Friday, 30 September 2011

Top 5 for Friday - Go the Warriors

There can be only one topic on the Top 5 today and although it involves an oval ball, it does not centre around the world tournament currently taking place in New Zealand. Today's Top 5 is in celebration of the New Zealand Vodafone Warriors taking on the Manly Sea Eagles in the NRL Grand Final on Sunday. To top it off, the curtain raiser is between the Vodafone Junior Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys, as well as the NSW Cup Grand Final between the Auckland Vulcans and the Canterbury Bulldogs. So here are a sprinkling to get you in the modd for Sunday.

  1. Warrior nation : a celebration of 15 years of the Warriors / John Matheson. Going back to where it all began and tracing the highs (and lows) in the history of the Warriors. Original interviews, along with accounts from former players, coaches and CEOs, make Warrior nation a compelling read for any New Zealand sports fan as the fortunes of the club's 15-year history are spun together for the first time." -- Front flap.

  2. The mighty Warriors [DVD videorecording] : [New Zealand's sporting heroes]. if you prefer your history visual, check this out. The Warriors hold the unique position of being the only NRL club to represent an entire country. The Warriors are recognised as future Premier contenders by everyone who sees them play. A profile of this powerhouse League performer, and players past and present, whose massive strength on the field contribute to the bone-crunching mix called the mighty Warriors! - catalogue summary. I particular like the bit about being "future Premier contenders".

  3. The Players. When it came to picking a biography of one of the current or past Warriors (or any Kiwi league hero), I just couldn't do it. There are just too many quality bio's out there. In no particular order, here are a few I have either read or considered in the past. Tawerau Nikau (inspirational), Steve Price (leader), Stacey Jones (sparkling), Dean Bell, Ruben Wiki, Monty Betham....

  4. The Kiwis : 100 years of international rugby league / John Coffey and Bernie Wood. Anecdotes, history, photographs, statistics. It's all here in one volume.

  5. What a ride, mate! : the life and times of the Mad Butcher / Peter Leitch with Phil Gifford. Pride of place in today's Top 5 has to go to Sir Peter Leitch. 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. They broke the mould after they made this one.

Go the Warriors - Keep the Faith!!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

All things New

I was having a wander around the Auckland Libraries website on Monday and found something NEW. That's brand new, fresh and extra helpful.

There is a new addition to the New and Recommended option on our top toolbar. Click on "New Titles" and a whole new world of the most recent additions to the library collection opens up before you.

Browse our new titles lists which includes books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, downloadable books and more. It is updated monthly, which should give you enough time to read the ones you ordered last month. There is also an option to print out some of the lists (perhaps your school library could do this for you).

We also offer a number of RSS feeds for new titles.
RSS for all new titles: Please see a daily feed of the latest Auckland Libraries titles to hit the library catalogue.
RSS for new titles by category: Please see an alternative selection of new titles lists updated daily, weekly, monthly or bi-monthly. Each comes with an RSS feed.
(Note: Although these lists are on the former Auckland City Libraries website, they contain titles from across the Auckland region.)

So far I have ordered two fiction, two graphic novels and one music CD. It is a wonderfully dangerous addition to our website. Check it out today.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Saving Daylight

First up let me say, I am a BIG fan of daylight saving. I look forward to those lovely long summer evenings filled with family and friends and relaxing in the outdoors rather than snuggled under a blanket watching the All Blacks beat France on a cold spring night (although that has it's attraction).

What I detest is the first week (or so) of the change. I can (almost) cope with changing all the different electronic appliances in my house over to the new time. The time piece I have the most trouble with is my own body clock. Crawling out of bed this morning was just a little harder than normal. I just have to keep telling myself that it will get better if I persevere.

Just for fun I did a keyword search for Daylight Saving in the library catalogue. It's amazing what it turned up.

Seize the daylight: the curious and contentious story of daylight saving time / David Prerau. The author weaves a tale of science, history, and politics - a story grand enough to involve luminaries such as Ben Franklin, Winston Churchill, and FDR, but personal enough to revolve around railroad conductors and schoolchildren waiting at bus stops on dark mornings - all about the simple act of setting the clock forward an hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall (publisher's summary).

