Monday, 31 March 2008

Daylight Savings time ends

If it seems like the days are getting shorter and the nights longer it's because they are. I like to plan my weekends in advance and this weekend is no exception. On the agenda - a sleep in.

Daylight Savings time ends this Sunday - 3am becomes 2am. The Department of Internal Affairs has an short history of how Daylight Savings time was implemented in New Zealand on their website. Daylight Savings has been around for as long as I can remember so it was a surprise to read that it took 20 years for the first bill to be adopted way back in 1927. Another surprise was finding out that from the end of the 1940s to the beginning of the 1970s it didn't exist. The Te Ara article on Timekeeping in New Zealand has a link to a photo showing 'Ararua time'. This is a small commmunity in Northland who objected to the change in time and so decided to ignore it. If only alarm clocks could be ignored so easily!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

What's On this weekend in Rodney

Hiya. Yes it's the weekend again! And we were so busy with all the other news yesterday that we forgot to tell you what's on in our wonderful District this weekend. Here's a quick rundown of a couple of things you can do.

The third annual Jafa & Jandals Fest out west is coming to an end this weekend. Kumeu has a fantastic time with this festival with lots of businesses and organisations getting into the spirit of things (including the local library although we are still waiting for photos from them). The windup events this weekend are:
Sunday 30 March
Beach Dig & Jandal Throwing Contest at Southern End of Muriwai Beach. 10am - 12pm.
The Kumeu Club Open Fishing Tournament. Weigh-in and Prize giving is at 4pm.

Hibiscus Coast Soap Box Derby and Family Fun Day
Saturday 29 March at Pinecrest Ave, Gulf Harbour
Racing starts at 9am and continues throughout the day. Organised by ROTARY

Thundercat Racing
Saturday 29 March Orewa Beach (south of the Surf Club)
Thundercat racing is a high adrenalin, high action sport with explosive wave jumping and tight competitive surf racing in a tunnel hulled inflatable boat. Racing Starts at 11am.

The Gondoliers
Centrestage Theatre, Orewa 29 March – 12 April
A popular Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Information and bookings from the theatre: Ph 09 426 7278
Earth Hour
Saturday 29 March at 8 pm
WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature) has invited all New Zealanders to participate by dimming or switching off their lights at 8pm tonight for one hour to raise awareness about global warming. Most time zones around the world will also have cities and communities doing the same.

Meanwhile, after a full weekend of netball in Whangarei over Easter at the Aotearoa Maori netball tournament (I was one of the Ngati Pakeha tribe), and another one planned for next weekend in Rotorua, this librarian is planning a netball-free weekend to catchup with family. Whatever you are doing, making it a good one.

Kia pai (Take it easy)

Friday, 28 March 2008

Authors in the news

A number of articles caught my eye as I was reading the online news this week.

Dickens family seek to overturn writer's dying wish for no memorials (From The Independent)
Author Charles Dickens left strict instructions in his will that he be remembered for his work only. " monument memorial or testimonial whatever". Next year will be 140 years since his death and his family are wondering if it's time to change their stance over a memorial of some sort.

Shakespeare goes digital (From Reuters)
"A U.S. and British library plan to reproduce online all 75 editions of William Shakespeare's plays printed in the quarto format before the year 1641.
The Bodleian Library in Oxford and Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC have joined forces to download their collections, building on the work of the British Library which digitized its collection of quarto editions in 2004."

Hutt Valley teacher gets global book deal (From Stuff)
Publishing house Quercus has bought the rights to distribute Bernard Beckett's sci-fi thriller "Genesis" around the world.

Match it For Pratchett! Raising £500,000 for Alzheimer's research (via Boingboing)
Terry Pratchett has a rare form of Alzheimers. He's donated half a million pounds to Alzheimer's research. The "Match it for Pratchett" campaign aims to donate the same and make it an even million. (Okay, technically not this week but still interesting author news. )

Warning - Unwelcome Visitor washed up

Please steer clear of the Bluebottle jellyfish if you happen across one. They have been found washed up on Orewa Beach this week and have a very nasty sting.

Did you know that Bluebottle jellyfish are not a true jellyfish at all? Another name for them is the Portuguese Man-O'-War and their Maori name is Ihu Moana. If you want to find out more about jellyfish and other sea creatures check out the Rodney Libraries catalogue in the 570's and 590's on the shelves or do a subject search for beaches or fish.

