There are concerns Wellington's central library will have less space for books when it reopens.
The library has been closed since it was deemed an earthquake risk in March 2019. City councillors have agreed to strengthen the building with base isolators, which is expected to cost $187.4 million.
The council has confirmed the new library will likely have a different balance of spaces to accommodate the increase of people in the central city, along with bringing City Archives, Capital E, and the Council Service Centre into the building.
Wellington City councillor Nicola Young said she understood physical space for books was being severely reduced.
"The public think their new library is going to be a readers' nirvana; instead, it will largely be an entertainment centre. A very expensive one."
Young said books and learning were at the heart of civilisation and culture.
"We're rebuilding a library, not a children's entertainment centre, not a place to get your car parking tickets paid.
"The name is in the word - library."
Council libraries and community spaces manager Laurinda Thomas said preliminary design work on the library, Te Matapihi, has started.
"We will be looking at space allocations through this process."
Last year the council leased a 2000sq m two-storey site to house Wellington Central Library's collection while the building was closed.
Thomas said the council planned to continue using the site, called Te Pātaka.
"Te Pātaka will form part of our wider network of libraries after Te Matapihi opens, which will ensure that we can continue to provide access to a large and varied range of items.
"There are no plans to cull books in response to our plans with Te Matapihi."
Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons said she was concerned about the future of the New Zealand Reference Collection.
"Our reference collection is precious and unique, it must be available for public viewing at the central library when it opens", she said.
Fitzsimons said any changes to the council's collection policy should be subject to public consultation and a council decision.
"Wellingtonians treasure our central library as a place of refuge, learning and relaxation but books must remain central to what the library is about.
"Books and libraries go hand in hand, there must be transparency about decisions made about our collections."
The library - opened in 1991 - has been listed as a Category 1 Historic Place as a major work of Ian Athfield, one of New Zealand's most renowned architects of recent times.