Saving the daylight : why we put the clocks forward / David Prerau. The same author gives us another title. For several months every year, for better or worse, daylight saving time affects billions of people throughout the world. Every spring, the clocks go forward, and every autumn they go back. And for centuries this has been the subject of recurring controversy. Saving the Daylight explores for the first time the contentious and surprisingly entertaining story of this deceptively simple atempt to regulate the sunlight hours

And if that is all too profound for you, the other thing that turned up when I did the search was Brooke Fraser's album What to do with daylight which is much more my scene.

Have a great day all.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Top 5 for Friday - Women Stand Up.

Earlier this week, New Zealand celebrated the 118 years of women having the vote. In 1893 New Zealand was the first country in the world where women won the right to vote in national elections. The suffrage movement was this country’s first truly mass movement – mobilising tens of thousands of New Zealanders with rallies and a series of massive petitions.
The petition was signed by nearly 32,000 New Zealanders. Nearly 24,000 of those signatures have survived on the copy of the petition presented to Parliament. (Ministry of Women's Affairs).

Far be it from me to ignore such a historic event. For today's Top 5 for Friday, here are a selection of books on not just the suffrage movement in New Zealand, but also the place of women in helping to shape our country.

  1. Standing in the Sunshine (Sandra Coney). Published to celebrate the centennary of woman achieving the vote in New Zealand, this is my absolute top pick of books if you want to read about the history of our country from a female perspective. This illustrated social history is extremely readable, able to be picked up and put down with short sections and explores all aspects of women's lives from 1893 to 1993, turning up new and unexpected moments in New Zealand women's history. In addition, the Sir George Grey Special Collection at Auckland Central Library holds some of the research notes from the publication. Highly recommended.

  2. Kate Sheppard is one of the iconic figures in New Zealand suffrage and Auckland Libraries have a selection of biographies highlighting her life.

  3. The Suffrage Trail The description of this book calls it a "Guide to... memorials of our Suffrage Centennial Year- the gardens, the parks, the trees, works of art, sculptures, hangings, murals, paintings, plaques and buildings". In one volume a biography, inventory and travel guide celebrating the women of Aotearoa.

  4. Be counted : the diary of Amy Phelps, Dunedin, 1893 (Janine McVeagh). If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I am a fan of the "My story" series of children's fiction. So it will be no surprise that this turns up on a Top 5 list. Thirteen year old Amy goes to live with her aunt and uncle in Dunedin to be educated. Amy is an aspiring artist and has the opportunity to meet the acclaimed woman artist Frances Hodgkins. In big city Dunedin, Amy finds herself involved with the darker side of life through her friend Mary, who works in a sweatshop then goes missing. Amy also observes her aunt's involvement with the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and the struggle to get women the vote. Another great introduction to an episode from our history for junior readers.

  5. Her Story: Women shaping New Zealand History A compilation of the highlights of past issues of the New Zealand Memories magazine.

Celebrations for the anniversary will be held throughout the country. Specifically in our area, Libraries in Waiuku, Whangaparaoa and Warkworth will be hosting displays (assisted by the Ministry of Women's Affairs). Or you can make use of our free Wifi or computer services to check the original petition online to see if there is a family connection. Find out more on these websites

+ Search the petition online at to see if a relative was a suffragist.

+ Join us on facebook

Have a great weekend everyone. Go the All Blacks.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Comics Galore

We are over halfway through Comic book month and I have seen plenty of superhero librarians out there around Auckland (including some with wonderfully graphic tights). So it seems only fair to share some of my favourites.

Some of these are new favourites following sitting in on some book recommendations. Some of these are old favourites. I grew up with comics. I was never really into Archie & Co and only discovered Asterix and Tin Tin later. However my brothers' collection of western and war comics were thumbed just as enthusiastically by me as they were by the male members of the family. Weekly subscriptions to Tammy and Jinty magazines gave me a rose-coloured view of English comics before I delved into the super hero phase. That's my background in comics.

Green Lantern was my favourite super hero. I'm not even sure why that was (unless it had something to do with his eternal patience with the carping of Green Arrow). I still love the comics, especially when he joins his colleagues from the Justice League of America. I have withheld judgement on the movie.

Wolverine is my favourite X-man (everyone loves a Bad Boy). I came to the Xmen later than most but they would probably rank as one of my favourite super-hero groups.

The Fables have been called "probably the smartest mainstream comic going" (Publisher's Weekly). Imagine a group of storybook characters (both good and evil... and some a bit of both) are living around the corner from you. They are Legends in Exile which is the title of the first collection of tales available at Auckland Libraries. All your favourites are here (Bluebeard, Little Boy Blue, Rose Red and the Big Bad Wolf). They fight wars, make up, solve crimes, have families and much, much more. Not scared to kill off your favourite characters, there is always a twist in the tale of this wonderful series.

