Friday, 29 May 2009

Queen's birthday weekend

A quick reminder that all Rodney Libraries will be open their regular Saturday hours tomorrow. They'll be closed on Sunday and Monday for Queen's birthday weekend.

Travel safe, stay warm.

Happy Birthday Bridge

Birthday congratulations today to the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The Bridge celebrates 50 years on Sunday 31st May and, as you would expect for a lady of her age, has undergone a couple of facelifts during her time, while still retaining her status as both a practical link across the Waitemata Harbour and as an icon for Auckland City since 1959.

As part of the celebrations for the Bridge's 50th anniversary, two books have been produced. The first Auckland Harbour Bridge: 50 years of a city icon (Renee Lang) traces the history of the bridge from an idea, through the planning and construction stages, and through other events such as the clip ons, the Auckland Marathon and the toll booths. The book uses words and pictures to relay details and is suitable for both adult and children.

The second book is a reissue of the children's picture book Guardian of the Bridge (Diana Harris) which relays the tale of a Taniwha who sleeps in the Waitemata Harbour.

I am old enough to remember the toll booths but not what life was like before the Bridge. There are whole generations who have knowledge of neither. Both these books will make interesting talking points for families.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

NZ Booksellers Choice Awards

Hot on the heels of winning the NZ Post Childrens Book Awards major prize, Kate de Goldi has made the shortlist for this year's Booksellers Choice Awards sponsored by Nielsen BookData. This award acknowledges the key role booksellers play in supporting New Zealand writing and publishing and booksellers are asked to vote for the book they have most enjoyed reading, selling and promoting. The award carries a prize of $NZ2500 for the winning author.

The 2009 shortlist is:
The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi, published by Longacre Press
Ladies, a Plate by Alexa Johnston, published by Penguin Books NZ
Nga Tama Toa: The Price of Citizenship by Monty Soutar, published by David Bateman
Rita Angus: An Artist's Life by Jill Trevelyan, published by Te Papa Press

The winner will be announced in Auckland on 26 July.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Poetry competition for Years 4 to 13

Rodney Libraries are running a competition for students in Years 4 to 13 encouraging them to submit a podcast of an original poem during June. The Montana Poetry Day Poetry Aloud competition is in celebration of Montana Poetry day - this year on July 24 2009.
The competition runs from 1 - 30 June. One talented poet will win an MP3 player.
The podcast poetry competition was first run by Rodney Libraries last year. Helensville poet Daniel Howe, the judge of last year’s competition says, “Poetry shouldn't stay on the page - it needs to be shared and read aloud."

To enter children just need to write their poem and record it. It should then be emailed to as an attachment.

Entries must include the following information:

- name of poet

- contact details

- the school and year they attend

- their library card number (if they have one)

Rodney Libraries now have free computers with internet access and a range of multimedia features which children can use to record their poems at the library. Library staff can also provide advice about how to do this.

Entries to the podcast competition will be posted online at the competition website at

For more information about Montana Poetry Day visit:

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Top 20 teen fiction titles issued in the past year

Here are the top 20 titles from the Teen fiction collection that were issued in the past year...

1. Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson
Twilight / Stephenie Meyer
Eclipse / Stephenie Meyer.
New moon / by Stephenie Meyer.
Breaking dawn / Stephenie Meyer.
All I want is everything / Cecily Von Ziegesar.
The dangerous days of Daniel X / James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge.
Mad dogs / Robert Muchamore.
The sleepwalker / Robert Muchamore.
The fall / Robert Muchamore.
Maximum security / Robert Muchamore.
Snakehead / Anthony Horowitz.
Man vs beast / Robert Muchamore.
The killing / Robert Muchamore.
The general / by Robert Muchamore.
Before I die / Jenny Downham.
Class A / Robert Muchamore.
Dark Sun / Robert Muchamore.
The recruit / Robert Muchamore.
Story of a girl : a novel / by Sara Zarr.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Anti-Graffiti Song writing competition

Rodney District Council is holding an Anti-Graffiti Song Writing Competition. To enter you just need to write a song with an anti graffiti message. For more information about this competition check out the Rodney Youth Bebo site at

Friday, 22 May 2009

And the winners are...

