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Celebrations at Takapuna Library

September 29, 2004

Celebrations at Takapuna Library

Her ancestors were there when the original Lake Takapuna Library opened, and Dorothy Southon was there today to celebrate its 125th anniversary.

The lifelong library member kindly donated a family heirloom - 1847 edition of Foxe's Book of Martyrs - to Takapuna Library for the special occasion.

Mrs Southon was one of many people related to the 12 original members of the Lake House Library to celebrate today, says current Takapuna Library manager, Helen Woodhouse.

"It was wonderful to see them all here, but I couldn't help thinking if the original members could see it now, what would they think?" she says.

"The occasion reinforced the strong literary connection there has always been in Takapuna."

The Lake Takapuna Library was incorporated under the Public Libraries Powers Act 1875 on this day in 1879, one year before the opening of the Auckland Public Library.

Dorothy Southon's great aunt, Susan Seaman (later Mactier) was the first librarian, and it is likely the library was originally housed at Takapuna Primary School because she was a teacher there.

"When records began in 1923 there were 4500 people living in the Borough of Takapuna, and 200 of them paid five shillings each to belong to the library," says Geoff Chamberlain, North Shore City's library services manager.

In the 1930s times got tough and a library became a luxury. In 1939 the committee met to decide whether to close or try and run the library with volunteers.

It continued on, with two generous bequests contributing to the first stage of a public library established at Halls Corner, before the existing building at The Strand was opened in 1989.

The 125th birthday celebrations also marked the launch of "Golden Weather: North Shore Writers Past and Present", edited by Graeme Lay and Jack Ross, and published by Cape Catley.

It includes the work of 48 writers and poets who have lived in North Shore City, such as Frank Sargeson, Janet Frame, Michael King, Allen Curnow, Kevin Ireland and Robin Hyde.


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