By Pauline Stewart.
The Florence Harsant Community Library in the village of Hahei is one of the best country libraries, and the community is very proud of their library, which has some 13,000 books: general fiction, thrillers/mysteries, history, New Zealand authors, biographies, gardening, cooking, travel and much more. It also has a huge Children’s Library which includes books by local Coromandel Peninsula authors and illustrators.
It was the late Florence Harsant who started this wonderful community library that bears her name, when she offered part of her Hahei home as a base for the Country Library Service (CLS) in the 1950s. A selection of books was delivered by a Field Librarian on a regular basis for the local families. In 1988, the book van service ceased operation; by then the CLS had become part of the National Library of New Zealand. Around that time, the first dedicated library building at Hahei was moved from Pauanui to the Village Green at Hahei. With the help of community fundraising, the Community Hall was built in 1990 and it incorporated the library.
To this day, a group of dedicated volunteers continue to operate the library for the wider community. They are always looking for great ideas to promote their library and attract new members.
Open Day - Saturday 8 July 0.00am-12.00pm Over the school holidays, the first Hahei Library Open Day is to be held. It will be a great opportunity to come in, see the huge range of books and just what the library has to offer. And if you are not already a member it will be a great chance to join! “Bring the family! We have books for everyone, even the blokes! There will be light refreshments for everyone. We hope to see you there,” says Robyn Dalziel, Chairperson of the Florence Harsant Community Library.
New books for both children and adults are regularly purchased with the help of reviews, requests and recommendations. “Our members and the wider community kindly donate books throughout the year that we add to the library or sell in our books sales,” adds Robyn. “We frequently hear comments from our out-of-town members saying that our library has books their big city library doesn’t even have yet!”
All residents, ratepayers and visitors from the Mercury Bay South area (Hahei, Cooks Beach, Hot Water Beach, Whenuakite) are welcome to visit and join the library. For new members, a $20 annual fee covers not just one person, but your whole household.
The Florence Harsant Community Library is located adjacent to the Hahei Community Centre at 52 Hahei Beach Road, Hahei. Opening Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 12pm.
Annual Hahei Market Day at the Library
Each Summer, there is a Hahei Market Day. It started with a used book sale and about a dozen stalls on the Village Green. It has now grown to such a size that it had to move to Kotare Reserve with over a hundred stalls each year in early January. It is regarded by many of the vendors and visitors as one of the best venues on the Coromandel. The huge Used Book Sale is held two days before the market where donated books from $1 to $5 each are sold.
The Library Executive Committee philosophy is that any excess profits from successful Market Days and Book Sales go back to the community by way of donations to local community groups. To do this they have established “Community Wellbeing Donations” which are recommended by the Library Executive Committee each year. “Over the years the Hahei Library has been thrilled to donate to the following organisations,” says Robyn.
• Trust Waikato Hot Water Beach Life Service; • Coromandel Westpac Helicopter Trust.
• Mercury Bay Cancer Support Trust; • Kuaotunu Search and Rescue (KASAR); • St John/Hahei Station volunteers; • Whenuakite Area Playgroup; • Hahei Fire Brigade; • The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust – EMR; • The Hahei Reserves Group; • The Hahei Skateboard Half-pipe; • Kotare Reserve Memorial Garden Trust
Sadly, due to the weather events with Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle, the Market Day and Book Sale for Summer 2023 were cancelled. Instead, at Easter, a Mini Market Day and Book Sale on the Village Green, was a huge success!
Another Mini Market Day and Book Sale will be held on Labour Weekend in October 2023. Mark your calendars! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caption: Hahei Community Library.