Wednesday, 31 October 2007

All Hallow's Eve

Michael Wilson called it "colonial imperialism" on TV1 this morning. Some consider it rampant American commercialism. Others celebrate Halloween as it was originally - as Samhein from the Celts of Ireland and Britain. The History Channel website has a huge amount of information about the origins of Halloween and how we celebrate it today.

For a lot of us though, we think of Halloween as fancy dress, trick and treating and fun. And that's how we will be celebrating at the Rodney Libraries today. There are activities this evening at most of the Rodney Libraries so head down for fun, games, stories and songs.

Helensville, Kumeu and Orewa have their parties starting at 4 pm. Warkworth commences at 4.30 pm, Mahurangi East (Snells Beach) at 5.30 pm and Whangaparaoa at 6 pm.

And maybe by the end of the week we will be able to post some photos of what the well-dressed librarian wears for Halloween. Have a good day everyone.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Tidbits from the Book World

One of our most popular romance writers, Nora Roberts, was a winner at the Quill Awards in America last week. The Quill Awards sounds like the publishing industry's answer to the Oscars (think red carpet and glamour). "Romance rocks," Roberts told the crowd after accepting her Book of the Year award, which was voted online by the public, for a romance/thriller novel "Angels Fall" . Other Quill Award winners included Al Gore for the history/current affairs/politics category with "The Assault on Reason", Cormac McCarthy, who took the general fiction award with his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Road" and Walter Isaacson, who won the biography/memoir award for "Einstein: His Life and Universe." Amy Sedaris won the humor award for "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence," Diane Setterfield will be awarded the debut author Quill for "The Thirteenth Tale" and Laura Lippman won the mystery/suspense/thriller award for "What the Dead Know."(sourced from Reuters).

While filming gets underway for "The Lovely Bones", the best seller from Alice Sebold, her latest offering "The Almost Moon" is in hot demand in Rodney Libraries. It has had mixed reviews and I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. Go to the Rodney Libaries catalogue and put a request in for it.

And while J K Rowling has outed Professor Dumbledore (personally I wonder at the need for this announcement), I am much more interested in finding out exactly what happened to Rhett Butler after Scarlett uttered her infamous "Tomorrow is another day". Apparently we are all going to get the chance to find out both his history and the aftermath in the second Gone with the Wind sequel called "Rhett Butler's people" written by Civil War novelist Donald McCaig. This book has been authorised by Margaret Mitchell's estate. I am not sure when it will hit New Zealand but if you are a Scarlett and Rhett fan, keep your eyes peeled.

Until tomorrow, ka kite ano

Monday, 29 October 2007

"Real gold:treasures of Auckland City Libraries"

"Real gold : treasures of Auckland City Libraries" by Iain Sharp ; photographs by Haruhiko Sameshima.

Real gold celebrates the rich variety of the Special Collections at Auckland City Libraries. The featured treasures are grouped in several sections such as New Zealand, Auckland, book arts, travel, literature and science. Among the treasures shown are a First folio of Shakespeare, a six-page catechism - the first book printed in New Zealand, maps and sketches of early Auckland, letters from Florence Nightingale to Sir George Grey, the score and lyrics of God defend New Zealand, Maori language manuscripts, medieval illuminated manuscripts.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Fireworks, birds, runners, lights

Phew. What is it about short weeks? They sound great in theory but it seems that you're trying to fit five days work into four days. Never mind because it's almost the weekend again.

On Saturday 27 October...
A professional fireworks display by Shogun Quality Fireworks will be held at Kumeu Showgrounds with all funds going towards Taupaki School. More details here.
Puhoi Sports Club fireworks spectacular. More details here.

If fireworks aren't your thing, maybe you'd be interested in a special birdwatching opportunity. On Sunday 28 October explore the Papakanui Spit and Waionui Lagoon area with the Kaipara Forest and Bird team. In spring the migratory waders are returning on their 11,000+ kilometre direct flight from the tundra of Alaska and Siberia where they breed. More details on their website.