The Action Bible was recommended by Mack (and several others) at a recent Teens meeting in Manukau. I am so pleased I followed through and requested it. Yes, it's the Bible in graphic novel form, but this is not a dumbed down version. All the stories are here, from both the Old and the New Testament. It's fast paced and contemporary but still portrays the spirit of the Bible. There's even a website which invites you in to meet "the original action heroes".

Monday, 19 September 2011

Celebrate our past

The Auckland Heritage Festival has begun. This runs for a fortnight, from 17 September to 5 October. Auckland Libraries is celebrating the region's rich and diverse past during Auckland Heritage Festival 2011. Here are just some of an exciting range of events, walks and talks in our libraries.

Auckland Central – includes:
various dates: Symonds Street cemetery talks
various dates: heritage walks through Avondale, Remuera and Auckland's early Chinatown
19 Sep: A hot time in the old town with author and TV host, Lindsey Dawson – make a booking now!
21 Sep: 'How to be a property detective' talk by local historian Lisa Truttman
21 Sep: Afrikaner Progenitors family history talk
23-24 Sep: Karen Kalopulu family history 12-hour lock-in – make a booking now!
Auckland Akarana 'The wonderful isthmus' exhibition – a wealth of visual material within our heritage and photographic collections (until 12 November)

Manukau – Heritage walk through Howick with Alan La Roche

Waitakere – 'Locals at play' heritage rugby photography display (until 31 October)

North Shore – including 'A hot time in the old town' with author and TV host, Lindsey Dawson

Pukekohe – See a 1925 Type 35A Bugatti, owned by Ron Roycroft and famously raced by him through the 1950s with a Jaguar XK 150 engine.

For the full list of events go to the Auckland Heritage Festival page on our Libraries website or go to the Auckland Council events website.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Top 5 for Friday - This Girl's Guide to Yelling at the TV during the Rugby

I admit it. People around the neighbourhood will probably always know when I am at home and watching a really exciting game of rugby (or netball, or league, or....). A certain amount of shouting goes on and even my poor cats now know that lying on my lap during a game in progress will not get them a relaxing sleep.

As a netball umpire, I will also be the first to admit that it is far easier to umpire (or ref as we are talking rugby) a game from the comfort of your own lounge. However, that doesn't stop me becoming extremely vocal if I think things are going wrong. And I do have quite a few years as a rugby supporter under my belt to back me up. I think I once won a bet in a pub when I named the 1978 Grand Slam All Blacks faster than a certain member of the male gender (remember that was the year when Andy Haden fell... I mean was pushed out of the lineout in Cardiff). So I think I have the right to yell the odd thing at the TV during a game.

To help less experienced readers of this blog, here are a few ideas of books you can pick up at the Library so that you can hold a conversation during a game, get involved in the passion and stamp your feet in the grandstand at the right moments.

  1. Rugby Speak: The essential Kiwi guide (Justin Brown). With the help of this book you will be able to yell instructions with the best of them. "Drive", "Support" and "hospital pass" will all be explained, as well as "Smash em" in several different languages.

  2. Having a Ball: A cartoon history of New Zealand rugby (Ian F. Grant). This small volume looks at the All Blacks triumphs and disasters. From our award winning cartoonists the entries are funny, perceptive and often too close to the truth in a way that only these commentators can manage.

  3. Four More Years (Graham Hutchins). Rugby World Cup trivia gathered just in time for the latest instalment. Great for the quiz buffs, and like the first entries, easy to pick up and put down.

  4. All Blacks Don't Cry (John Kirwan). It's the Japan vs All Blacks game tonight so it is appropriate to include this book by one of our best ever wingers, who is now the coach of the Brave Blossoms (that's the Japanese rugby team). This is not strictly a rugby book but a story of the player's battle with depression and some tips on how he fought it. His earlier autobiography Running on Instinct also touches on this battle but goes into much more detail about his rugby career.

  5. The All Blackography: the indispensible guide to every All Black (Ron Palenski editor). From Ali Williams to Zinzan Brooke and everyone inbetween who has worn the Black jersey. Whether it was one game or many, they are all in here from the very beginnings of All Black history.