In the meantime, if you do see a Bluebottle jellyfish, you should not touch them or attempt to pick them up as they sting even when they have been dead for some time.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

A Helping Hand

Do you want to study at University next year but are wondering where the money for books and fees is going to come from?
Have you been picked for a regional or national sports team, but can't afford the equipment and travel that is demanded to keep up your training?
Do you want to run a programme to help victims of drug abuse in your local community, but don't have a place to hold it?
Well we may be able to help you find what you need.

One of the electronic resources which we offer Rodney Libraries card holders is access to FundView and Breakout. These two New Zealand databases providing information on funding, scholarships, awards and grants available to both community groups and individuals to assist them in their community, academic, artistic, sporting, research and other personal development endeavours. There are 581 schemes open for funding applications on Fundview which deals with community groups and 1,732 options available for grants and scholarships listed at Breakout which helps the individual. Locally funding is available from the Creative Communities Arts Funding scheme and the Rodney District Council National Heritage Fund amongst others. And I know there are local students out there who have gained scholarships to help them in their tertiary study.

Remember all you need to do is go to the Rodney District Libraries e-resources webpage, click on the site you want to go to and have your library card and PIN number ready to start your journey to the future. If you have any queries just ask us next time you are in the library and we will give you a guided tour.

Good luck and have a fantastic day.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Lady Killer

No I am not talking about Tina Cross who sings as part of the fantastic Kiwi group the Lady killers (well worth catching up with these ladies if you ever get the chance). Great dancing for a good cause by the way Tina (although I am still being parochial and supporting Temepara in Dancing with the Stars).

No - today I am talking about the book Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline. Here is a sneak preview of the review that Wellsford Library have written for the April edition of the Northern Matters.

Lisa Scottoline has once again returned, to the office of Rosato & Associates after a five-year break, to write an unputdownable thriller.
Mary Di Nunzio is once more the reluctant heroine of the story. She has a surprise visit from an old high school rival – Trish Gambone.
Trish was head of the Mean Girl gang, who excelled at smoking and general disruption of the class, in contrast with Mary who was a straight-A student and the most likely to achieve sainthood. (Mary had a secret nick name for her – Trash!)
Trish is terrified of her live-in boyfriend and fears for her life. His drug running and mob connections has changed his personality into an abusive controlling individual. She begs for Mary’s help to find a way to escape his clutches. Mary has some legal suggestions that Trish refuses and storms out off her office.
She goes missing, and a body turns up in an alley. Mary goes on a ‘one woman crusade’ and tries to right the wrong she feels she did to Trish. As the story’s plot twists and turns and the reader tries to second-guess the outcome, Mary careers around the country in a shocking storm looking for Trish.
All the old characters have a place in the story, Mrs DiNunzio is still cooking the best spaghetti and meatballs, Mr DiNunzio is still the devoted husband and father. Judy is as usual trying to keep Mary from making a fatal mistake. Mary’s boss Rosato reveals a soft underbelly and helps in the most unexpected way. Plus Mary may have found romance again!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Last days of Book Sale

There is still time to nip into the Orewa Library today and tomorrow to pick up a bargain book. Whether it is something light to lie back and enjoy on the beach in the fabulous summer we are having (it just seems to be going on and on) or something to sink your teeth into for when the weather gets colder, there is something there for everyone.

I have just talked to Liz at Orewa and she assures me there are still plenty of boxes in reserve including some audio books, heaps of childrens items (remember the school holidays are coming up) and things for mum and dad as well. Head along and check it out at the Orewa Library Book Sale before it finishes tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

RIP Arthur C. Clarke

News came in late yesterday that prolific science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke passed away yesterday at the age of 90 years.

"Science-fiction writer, inventor and futurist Arthur C. Clarke has died, leaving fans bereft at the loss of his brilliance and creativity.
Clarke died early Wednesday after suffering from breathing problems, the Associated Press reported. He was 90 years old. He suffered from post-polio syndrome and was confined to a wheelchair toward the end of his life.
Clarke wrote more than
100 sci-fi books, including "2001: A Space Odyssey."
He is credited with coming up with the idea for the communications satellite and predicting space travel before rockets were even test fired."

source Fox News website (click for the full story)

We have many of his titles here at the Rodney Libraries so if you would like to revisit them (or read them for the first time) check out our catalogue listings for Arthur C. Clarke here.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Rodney District wins Mayoral Cycle Challenge

Rodney District is cycle-mad having won this year’s Mayoral Cycle Challenge ahead of 39 other cities and districts. Held in the rain on 2 March, 1500 Rodney residents including Mayor Penny Webster, MP Lockwood Smith, staff from the emergency services, RDC staff, local celebrities and sports stars got on their bikes to take the title of New Zealand ’s most cycle-mad city ahead of Hutt Valley and Wellington City Councils.

