In 1976 a group of interested professional persons met to investigate and research the feasibility of establishing a Special Needs Library in Christchurch, based on a model established in Sweden.

After months of discussions premises were found and a lease signed with the then Canterbury Education Board, who allowed us use of one room in the special class block at Christchurch East School-we had rent free premises.

In November 1977, under the guidance of Mrs Helen Bascand, who was a trained teacher with experience in teaching the deaf, the library officially opened, following 18 months laying very professional foundations for the library, which included organising systems, purchasing educational, recreational and therapeutic resources.

In 1986 a need was identified for a service to support families who were unable to visit the library, which resulted with the employment of the Educational Resource Advisor, a trained professional with expertise with those who have a special need.

It was in November 1994 we were given three months’ notice to vacate our premises at Christchurch East school. After frantic searching we reopened premises at 109 Huxley Street in February 1995.

At that point a fundraising campaign was established to raise $160,000. Within three years, through the generosity of organisations, volunteers and trusts the library became mortgage free.

In 2017 we proudly celebrate our 40th birthday.

The Christchurch Special Needs Library has become an essential and very respected service in Canterbury used by professionals and families throughout the region. We are the only organisation providing this particular service in New Zealand encompassing the Educational Resource Advisor.

We are unique in our field


 Rata Foundation

NZ Lottery Grants Board


Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Trust

Blogg Charitable Trust

Maurice Carter Trust

The Lamar Charitable Trust

Christchurch South Lions

Robert & Barbara Stewart Charitable Trust

Harcourts Foundation

Christchurch Kiwanis