A public library, responsible to and funded by the Gisborne District Council, the H.B. Williams Memorial Library, along with 5 community libraries, serves the 45,000 people of the Gisborne and East Coast district.
Located in the first city in the southern hemisphere to see the morning sun - the library has had a long history by New Zealand standards. It first opened in 1869 as Turanga Library, in a room in the courthouse at a time when there were no roads overland and visitors came by horseback or boat to the district.
As the library grew it moved to various sites until 1967, when the land and buildings for the existing public library in Gisborne were donated by the Williams family in memory of Heathcote Beetham Williams (H.B.) Thus the H.B. Williams Memorial Library was established much as we know it today. H.B.'s son, Heathcote Beetham Williams (Bill) continued to support this gift to the district until his death in 2002.
The building is a classic example of 1960s architecture and has adapted well to the advent of the information technology.
For more information about the H.B. Williams Memorial Library building history visit this website, to find anything from building plans to historic photographs.
Currently the library is undergoing an expansion project. For more information and a timeline of events, visit the Gisborne District Council website here. During the expansion of the Peel Street site, the HB Williams Memorial Library has relocated to 53 Awapuni Road. The renovated library is due to reopen in February 2018.