The winners of the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards were announced last night. They are:

Picture Book Winner - Roadworks by Sally Sutton & Brian Lovelock
Picture Book Honour Award - Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig by Diana Neild & Philip Webb

Junior Fiction Winner - Old Drumble by Jack Lasenby

Best First Book Award Winner - Violence 101 by Denis Wright

Non-fiction Winner- Back & Beyond: New Zealand Painting for the Young and Curious by Gregory O'Brien

Children's Choice Award - The Were-Nana by Melinda Szymanik & Sarah Nelisiwe Anderson

And the NEW ZEALAND POST BOOK OF THE YEAR 2009 is The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi .

Congratulations to everyone and look for these books at your local Rodney Library

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Read to Succeed launches next week

Rodney Libraries are celebrating Youth Week this year with the launch of a ‘Read to Succeed’ teen reading challenge. The programme is aimed at students in Years 9 to 13 who are challenged to read five books across a range of genres by the end of Term 3.

Successful entrants will qualify to go into a draw to win an iPOD and other prizes. The reading requirements will be based loosely on the school curriculum. This means that reading for the challenge can be used to satisfy curriculum requirements. The Challenge will be launched during Youth Week (23 - 31 May 2009) and will run throughout Term 2 and 3.

Entry forms can be obtained from Rodney Libraries. The form must be completed and signed by a parent, teacher or a librarian each time a book has been read. Once five books have been completed and signed off, the student should drop their entry form into the library. Students must read five books by the end of Term 3 to be eligible to enter the prize draw. Prize winners will be notified at the beginning of Term 4.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Phil Gifford at Orewa Library 28 May

Phil Gifford, award-winning broadcaster, sports journalist, presenter and rugby ‘best-selling’ author will be at the Orewa Library on 28 May from 2pm-3pm. $2 gold coin donation.

Phil's last book was the biography of Peter Leitch - "What a ride, mate! : the life and times of the Mad Butcher"
"Peter Leitch, aka the mad Butcher, is a legend in his own lifetime, a larger than life character who left school at 15 and went on to build a nationwide chain of successful butcher shops and a reputation as a foul mouthed league supporter with a heart of gold."

Ph. 426 8249 to book.

Sure to be entertaining!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Reading aloud

At the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival many of the featured authors read from their work. Some were obviously practiced performers. Others read engagingly with the occasional stumble over their words. Lloyd Jones said that he often read his drafts out loud as that was the ultimate test to see whether it flowed. It made me think about the pleasure of being read to and how as adults the closest we get to this is listening to a CD or podcast on our way to work.

Coincidentally author Neil Gaiman loves to read aloud and he posted this link to a New York Times editorial - Some Thoughts on the Lost Art of Reading Aloud. Verlyn Klinkenborg writes "To read with your lungs and diaphragm, with your tongue and lips, is very different than reading with your eyes alone. The words are not mere words. They are the breath and mind, perhaps even the soul, of the person who is reading. " This is a very romantic view of reading incorporating both the reader and the read-to.

In my experience reading aloud forces me to slow down and concentrate on the phrases. Sometimes I'll read out loud a particular paragraph or sentence just to see how it feels. Does anyone else do this and does it matter that there isn't anyone to hear me?

Monday, 18 May 2009

Commonwealth Writers Prize winners 2009

Congratulations to Christos Tsiolkas for winning Best Book and Mohammed Hanif for winning Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers Prize. The prizes were awarded at a ceremony during the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival.

I was lucky to get a seat at the session where Christos read from his book "The Slap." He chose to read a piece where the mother of the slapped child is phoning her mother to wish her happy birthday. The audience was very quiet, hanging off every word. The judges comment "A controversial and daring novel, The Slap uses the iconic scene of a suburban Australian barbecue to examine identities and personal relationships in a multicultural society. Offering points of view from eight different characters, it taps into universal tensions and dilemmas around family life and child-rearing. This book is sure to challenge readers and provoke debate."

