Care and Education. There will be a collection of about 2000 adult and children's fiction and non-fiction books, with a focus on the most popular titles, and free wi-fi internet access. The collection will be regularly refreshed.

Library members will be able to check books in and out and pay overdue charges by eftpos at the self-service machine. There will be a touchscreen PC so people can log in to their library account, search for and reserve books, and join the library if they are not already a member. WAST staff will be able to provide basic assistance during opening hours which will be 9am to 1pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

It is the first of several self-service libraries planned for Whanganui. Whanganui District Library would like to hear from organisations interested in hosting a self-service library in other suburbs.