Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

23 June 2010

Methven Public Library 1883

A certain Hugh Anderson disappeared while out hunting in 1882. He has never been found. His people in England were so grateful to the several parties of locals who searched for him that they sent a gift of £100 as a reward. Instead of spending the money at the local pub the men gave it towards the building of this public library which was established one year later. (Can you imagine any building going from start to finish in one year these days? It would take ten years to get resource consent!)

Until quite recently Methven was a modest township serving the mid-Canterbury farming community but in recent years it has turned into an important centre for the ski-ing fraternity who come from all over the world to break their legs on the Southern Alps. Restaurants, pubs and hotels of world class abound, few of them as handsome as the public library and none of them will last as long.

It’s odd to think of those earnest pioneers of 1883 valuing culture so much that they would worship at the home-built altar of books and learning. These days, with  flick of a switch you can get more information on the internet than a million Methven Libraries could even hold.

I’ll bet the 1883 Methvenites could spell better though, and their grammar would have been to die for!


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By Don Donovan