If you want to hunt out more on All Black history, try a subject search for All Blacks

If you are looking for a biography on a certain player it gets a little more difficult. Try Rugby Union Football Players and then choose your country.

Personally this weekend, I am looking for wins by the All Blacks (of course) and my second team Samoa over Wales. It would be great if Ireland could get up over Australia and I don't think they will be lacking support in the stands - that will be a great game. Have a great and safe weekend everyone.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Bonus Top 5

To make up for my lack of blogging last week, here is a Bonus Top 5 for the day before Friday. This comes to us courtesy of Annie, one of my colleagues in Auckland Central and features a collection of books she ordered and read, that she wouldn't have known about if it hadn't been for our suite of Library Blogs. It's short and sweet. H . e . r . e . ' s .. .. Annie

A top 5 list of books I *had* to request after exploring the Top 5 / Rodney blogs AND/OR compiling Top 5 lists… You know what it's like - you look at one book on the catalogue, which leads you to another title, then another, then… you end up with an exploding request list. These are the top 5 books I ended up requesting after exploring the Top 5 goodies and Rodney blogs, and/or working on top 5 lists for them:

Crap lyrics: a celebration of all the very worst pop lyrics of all time-- ever! by Johnny Sharp.
Tosca sold me on this one. Thanks mate.

A house is a house for me by Mary Ann Hoberman.
Thanks Danielle for the heads-up!

The science of Sherlock Holmes from Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the real forensics behind the great detective's greatest cases by E.J. Wagner.
Science and Sherlock Holmes. Double win.

Peter Pan's first XI: the extraordinary story of J.M. Barrie's cricket team by Kevin Telfer.
I hadn't read this one, so thanks for the mention, Fiona! I'm glad you enjoyed Penguins stopped play.

Vampire forensics: uncovering the origins of an enduring legend by Mark Collins Jenkins.
I'm sure this one is self-explanatory.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

New awareness

I am in the middle of a tertiary paper on different cultures in New Zealand, which I am finding both frustrating (because of some of the abstract theories) and enthralling. While on one level I thought I appreciated the depth of diversity in New Zealand, it has become more and more apparent that how lacking my knowledge was in the history of our countries makeup.

I have just completed an assignment based on the history of the Chinese in New Zealand and have been appalled at some of what I read. The level of prejudice against the Chinese went to the very highest level of Government (Prime Minister Richard Seddon) and no ethnicity appears to have been legislated against to the extent of the Chinese.

As well as researching through Auckland Libraries non-fiction shelves for material on the Chinese experience in New Zealand and watching documentaries, I also read some fiction based on the Chinese experience in Aotearoa.

Chinatown Girl (Eva Wong Ng) is part of the My Story series of children's fiction. Each is written in diary form and has a voice that the readers can relate to. Silvey Chan is a 12 year Auckland girl. New Zealand is at war but more important to Silvey is the news that her school is closing and she will have to adjust to a new school, new teachers and new children. Then the American soldiers descent on Auckland, including the Chinese-Americans and there is much more for Silvey to think about.

As the Earth turns Silver (Alison Wong) is the story of families, forbidden love and the clash of different cultures and loyalties. It is predominantly set in Wellington from the turn of the century to the 1920's but also travels to China, Dunedin and briefly to the war on the Western Front. Beautifully written to evoke emotion, with language on the one hand simple, but on the other filled with complex meaning. Fictional and real-life personalities blend in this worthy winner of the Janet Frame Fiction award.

Reading makes you think. Reading brings you to new understandings, awareness and appreciation. That's one of the reasons I love reading.

Monday, 12 September 2011

What a week

Bad blogger - Bad bad blogger. The fact that I have the voice of a frog and a broken finger is no excuse for the distinct lack of blogging last week... BUT what a week it was! Fantastic weather and fireworks. Lots of visitors to Aotearoa. Wonderful sport (no walkovers) but bad traffic. And the tenth anniversary or 9/11 to bring a more sombre note to the weekend.

Rugby World Cup Events. Check out this page on our libraries website for displays and event information during the Wolrd Cup.

Auckland Libraries. For all those visitors to Auckland (and some of the locals), why not check out what's on offer at the library. From free wifi and community spaces, to some wonderful exhibitions and displays of books and other items held by the library. There are over 50 locations araound Auckland that you can find us.

Auckland Council website. For more information on services and attractions around Auckland, check out the Council website.