Or maybe you're one of hundreds of dedicated walkers and runners who will be wandering across the Harbour Bridge in the Adidas Auckland marathon event. The Herald has a list of prime viewing spots. Good luck!

When you've finished racing you can pop over to Britomart for "Diwali - Festival of lights". This event celebrates the traditions of Diwali, and is also a celebration of Indian culture with scrumptious food, non-stop free family entertainment, Bollywood dancing, traditional crafts, and much more.

There's so much on I think I'll need a four day weekend! Have a good one.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Great North Harbour Haka

Quick - there is still time to register for your Haka pack from North Harbour Sport so that you can be part of what will hopefully be the largest synchronised haka in the world.

It's all part of Push Play Day on Friday 2nd November. At 2pm at nominated venues around the Harbour area schools, sports teams, workplaces and whanau are encouraged to take part.

For more details visit the Harbour Sport website.

Get out there and get active people. It's lots of fun (and it was fun being talked into my first game of netball for ages last night. It's just the body today that feels a little jaded ... ha ha. Maybe I should just do something more often).

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Halloween is coming....

Be prepared for spooks and spiders, tricks and treats, games and stories as Rodney Libraries host their annual childrens Halloween evenings next Wednesday night.
This is the display down at Whangaparaoa Library for Halloween (with librarian and designer Svetlana peeking around the corner). Very imaginative.

Here are the times for your local library for next Wednesday night.

Helensville 4.00 pm
Kumeu 4.00 pm
Orewa 4.00 pm
Warkworth 4.30 pm
Mahurangi East 5.30 pm
Whangaparoa 6.00 pm

Get dressed up (that includes the big people as well as the children) and come and join in the fun.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

I'm on a roll...

While it certainly felt like we have missed a couple of seasons and gone back to winter again, the long weekend was a revelation. I discovered that underneath the growth and weeds on my section I actually have both a lawn and a garden (thanks to the family for the working bee). This has enthused me and I am determined to keep it this way. I even got rash and cleaned the windows in the house so that I could look out and admire it.

So first thing this morning I am on the hunt for both gardening books (the sort for people whose friends buy them supposedly "you can't kill this" plants, only to throw up their hands in defeat several month later at the brown withered stalks) and cleaning books (as I figured the inside may as well match the outside).

Where better to go that the Library catalogue. However it appears I'm not the only one who is having a spring cleaning session as typing cleaning in as a keyword search (which brings up all books that have cleaning either in the title or the description) shows me that lots of these books are out at the moment. I will just have to satisfy myself with putting a request in for them.

Better luck with the gardening books though as we have so many of them. Rodney people are enthusiastic gardeners. There are all sorts of gardening books on the shelf (24 different entries in our subject catalogue) from the what to plant and how which are on the shelf around number 635 to the landscaping books which are further on around number 712. Plenty of scope for me here.

Now I just have to find the time. I'll check in again a couple of months down the track and let you know if I still have a lawn and garden that look presentable.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Labour Weekend

It's Labour Weekend this weekend. Rodney Libraries will be closed on Monday. If you're going away (or staying at home) you're going to need something to do so pop in and pick up a few items. Here's a list of some of the things you can get from the library.

Labour Day remembers the struggle for the eight hour day and was first celebrated in 1890. More information can be found at New Zealand History Online.

Have a safe and fun weekend.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Halfway through Library Week - kia hiwa ra

We're halfway through Library Week and this is what I've learnt.

1. I know who the grumble rumble mumbler is.
2. The Library Week pens are easy to find in my bag because they are yellow.
3. "Mister Pip" didn't win the Man Booker but it's still a great read.
4. Giving away books as part of Bookcrossing means that they may end up in foreign countries.
5. There are going to be some interestting anecdotes in the Jack Lovelock book...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Outsider wins Booker Race

(from website)

