Martinborough hasn’t escaped the building safety hysteria that has gripped New Zealand since the Christchurch earthquakes. Our town hall is definitely dodgy and there are plans to strengthen it. But recently the library closed altogether because an inspection revealed that it met less than five percent of the building code. The library shares a building with Scotty’s Meats. Scotty remains defiantly open for business, but the library is a public place and was closed immediately. Now the library staff and the best and newest of the book collection have moved into a relocatable ‘Portakabin’ at the back of Pain and Kershaw’s grocery/haberdashery and Scotty’s Meats.
Affectionately known as the Library Kabin, it’s now in the village hub, well placed for booklovers coming to Pain and Kershaw, Mitre 10 and the Mitre 10 carpark. Librarian Shirley Nightingale says she sees everyone coming and going, and she and her staff could even stand on their doorstep and shout, “Books, books, come and get your books,” in hawker fashion. Meanwhile, most books are still in the main library. Staff collect them to order – one imagines them creeping into the building, senses on full alert, snatching the books, then scuttling back to the Kabin for a stiff gin…
One service that hasn’t moved to the Kabin is the popular free internet. No matter – the wireless internet system still trundles along in the old building and customers do their browsing on chairs provided outside on the footpath:
I like it. The kerbside and hoodie is so much more Martinborough than the weekend wine-imbibing.
And the weekend wine imbibers wouldn’t recognise the location as the retail hub either.