Rodney District Council’s travel planner, Belinda Matheson , says the support of the community and sponsors made the event the success it was.

“It was due to the tireless support of our staff and other volunteers on the day and our numerous sponsors that the event surpassed our expectations,” says Belinda. “This year’s focus was on children and family, and despite the weather the cycle challenge gave Rodney families the opportunity to experience something new and exciting.”

Well done to everyone who braved the weather!

The Margaret Mahy Medal 2008 goes to...

University of Auckland education lecturer Wayne Mills, initiator of children’s literature quizzes in New Zealand and internationally, is the winner of the 2008 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award. The award recognises Wayne Mills’ achievement in establishing the popular Kids’ Lit Quiz held annually in New Zealand and in 2003 expanding this to an international event. ‘Wayne Mills is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s foremost authorities on children’s and young adult books,’ says Dr Libby Limbrick, chair of the Storylines Trust and Head of the School of Arts, Languages and Literacies at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland. "He has made an outstanding contribution to children’s literacy both in New Zealand and in countries participating in the Kids’ Lit Quiz, inspiring young readers, their parents and teachers.’

The Margaret Mahy Medal Award is presented to a person who has made an especially significant contribution to children's literature, publishing or literacy, and honours New Zealand's leading author for children. The inaugural lecture was presented by Margaret Mahy in 1991.

source : Storylines website

I know some of our local schools are already in training for this year's Kids' Lit contests so good luck to them, and congratulations to Wayne.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Taken anything good to bed lately?

That's the question posed on the latest display at the Warkworth Library, supported by recommendations from staff and volunteers. And the books that are keeping us up at night are proving very popular with other readers - our favourites are flying out the door.

Matt's recommendation went first. Don’t Try this at Home – Culinary catastrophes from the World’s Greatest Cooks and Chefs. He said of this wonderful little treasure "For nothing else, read this to see the weird assortment of breakfast foods the world’s top chefs consume!"

At the time Jay was reading Saturday (Ian McEwan). "This kept me going until 2 am last night.. Great read and you can’t put it down. A simple premise but good characters and story make this extremely satisfying (and I still have a few pages to go so I can’t tell you the end yet….)". After he finished it (and he still won't tell us the end) it went onto the display and picked up immediately.

Anne and Lisa both picked books narrated from several different points of view. Anne recommended Love in the present tense (Catherine Ryan Hyde) which we have talked about before (and was well worth the read) while Lisa chose Small Island (Andrea Levy) a novel set in 1948 when the first Caribbean immigrants came to Britain after WWII. The story is told by four different characters and Lisa found "that there is always one character that you preefer to the others when authors do this".

On another note, while we do like our displays to be appreciated, we also like the props to remain for the duration (we want you to pick up the books). So if the person who removed my favourite slippers from the display could return them through the after hours book slot, my feet during winter will be grateful.

Have a good day everyone.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Wiiner of the Prize in Modern Letters announced

The biennial Prize in Modern Letters is designed to acknowledge and advance the work of emerging writers in New Zealand. The value of the Prize is $65,000. A panel of three judges convened by Professor Bill Manhire, Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, announced the winner on Saturday during the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

David Beach, from Wellington, was awarded the prize for his book of poems, Abandoned Novel.
"That a book of poems can win a $65,000 prize makes me feel as if I've stumbled into a parallel universe where poetry is considered important" Beach said.

Previous winners include Catherine Chidgey (2002), Glenn Colquhoun (2004), and Carl Shuker (2006).

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Celebrate the Irish in you

It St Patrick's Day on Monday. So take the opportunity to celebrate all things Irish, wear a little green and tell a little blarney this weekend with all the activities happening around Auckland for the Festival.

The St Patrick's Day website is a great place to check out for what is happening in the region so head along to something near you. Even if you aren't lucky enough to have a touch of the Irish about you, we are one nationality that knows how to make people feel welcome (he he ... and I can actually claim some of that heritage).

Friday, 14 March 2008

Rodney Writes - last day to get your entry in

Today is the last day for entires into the "Rodney Writes" Writing competition. This year the theme was for stories to be based on a well known New Zealand word or phrase. There are some fabulous titles submitted. I'm sure the judges are going to have a great time reading them all.