I didn't make it to the session where the First Book authors were reading from their pieces. However I did sit next to someone who had heard them and she was fairly confident that Mohammed would win. The judges said that "A case of exploding mangoes" was "A tour de force, this fast-paced political intrigue merges fact and fiction to provide a startling interrogation of dictatorship, religious fundamentalism and abuse of power. A trenchant satire, tender and funny, it will long live on in readers' minds"

Friday, 15 May 2009

Are you Reading Half an Hour a Day?

How are all you Rodney Children doing on Mayor Penny's Reading Challenge. Are you all still reading half an hour a day? If you are stuck for an idea, you can always come into your local Rodney library and ask one of the librarians for some ideas. It doesn't have to be a book - it could be a magazine. That counts.

Mayor Penny has been busy visiting Schools around the area. Here are a couple of photos of her, first out at Tauhoa School at the beginning of the term, and earlier this week at Dairy Flat Primary School. She has been telling everyone how she enjoyed reading as a child. Here is her full Message to the children taking part in the 2009 Challenge.
"As a kid I thought nothing of readnig whenever I had a chance. Even at night ni bed I would lie half out of bed to read from the light in the hall. Books were a means of escape to amazing places, I could search through for treasure on an Island, fly a plan, slay monsters, all sorts of things. My mind could make up scenes in my head. it was just great fun. Imagination is pwoerful, use of words are powerful. Reading expands these. Keep reading and the world is yours."
And how about all those mums and dads and grandparents out there joining Rodney children and you too can start a new habit .

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Jane Gifford is Returning Home

Come along to Warkworth on Saturday 16 May and watch the Jane Gifford and a flotilla of classic and historic craft travel the Mahurangi River to her new berth at Warkworth Wharf.

The Jane Gifford, a 101 year-old sailing scow, has been meticulously and magically restored. She is one of the few remaining seaworthy scows in New Zealand waters. Built in Whangateau in the early 1900s she spent most of her working life moving building materials from Thames up to Mahurangi. Part of her story is told in "Logan Campbell's Auckland : tales from the early years" by R. C. J. Stone.

Lovingly restored, her future purpose will be "... as a passenger-carrying sailing vessel for tourism, youth training, weddings, special events, a flag ship for future Mahurangi Regattas, trips down the Mahurangi River and on the Hauraki Gulf. " The Jane Gifford Society has a nice website with information about her story and the restoration project.

There will be music, entertainment, wine and food, children’s activities, a Warkworth Business Association Nautical Market Day and lots more. It will be quite a sight and an enduring gift for Rodney. This is an incredible project - congratulations to all the people who've supported it.

Saturday 16 May 2009 f
rom 10.45 a.m at the Warkworth Town Wharf
For more information contact Dave Parker, 0-9 452 5006 or

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The Best Little Library's Big Book Sale

I've always had a soft spot for small libraries and especially the historic Puhoi Library on the banks of the River (being half Bohemian I don't really have a choice).
It's not just me that thinks it's one of New Zealand's favourite little libraries. It graces the cover of Small Libraries of New Zealand by Margaret Jenner and occupies the building built in 1913 for the Roads Board. It became a library in 1923 but faced almost immediate disaster in 1924 when a huge flood hit Puhoi rising to 7ft of water inside the building (there used to be marks on the side of the building indicating how high flood waters over the years have reached). Of course the water and residual silt destroyed the majority of the collection but sporadically over the years, the library has still operated.

This coming Saturday (16th May) between 8am and 4pm all Book Worms and Bargain Hunters are invited to The Historic Puhoi Library Grand Book Sale. Donations of books for sale will also still be welcomed. For further details email

Monday, 11 May 2009

"On top of everything" by Sarah-Kate Lynch

Okay, so not EVERY ticket I have to the Auckland Writers Readers Festival is for random authors who's titles I've never read. Sarah-Kate Lynch is on the bill with Nicky Pellegrino. They're going to be speaking about "Love, Food, Wine and Travel".

