Three temporary libraries have served the Central City since the 2011 earthquakes closed the old building in Gloucester Street.
In 1859 the Mechanics Institute opened a small subscription library in High Street and a few years later it moved to Cambridge Terrace. This building was later converted into offices and was demolished after the earthquakes.
The Council took over management of city library services in 1948 and a new Warren and Mahoney-designed building opened on the corner of Oxford Terrace and Gloucester Street in 1982.
By 2008 the library was too small and the Council agreed to look at options for replacing it. In 2011 the Old Central Library was badly damaged in the earthquakes. Plans to repair it were dropped after the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan earmarked the site for the new convention centre and it was demolished.
A temporary library in Tuam Street provided library services in the Central City until the site was needed for the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct. Since then two temporary libraries in Peterborough and Manchester Streets have served the Central city and will continue to do so until the New Central Library opens in 2018.