The winners will be announced at the awards evening on 23 April at Whangaparaoa Library.

The stories from last year have been collected into a booklet which is available from your local library.

"Rodney writes writing competition : that was then, this is now : competition successes 2007"

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Better Late than Never

Here at Rodney Libraries, our job is to keep the books (and other items) on the shelves and circulating so that as many people as possible have the opportunity to have a look at them and/or borrow them when they want. That's why we encourage our customers to bring their books back on time.

We check in overdue library books all the time, but we have yet to get anywhere near the 100 years overdue book that was returned to a Finnish Library recently. This article caught my eye yesterday.

"An unknown visitor to the library in Vantaa, near the capital Helsinki, has returned a book printed in 1902. A label inside it indicated it was loaned at the beginning of the last century, the Korso library said... The book was a 400-page collection of religious monthly periodicals called Vartija (Guardian). The library said the visitor wanted to remain unknown to avoid the late-return fee which, according to a note attached to the book, would have been 10 pennies a week. "There is also another possibility. Maybe the book was so dull that it took 100 years to read it," Rantala said. "

For the full story check the Trend News Site

In the meantime, we too stand by the Better late than Never option for returning your library books. Remember books (including the audio books) are issued for four weeks, magazines and music can be borrowed for two weeks and the DVD's, computer games, and Express Select collections are all available for one week.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

The Facts of Lives

"Get up to date on the Facts of Lives"
This is the catch phrase for another one of the free resources you can access using your Rodney Library Card via our website and the e-resources link.

The Biography Resource Centre currently has more than 435,000 biographies on more than 340,000 individuals from around the world, throughout history and across all sorts of disciplines and subject areas. Each year more than 75,000 new or updated biographies are added. Articles are added daily and bio's are updated regularly (births, deaths, marriages, world events, etc).

Searches can be done by name, ethnicity, gender, occupation and birth/death place or year. While it is an American site, it certainly has an international flavour.

Do you remember how to access the e-resources? You just need to go to our Rodney Libraries website, click on the e-resources link and use your library card barcode and your PIN number and a whole world of people opens up to you.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

New books flooding in

A week away and the word "flood" sprung to mind early last week when my summer holidays looked like a washout but things improved towards the end, so it was a good break. Even went down to Ellerslie on Wednesday to people and horse watch at the Auckland Cup Carnival (my pick Prize Lady won but did not make me rich).

Back to the books. Some interesting titles are beckoning. I haven't got time to read them all at once so there's are chance for the rest of you. These are a couple that have caught my eye.

There have been plenty of books written about the aspiring actor in America but this is a slightly different take. 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo follows the life of Fenfang, a film extra in Beijing. As she says herself "So, I was the 6,787th person in Beijing wanting a role in the film and TV industry... but compared with 1.5 billion people in China, 6,786 wasn't such a daunting number." Xiaolu Guo was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for her previous novel.

The book sleeve of My Bass and other Animals says "Guy Pratt came of age just as playing bass became sexy... At a ludicrously young age he became a bass player to the stars". He worked with Madonna, Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Pink Floyd (among many otheres). This book charts his journey through studios, bars and stadiums.
Friday Nights is the latest offering of one of my favourites Joanna Trollope, so it might be the one I take home. I love the relationships she builts between the characters. In this case they include Eleanor (a retired professional who walks with a stick), one wife, three mothers, three singletons and five working women who all value their Friday night gatherings. Of course when one of them meets a man, something has to give.

If you get to any of these books before me, let me know what you think. Or you could write your own review as a comment on our blog. We'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Orewa Library Easter Book Sale

Orewa Library will be holding an Easter Book sale in the sun room from the 19th March through to the 26th March. Books, magazines and videos for sale.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Native plants and the Natural Heritage fund

This weekend is shaping up to be a nice one for gardening. Unfortunately I'm not much of a gardener. I'm the person who wanders along paths admiring the new growth and calculating the amount of time and effort that has gone into a planted area. Gardeners tell me that the results outweigh the effort.

If you're planning to plant natives this planting season then Rodney District Council has a fund that may be able to help you with some of the costs towards this. It's called the Natural Heritage Fund. It seeks " support community initiatives to better manage, protect and enhance biodiversity and natural habitats. These initiatives are expected to have clear and enduring environmental benefits. The Fund is not intended to support natural heritage restoration or enhancement activities that will result in private or economic gain. The NHF will complement other Rodney District Council community grant initiatives and will not duplicate other incentives or the responsibilities of other organisations." You can read more from the "Natural Heritage Fund Information and Application Form" which is available as a pdf from the Council website.