Ms Lynch is one of my favourite authors. I love the stories and characters that she breathes life into. I also like the fact that food that plays an important role in all her books. Her latest title "On top of everything" is about a woman coping with the horrible things that are happening in her life. It's also about tea, truffles and the importance of shared food experiences. Her previous books have covered cheese, champagne, bread, pasta and love, always love.

Ms Pellegrino is a new author to me. I read her book "The Gypsy Tearoom" a couple of weeks ago. I think I'll be waiting for her latest "The Italian wedding" for a while as there are a bunch of reserves on it. Bookman Beattie enjoyed it which is a good sign. He says "I enjoyed The Italian Wedding very much although have to say that even though it is just a four pages short of 300 pages in length, about the average size novel, I wished it had been longer." High praise indeed.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Sonic Museum

Auckland War Memorial Museum has just completed an interesting new project, the results of which are launching in NZ Music Month. They have commissioned some of the biggest names in New Zealand music to work on a ground-breaking project called Sonic Museum. Musicians and sound artists from the dance, rock, ambient, orchestral and jazz scenes have been invited to write and record a track inspired by a gallery of their choice in the museum.

Museum Director Dr Vanda Vitali says “This exciting project highlights the way in which our thoughts, feelings and sensations are constantly reorganised by new experiences. On the one hand the music allows us to consider how others can be inspired by galleries in the Museum. At the same time the tracks develop our own experience of the displays, encouraging a new awareness of the collections, of ourselves, and of the world in which we live.”

Artists and the reinterpreted galleries are:
- Tiki Taane, Maori Court
- Don McGlashan, Origins Gallery
- Nathan Haines, Oceans Gallery
- Phil Dadson, Ancient Worlds
- Chris Adams, World War 1 Sanctuary
- Rachel Shearer, Volcanoes
- Richard Francis, Land Gallery
- Rosy Parlane, World War 2 Hall of Memories
- Tim Coster, Landmarks: International Design and Decorative Arts

Sonic Museum

From Thursday, 7 May at the Auckland War Memorial Museum
Only $10 to hire headphones or to download all tracks from Amplifier NZ Music

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The New Green Frog on the Block

There is a new green frog on the block. Kermit is still the man (or should that be amphibian) but the latest model is the star of HRH The Prince of Wales' YouTube promotion to Save the Amazon Rainforests.

Together with a host of celebrities the Argentian Horned Frog fronts this new campaign to stop deforestation in the Amazon area. You can view the film clip and find out more about the campaign at the website

To find out about the Amazon Rainforest you can also head along to your local Rodney Library. By doing a subject search for Rain Forests you can find all the different subject headings for this topic and by clicking on any of them you can find the books, which library has them and if they are on the shelf at the moment. Then it is just a simple click to request it (using your library card) or you can head striaght in to pick it up. There are books for both adults and children. Deforestation and Forest Conservation are two other subject headings which will provide you with some information.

Fragile Earth is one book on our shelves that covers both forest conservation and the much broader subject of both nature and human impact on our limited resources. It is a very well produced book and well worth a look.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Rodney Writes - winning stories online

As promised the winning stories from Rodney Writes are online. Congratulations to all the winners.

"The household guide to dying" by Debra Adelaide

"The household guide to dying : a novel" by Debra Adelaide.

Debra Adelaide is another one of the authors appearing at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival that I have a ticket for but haven't read. Apparently she has written several books although "The household guide to dying" is the only title of hers that Rodney Libraries holds. If the others are anything like this I will be seeking them out (maybe taking advantage of the reciprocal lending arrangement Rodney has with North Shore and Waitakere Libraries...)

The book is written by Delia. She is a mum, a wife, the author of several 'how-to' books celebrating the 'household arts'... and she is dying. The story charts her coming to terms with her past and planning the future for her children. She writes lists planning her daughters' far-off weddings. She writes her column. She plans a raid on the neighbours garden. She encourages her husband to think about a new partner after she is dead. (That doesn't go so well.)