Anne Enright has picked up the Booker's £50,000 chequeIrish author Anne Enright has won this year's Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in literature.
The novelist's family saga The Gathering beat bookmakers' favourites Ian McEwan and Lloyd Jones to be named the best novel of the past 12 months.
The other authors on the £50,000 prize's shortlist were Mohsin Hamid, Nicola Barker and Indra Sinha.
Howard Davies, who chaired the judges, said Enright's book was "powerful, uncomfortable and, at times, angry".
"The Gathering is an unflinching look at a grieving family in tough and striking language," he said. "We think she is an impressive novelist, we expect to hear a lot more from her.
"The book is powerful, it pulls you along and it has an absolutely brilliant ending. It has one of the best last sentences of any novel I have ever read."
I was ready for anything - possibly anything except that
Anne Enright
Enright was regarded as one of the outsiders for the award, and said she was surprised to win.
"I am still churning it through," she told BBC Radio 4. "Tomorrow, I'll wake up and go 'whoopee'.
"I was ready for anything - possibly anything except that," she added.
The Gathering is the fourth novel by the 45-year-old former television producer.
It is about an Irish woman who is prompted by her brother's suicide to revisit three generations of bleak history of her large, dysfunctional family.
Enright said she did not mind her book being given descriptions like "depressing". "I love them," she said. "They're entirely fair. It's not a cheerful book."
Enright's previous novels include the Whitbread-nominated What Are You Like? in 2000. She has also released Making Babies, her light-hearted diaries of motherhood.
Of the six authors in contention for this year's Booker, only McEwan had even been shortlisted in the past. He won in 1998 with Amsterdam.

New Zealand BIGGEST storytime

Join in as we read "The grumble rumble mumbler" for New Zealand's biggest storytime at 10:30 am today!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

"Jack Lovelock: athlete and doctor"

As I type, this book by Dr. Graeme Woodfield is being launched at the Kumeu Library. Lovelock's story is a fascinating one - Olympic athlete, soldier, doctor, family man.

Join us as we celebrate the launch.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Who is the Grumble Rumble Mumbler?

Is it the Maero?

Is is the Ngarara?

Could it be the Taniwha?

Surely not the Taipo?

To find out who the Grumble Rumble Mumbler is, you need to be at one of the National Storytimes that are being run as part of Library Week. All over the country on Wednesday at 10.30 am storytellers are going to be reading Melanie Drewery's latest book to the young, and the young at heart (psst... you don't have to be or have a child or grandchild to enjoy a good story)

Mahurangi East Library are visiting the Snells Beach Kindergarten to tell the story there. But kids, babies, Mums, Dads, and Grandparents are all welcome at Helensville, Kumeu, Orewa, Warkworth, Wellsford or Whangaparaoa libraries at 10.30am on Wednesday whre Rodney Libraries are going to be part of NATIONAL STORYTIME.

It's Library Week! Kia hiwa ra - Pass it on

Library Week celebrates what awesome places libraries are - and the incredible world librarians can connect you to.

What do you want to be connected to?

Is it the internet? Is it reading and literacy? Is it information? Is it community? Is it art and culture? Is it training tips? Is it the latest blockbuster? Is it family? Is it entertainment? Is it peace and quiet? Is it local? Is it the world?

You call it and we'll connect you. Kia hiwa ra.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Nobel Prize for Literature announced

The winner of this year’s Nobel prize for literature did not hear the announcement. Doris Lessing was out shopping and came home to be told the news by the reporters waiting on her doorstep.

Doris Lessing is a prolific author, and many of her books are on the shelves at Rodney Libraries, unless someone has rushed in to take them to read over the weekend, as happened up here at Warkworth his morning. Many of her titles were already out, so she is popular around the district with our readers.

You can find out more about the announcement and reaction to it at the Fox News website or in this story from the New York Times.

To find out more about the author visit the Doris Lessing website or read this interview with the author last year from the Newsday site

Shaping our communities together - have you voted?

Local election voting closes tomorrow at 12 noon. Votes 'in the mail' won't count so drop them off at one of the following council offices.

Centreway Road, Orewa

Baxter Street, Warkworth

Commercial Road, Helensville

State Highway 16, Huapai.

Progress results will be known about 1pm, and Preliminary Results will be known about 5pm on Saturday 13 October, 2007. These will be accessible on the Rodney District Council website.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Kia hiwa ra - Pass it on!