Rodney District Council’s natural and coastal environment manager, Maximus Smitheram, says people can apply for funding for any project that protects and enhances the natural environment, but some will be given priority.

“Any project that protects, enhances or restores indigenous vegetation and wildlife habitats will be looked at very favourably, but priority will be given to practical environmental initiatives like fencing and native planting projects and those that involve voluntarily covenanting natural areas,” says Mr Smitheram.

The Natural Heritage Fund was established in December 2006. Applications for funding up to the value of $2000 will be considered by council officers and if approved, will be granted immediately. Applications for larger amounts (up to $5000) are also welcome, and if received by 11 April will be considered by councillors at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on 8 May. Applications submitted after this date will be considered in the next funding round.

The Natural Heritage Fund Information and Application Form booklet is available from Council offices, on request from 0800 426 5169 or on the Council's website.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

HOW TO: Rate items on the catalogue

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that American Gods had a five star rating on our catalogue. This is a rating from readers who obviously really liked the story. (Granted, there are only 5 ratings but still, that's a 100% success rate...)

Here's how to rate your favourites (or un-favourites).

Step 1: Login to "My info"

Step 2: Look the item up on the catalogue.

Step 3: Click the star to rate the item. Choose carefully - once you've rated it you can't change your mind and go back.

To find out how many people have rated an item hover your mouse over the stars. A label will pop up listing what the rating is and how many people have rated it.

Have fun!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Royal Commission on Auckland Governance

The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance has been established by the Government to investigate local and regional government arrangements for the Auckland region in the future. They are now calling for submissions on the issues.

You can find all the information on their website Royal Commission on Auckland Governance. A copy will also be available in the libraries later this week.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

NZ Post Children's Finalists

The New Zealand Post Childrens Book awards are one of the highlights for Kiwi authors, illustrators and publishers. The finalists for 2008 have been announced and they are....(drum roll please)....

Picture Book
The King’s Bubbles by Ruth Paul (Scholastic New Zealand)
Out of the Egg, written and illustrated by Tina Matthews (Walker Books)
Rats! Written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Random House New Zealand)
Tahi – One Lucky Kiwi by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly (Random House New Zealand)
To the Harbour, written and illustrated by Stanley Palmer (Lopdell House Gallery)

Non Fiction
A Mini Guide to the Identification of New Zealand Land Birds by Andrew Crowe, illustrated by Dave Gunson (Penguin New Zealand)
Reaching the Summit by Alexa Johnston with David Larsen (Penguin New Zealand)
Weather Watch New Zealand by Sandra Carrod, illustrated by Karsten Schneider and Richard Gunther (Reed New Zealand)
What is a Fish? By Feana Tu’akoi, designed by Vasanti Unka (Scholastic New Zealand)
Which New Zealand Spider? By Andrew Crowe (Penguin New Zealand)

Junior Fiction
Dead Dan’s Dee by Phyllis Johnston (Longacre Press)
The Dumpster Saga by Craig Harrison (Scholastic New Zealand)
The Mad Tadpole Adventure by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Scholastic New Zealand)

My Story Sitting on the Fence: The Diary of Martin Daly, Christchurch 1981 by Bill Nagelkerke (Scholastic New Zealand)
Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Gecko Press)

Young Adult Fiction
Salt by Maurice Gee (Penguin New Zealand)
The Sea-wreck Stranger by Anna Mackenzie (Longacre Press)
Tomorrow All Will Be Beautiful by Brigid Lowry (Allen & Unwin)
The Transformation of Minna Hargreaves by Fleur Beale (Random House New Zealand)
Zillah by Penelope Todd (Longacre Press)

The finalists were selected from more than 130 children’s books published in New Zealand in 2007 and submitted for the awards. NZ Post support a range of activities during April including author visits to schools and libraries so look out to see if there is something happening near you. The winners are announced in April. Check out these books (and many more fabulous local authors) at your Rodney Library.

Monday, 3 March 2008

HOW TO: Get to the catalogue on dial-up internet

Are you on dial-up? Is it frustrating to watch the library catalogue load oh-so-slowly? There is another way!

'Airpac' was designed for use on your mobile phone. It's a stripped down, picture free version of the catalogue, perfect for slow load speeds or when you don't want to be connected for very long. This also makes it great for dial-up. You can do all the things that you'd do on the regular catalogue - search, reserve, check what you have out, renew items etc.

Here is the web address.