A wonderful story about a difficult topic. Warm, funny, ultimately uplifting.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Booksellers Favourites

Bestsellers for the week ending 25 APRIL 2009. Anzac makes some impact in the NZ Non-fiction and Childrens & Teens NZ categories, while it was easy to see that the approach of the cold weather is getting everyone to dust off their crock-pots and slow cookers as well. The international categories reveal all the usual suspects with their latest (or most topical) titles.

NZ Fiction – Adults
1 Isle of Tears, Deborah Challinor
2 The Bone Tiki, David Hair
3 Mister Pip, Lloyd Jones
4 The 10pm Question, Kate De Goldi
5 Limestone, Fiona Farrell

NZ Non-fiction – Adults
1 Walking in Light, Kelvin Cruickshank
2 Fernleaf Cairo: New Zealanders at Maadi Camp, Alex Hedley & Megan Hutching
3 100 Ways to Use Slow Cookers and Crockpots, Alison Holst & Simon Holst
4 Edmonds Cookery Centenary Edition
5 Sins of the Father: The Long Shadow of a Religious Cult, Fleur Beale

International Fiction – Adults (excluding NZ)
1 Gone Tomorrow, Lee Child
2 Assegai, Wilbur Smith
3 Handle with Care, Jodi Picoult
4 The Best of Times, Penny Vincenzi
5 Long Lost, Harlan Coben

International Non-fiction – Adults (excluding NZ)
1 Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything, Elizabeth Gilbert
2 A Lion Called Christian, Anthony Bourke & John Rendall
3 Always Looking Up, Michael J. Fox
4 Jamie's Ministry of Food, Jamie Oliver
5 Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama

Children and Teens – International (excluding NZ)
Once again the name Stephenie Meyer with her "Twilight" series dominates this list.

Children and Teens – New Zealand
1 Awesome Aotearoa: A Kids' History of New Zealand, Margaret Mahy
2 Willie Apiata, VC: The Reluctant Hero, Paul Little & John Lockyer
3 Wearing the Poppy, A. J. Toledo
4 Perky the Pukeko, Michelle Osment
5 Old Drumble: The Smartest Drover's Dog There Ever Was, Jack Lasenby

Monday, 4 May 2009

International Children's Book Awards

The 2009 CILIP Carnegie & Greenaway Medal Shortlists have been announced. These medals are awarded annually by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. The winners will be announced on Thursday 25 June.

The CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2009 (fiction)
Frank Cottrell Boyce – Cosmic
Kevin Brooks – Black Rabbit Summer
Eoin Colfer – Airman
Siobhan Dowd – Bog Child
Keith Gray – Ostrich Boys
Patrick Ness – The Knife of Never Letting Go
Kate Thompson – Creature of the Night

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Shortlist 2009 (picturebook)
Angela Barrett (text by Paul Gallico) – The Snow Goose
Marc Craste (text by Helen Ward) – Varmints
Thomas Docherty – Little Boat
Bob Graham – How to Heal a Broken Wing
Oliver Jeffers – The Way Back Home
Dave McKean (text by David Almond) – The Savage
Catherine Rayner – Harris Finds His Feet
Chris Wormell – Molly and the Night Monster

Check out these titles and choose your favourite at your local library.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Celebrate Kiwi Music

New Zealand Music Month 2009 kicks off today and Rodney Libraries are celebrating all our talented Kiwi musicians by promoting our New Zealand music collection.

The Official NZ Music Month website has lots of news, reviews, photos and details of where to find your favourite artist (or check out a new one) during May.

There are a lot of different ways to find what CD's we have in our collection. One of the best ways to find our Kiwi music is to do a subject search for Musicians - New Zealand.

And while you are listening to the music, you can also check out lyrics and the stories behind some of the songs with our non-fiction book collection. You can find most things to do with music under Dewey Decimal (or Call) number 780 - 789.

Watch this space for more NZ Music Month information as we get further into May.