Upper Hutt's main library has been suddenly closed after reports revealed parts of it are earthquake prone.

As it is a public building, the Upper Hutt Central Library is classified as "Importance Level Three", meaning it has more stringent structural requirements than private places of work or residential buildings.

It has been closed until further notice and little is known of its fate yet.

"Careful consideration has gone into the decision to close the building," said Upper Hutt City Council chief executive Chris Upton.


"Ultimately, it is the safety of our staff and customers that is of primary concern to us."

Under the Building Act, buildings that are identified as earthquake prone have a period of time in which to remedy their structural issues. Upper Hutt City Council has determined the best course of action is to close the building immediately, to maintain safety for staff and the public.

"With information this fresh, it is difficult to determine exactly what remedial actions will be taken," said council's director of community services, Mike Ryan.

"As things become clearer, we'll be able to determine a way forward for the building and our library services."

The closure will also disrupt library services and programmes. Programme updates will be issued in the following days as staff work through the implications.

Returns will not be available at the Central Library building. All borrowed items will have an automatic two-week extension to allow a workaround for the returns service to be implemented. In the meantime, library customers will be able to return items to the Pinehaven and mobile libraries.

"Our first priority after the closure is to redeploy our staff and work through how we can keep service disruption to a minimum," said Upper Hutt City Libraries manager, Marion Read.