The Guardians of Nellie Nightingale Library members from left; Joan Owen, Sylvia Shand, Martin Shand, Ian Barker, Francis Waye, Ros Gibney, Aria Gibney and Patricia Taylor. Photo: Supplied.

Guardians of library say ‘job done’


A group which began almost 20 years ago to fight to ensure Nellie Nightingale’s wishes of having a library in Tahunanui, has been disbanded.

“Everyone is feeling very pleased that their job is done,” says Guardians of Nellie Nightingale Library chair Ian Barker.

The group was set up in 2001 when the Nelson City Council was looking at proposals to move the library.

It was built in 1978, as part of a bequest from local woman Nellie Nightingale, who expressly wanted a library and restroom set up on the waterfront.

Nellie died in 1943 after building businesses and a property portfolio in Takaka and Tahunanui. However, it took many years for a library to be built.

“Over the years the battle had to be kept on as there were ongoing moves to shift the library or use the funds for something else,” says Ian.

However, last year the council completed a $240,000 renovation of the library with help from the remaining bequest funds.

The library got carpet, new heating and security systems, improvements to its lobby, painting and varnishing, and have a new service desk installed.

There was also a re-configuration made to both the staff room and the toilets, and a north side entry ramp for greater accessibility.

The hope was to make it more of a community hub that was welcoming to all rather than just a library.

Ian says the guardians all feel like the reason the set the trust up no longer exists, so last week held their final AGM.

“But we said at that meeting that if the library ever comes under risk again we will rise like the phoenix.”