This is what Rodney Libraries will be doing during Library Week 15-21 October.

Kumeu Library will be hosting the launch of “Jack Lovelock: athlete and doctor” by Graeme Woodfield at 10:30am on Tuesday 16 October 2007. Come along to talk to the author about his research. Tea and biscuits provided.

All Rodney Libraries will be taking part in NZ’s Biggest Storytime session. It’s at 10.30am on Wednesday October 17 and will feature Melanie Drewery’s book “The Grumble Rumble Mumbler.”

Mahurangi East Friends of the Library and the Helensville Library and Service Centre will be having book sales.

Mahurangi East Library will have presentations by community members each day between 10am and 12 noon. They will also be serving tea and coffee

Monday - Flower arranging
Tuesday - Beading
Wednesday - Spinning and weaving
Thursday - Scrap booking photos
Friday - Seaside gardening advice and plant identification

Whangaparaoa Library and Service Centre will have activities and presentations by community members. See the library for more details.

During the week we'll be participating in Bookcrossing, defined as "the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise." (from Bookcrossing FAQ) Each book will have a unique BCID (Bookcrossing identification number) that can be entered onto the Bookcrossing site. You'll know it's from us because there'll be a sticker inside with our website and blog details. If you find one don't return it - kia hiwa ra - pass it on!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Library Week that is.

Yes, the week when all things Library is celebrated around New Zealand runs next week from the 15th to the 21st of October. Watch this space for what is happening at your local library.

Kia hiwa ra ... Pass it on

Terrifying Tomes at the Wearable Arts

Art and Literature came together for a win at the New Zealand Wearable Arts awards. I think this is a fantastic outfit and congratulations to Linda Darby-Coring. The Pakuranga woman took first prize in the children's section of the Montana World of Wearable Awards with her costume “Grim Furry Tales” which beat designers from throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Click on the link to read the full story on the Terrifying Tomes from the Eastern Courier and the Nelson Mail.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Give me a four letter word...


It’s only 41 days until NCEA exams start for our senior students and around the country many are starting their preliminary exams today. Life is going to be stressful in some households for the next couple of months as study gets under way in earnest.

There is plenty of material available, in both the library and on the internet, about how to study, and how to support those that are sitting the exams.

You can find the books in both our adult and teenage non-fiction sections under Call Number 371.3 (the call number is the number on the spine of our non-fiction books). Check out Smart Students Study Less or Survive Exams which are still on the shelves at some of our libraries this morning when I checked.

If you prefer to check out the Internet here are some sites that could help you:

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority site provides some sample exam papers that you can practice on.

The other New Zealand site is Study It. This is advertised as “Your one stop site for achieving in NCEA maths, science and English. Find out what you need to know, contact subject teachers, and get encouragement from other students”.

Internationally, two of the most comprehensive sites are Onion Street which is a BBC sponsored “How to Study” site and the SGS site which has the added bonus of being a multilingual site. Both have plenty of tips on how to study and handle the stress of exams.

Don’t forget that the library is a great space to study, either by yourself or in groups. Some Rodney Libraries have late nights, so if you want a change of scenery for your study, the library might work for you. And if you need to check up on anything, the information is often as close as the shelves, the internet computers or your friendly librarian.


Monday, 8 October 2007

"Mental Health Awareness Week" 8-14 Oct and "Disaster Awareness Week" 7-13 Oct

I don't know about you but Daniel Bedingfield's "Gotta get thru this" has been on loop at our place since yesterday morning. People have been wandering aimlessly around, occasionally crying "No! No! It can't be true" and generally being in a bit of a funk. Apparently this is because the All Blacks are a 'surrogate tribe' - even for those of you who thought you didn't care.

Coincidentally, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. This year's theme is "Who we are and where we stand. Ko Papatūānuku tōku tūrangawaewae." The Mental Health Foundation says "Discrimination and social exclusion can have a profound negative effect on our wellbeing and more specifically our mental health. The way we treat each other has a powerful impact on the health of individuals and communities. We want to see the social inclusion of people with experience of mental illness as well as a culture of celebrating diversity."

