Two "experimental" suburban library hubs are getting a financial top-up from Whanganui District Council.

Whanganui East's Hakeke St Community Centre took on a library hub in January 2019, and a building in Castlecliff's Rangiora St got one in May. Both are running out of the money they need to keep going.

The costs were to be met by the hosts, both volunteers, with Whanganui District Library providing only the books and equipment at an initial $5000 to each.

"It's something new, an experiment. It's not done anywhere else," Whanganui District Council libraries manager Pete Gray told councillors at a meeting this week.


Numbers using the hubs were building until Covid-19 hit.

Councillors were asked for $30,000, which might keep the Hakeke St hub going until April 2021, and Rangiora St wanted $15,000.

Councillor Hadleigh Reid called it "public spending creep". He wanted the hubs to meet costs out of the existing budget, as they said they would.

Councillors Brent Crossan, Helen Craig and Philippa Baker-Hogan had some sympathy with this. But councillor Jenny Duncan said the hubs added amenity to the suburbs.

"Not everybody wants to come into town. Having more in our suburbs enhances those communities and brings them together," she said.

Mayor Hamish McDouall said the hubs were "placemakers".

"I lived in Whanganui East for 10 years. It's a fantastic suburb but it has never been cohesive."

Council chief executive Kym Fell said providing the extra money was a no-brainer.


"We should absolutely support this."

The money was agreed to and comes with a community contract. Reid voted against it and councillor Josh Chandulal-Mackay abstained, because he is on the Hakeke St Community Centre board.