Saturday morning felt like a bit of a disaster but what if it was a real one? Would you be ready?

This week is also Disaster Awareness Week. New Zealand can be an unpredictable country what with lahars, floods, earthquakes etc. The Get Thru website has a number of resources to help you prepare. Alternatively, you can look on the Rodney District Council website in 'Our Services' for the 'Civil Defence' page. There are resources to look at including how to sign up to the free text-based Civil Defence notification scheme. At this stage the messaging service will be activated only in the event of a tsunami, an impending localised emergency such as a cyclone, or when a Civil Defence Emergency is likely to be declared.

Most of the All Blacks and support staff get back into the country on Wednesday at midday. Kia kaha boys, you're still my #1 team.

Friday, 5 October 2007

"The Book Show" is back

The second series of "The Book Show" is back on TV One this Saturday, 9.30am.

Up for discussion this week - "How to Watch a Bird" by Steve Braunias, Finlay Macdonald catches up with Rachael King, and Karlo Mila drops by to talk about a favourite book.

Go the All Blacks!

Well, you didn't really expect us to leave for the weekend without saying something about the rugby. We have been pretty quiet on that front until now. But things are heating up with the quarter finals this weekend. I will be brunching on Sunday morning in front of the TV to watch the All Blacks beat France (crossed fingers as toes as I would rather we were playing almost anyone but the unpredictable French at this stage). I'll be hoping Fiji can give South Africa even more of a fright than Tonga did, at the slightly uncivilised time of 2am so if you spy a droopy eyed librarian in the north, that's probably me.

Of course there is heaps of information on the net and in the papers about rugby at the moment. TV3 has all the game schedules, streaming of games and videos of interviews. ry the Official World Cup site here or if you want to support the All Blacks try their official site .

Black jersey or silver jersey - will make no difference. The All Blacks will still be winning on Sunday.

Shorter can be Better

Personally, I sometimes feel that the short story is seen as the poor relation of the literature world. Perhaps it is a hangover from all those short stories we were made to read, and attempt to dissect (I mean interpret), in high school. The perception of length as a standard for merit is also evident (especially when you look at the number of pages in some of the books on our library shelves).

Perhaps, however, short stories are going through a resurgence. Earlier this year, Rodney Libraries were involved in running “Rodney Writes”, our own local short story competition. And we have already had enquiries about next years contest. That is just one of the short story competitions which are increasingly popular.

Last evening the winners in the prestigious Katherine Mansfield short story competition were announced in Wellington. After 10 years of trying, Carl Nixon took out the top prize, beating off 430 competitors with his story My Beautiful Balloon, based on a real event in the Hawkes Bay.
Creative writing graduate Craig Cliff won the novice category with Another Language, and year 13 student Mark Davidson, from St Patrick's College in Wellington, took the young writer's award for Man's Best Friend.

Rodney Libraries have plenty of short story collections on our shelves. They are reasonably well used by students looking to satisfy their NCEA reading requirements, but have some great writing in them for everyone to enjoy. To find them in our catalogue you can do a Keyword search for “short stories” or ask one of the librarians next time you are in. To start you off there are several collections on the general fiction shelves (for instance both Flamingo and Picador have published anthologies), or look for authors such as Owen Marshall, Joy Cowley, Katherine Mansfield (of course), Shonagh Koea and even Louis L’Armour. There are also collections in the non fiction shelves under 823.

Easy to pick up and put down, why not try a short story this month.

Last day of the holidays - what's on in the library?

The holidays are almost over but we've got one last holiday event for you to attend.

Whangaparaoa Library and Service Centre
Free Music & Movement with Hendrina 11 am

The weather is looking as though it's going to have another tantrum so come in and stock up on fun things for the weekend - DVDs, books, magazines, PS2 games - everything you need to make a weekend indoors bearable.

Have a good one!

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Rodney Libraries presents "Jack Lovelock, athlete and doctor"

Join us at Kumeu Library on Tuesday October 16 at 10:30am as we celebrate the launch of "Jack Lovelock: athlete and doctor" with the author, Dr. Graeme Woodfield.

"Jack Lovelock remains one of New Zealand’s greatest sportsmen, the diminutive figure in black who, “running in a rapture”, won the Olympic 1500m gold medal in world record time in front of Hitler in 1936. Despite his fame, Lovelock has been an enigmatic, elusive figure. Woodfield has examined the many facets of Lovelock – athlete, doctor, journalist, soldier, family man – and, drawing on the contributions of several specialists, completed what is virtually a forensic investigation of this famous New Zealander."

All welcome. Tea and coffee will be served.

What's on in the library today?

Lots of interesting activities!

Helensville Library and Service Centre
Spring garden stories and fun 10.30 am

Warkworth Library
Storytime for Preschoolers 10.30 am

Wellsford Library
Watch them grow – stories and activity 10.30 am

Orewa Library
Rhymetime 11 am

Whangaparaoa Library and Service Centre
Rhymetime 11 am
"Dogs are your Friends" 2 pm

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Wednesday is busy in the library

It's a busy day around the district today. Here's whats happening in your local library.

10.30 am Spring garden stories and fun
2 pm Spring into Spring – Stories and activities
10.30 am Watch them grow – Garden stories & fun
10.30 am Storytime for Preschoolers
11 am Storytime for Preschoolers
2 pm Indoor games

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

What do these books have in common?

WHAT DO the Harry Potter books, Little Red Riding Hood and Of Mice and Men have in common.

They are all on the list of the most often Banned and Challenged books of the 1990’s and 21st century to date. In fact the lists read more like a book shop’s bestseller list, than a list of titles that people are unhappy with. Many h ave also been recognised as some of the most influential and important books, making it onto lists of recommended titles.

Some of the lists can be found online at Forbidden Library or at the American Library Association Banned Books week site

Internationally books that have been published and are acceptable in one country, are not in another. Many countries have banned David Irving’s books and he himself was banned from entering New Zealand in 2004 (find out more about that at

The publicity for Banned Books Week in America included this article from the Los Angeles Times (23 Sept)

GET hooked on a banned book. That's the American Library Assn.'s mantra for Banned Books Week, which begins Saturday.
Part of living in a democracy means respecting each other's differences and the right of all people to choose for themselves what they and their families read," Judith F. Krug, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in a statement.
In 2006, there were 546 reported challenges to remove books from library shelves, most (61%) made by parents and most (71%) involving schools.Topping the list was "And Tango Makes Three," a tale of two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed-sex penguin. Toni Morrison's novels "Beloved" and "The Bluest Eye" also made the list, but the most challenged books of the 21st century remain J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" novels.

A word of warning however. What caused a book to be banned or challenged in the past, may not be so radical or exciting today. While it is easy to understand the thought processes behind a challenge on George Orwell's "1984" or Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5", it is less easy to understand that "Black Beauty" and "Where's Wally" have both been the subject of bans at some stage.

What's on in the Library Tuesday 2nd October


10.30 am Spring flower stories and fun

Mahurangi East

10.30 am Storytime – What’s hatching?

Orewa and Whangaparaoa

11 am Storytime for preschoolers

Last week was lots of fun in the libraries around the district. Kumeu and Helensville had enjoyable story and activity sessions, Julie reported that the Pyjama party on Thursday night was a lot of fun and there has been a lot of interest in Hendrina's Kindermusik sessions. Meanwhile our animal visitors (the lamb at Orewa and Peyton the guide dog puppy at Warkworth) were warmly received by both children and parents at their sessions.
Here's Peyton checking out the books with Warkworth children's librarian, Anne.

Monday, 1 October 2007

What's on in the library today?

If you look out the window and see the same weather as I do then you'll know it's a perfect day for the library.

Here's what's on today

Helensville Library and Service centre
Storytime for preschoolers 10.30 am

Kumeu Library
Storytime for Preschoolers 10.30 am

Warkworth Library
Storytime for Preschoolers 10.30 am

Orewa Library
"Spring into Spring - Stories and activities" 2 pm