I heard a young boy on talkback last night asking why we called it the 10th "anniversary" of 9/11 as to him anniversary was a celebratory word and it felt wrong. He had a point but I can't think of how else to put it. We mourn the dead and the death of innocence that day, but at the same time we do celebrate something - the bravery of those who worked to save and rescue, and those who were left behind.

Ka kite.

Monday, 5 September 2011

New Children's Fiction by Kiwi Author

Award winning Kiwi Author Brian Falkner recently released a delightful new Children's Fiction title (with illustrations from Donovan Bixley)

Northwood is a whimsical fantasy tale with hints of humour in the Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett vein of writing. The young heroine is Cecilia Undergarment, which is acknowledged in Chapter One as being a "slightly odd name" but is otherwise perfectly normal, except that she can talk to animals. Her family live in an extraordinary house (Mr Undergarment owns a balloon factory) in a small town with the a vista over the lake and Mr Jingle's Wild West Show and African Safari Park to the "mist-shrouded forest, and black-capped mountains of Northwood". No one who enters Northwood forest ever returns.

This is the setting for Cecilia's adventure. Along the way she rescues a neglected dog, which unfortunately leads her to Northwood where ferocious black lions roam. There are secrets in Northwood and Cecilia sets out to uncover them. It is a fabulous tale which the author readily admits "It depends on whether what I am telling you is true, or just a big fat farty fib".

This is a book which I think will quickly make it onto the read aloud lists for many classrooms around the country. It's setting is universal and I think it will also be taken up around the world. Its the sort of book I can easily picture as a movie (but that is probably thinking too far ahead). Highly recommended.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Top 5 for Friday - September is...

It's September! Winter is over and it's time to celebrate in a BIG way as the world comes to New Zealand. Today's Top 5 concentrates on some of the things that are happening in the world of Libraries and the big city of Auckland during September.

  1. Blue September. This comes first because this one is personal. Blue September is encouraging us to face up to Prostate Cancer. Here's what the website says. Why blue? It's simple - blue is for boys! Did you know men are twice as likely as women to die from cancers that in many cases can be prevented? Come on guys, it’s time to face facts and get cancer aware. Blue September is a nationwide awareness and fundraising initiative for prostate cancer, supporting the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand. The campaign seeks to raise funds for prostate cancer research, as well as helping men reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by encouraging early detection. In Library terms, we can help by providing reading (subject search Prostate Cancer) for those who may have just been diagnosed and want to make sense of the frustrating rounds of tests and doctors (and for their families) or go to one of our Health databases through our Libraries website to get tips on early detection.

  2. Rugby World Cup 2011. It's hard to ignore so we are not going to. The World's here to play, Auckland is ready and so are the Libraries. From fantastic displays supporting one (or all) of the teams, rugby and other sporting literature and provision of internet services so that visitors can keep in touch with home to lots of friendly welcoming spaces and enthusiastic people, Auckland Libraries are right behind the Rugby World Cup. Check out the special RWC2011 page on our library website for more details of events near you.

  3. Comic Book Month. The best of all different activities from previous years from all around Auckland have been combined into one event during September. We give you Top 5s, write-ups, an interview with the award-winning Sheehan Bros, and introduce you to our graphic novel and zine collections. There are also reward cards (with the chance to win some fantastic prizes) special events and storytimes being run in some libraries and our Create a Character competition starts up next week. Watch the website or your local library for more details.

  4. Auckland Art Gallery. After nearly four years away, a civic ceremony on Saturday 3 September will officially reinstate the Auckland Art Gallery to its original home on the corner of Kitchener and Wellesley Street... The newly developed Gallery has 7,194 sqm of public space, including four floors, 4,264 sqm of display space, a café, gallery shop, Learning Centre, auditorium and more than 800 artworks on display. Museums and Art Galleries are the cousins of Libraries and visiting this family member (which I am ashamed to say I have never done before) is top of my list to do once netball finishes and I get my weekends back. Which leads me to the last item on today's list.

  5. Spring. Yes - Winter is officially over and September marks the beginning of spring. This morning every single member of the netball team I coached remarked on how lovely it was to turn up to 7am practice and for it to be daylight. Time to spring clean, prepare the gardens, start the exercise/diet programme that will have you looking the best you can for the beaches this summer. Or just be able to take your book and coffee (or wine) outside onto the deck to relax and enjoy. (If you hit the link on 'spring' you get a rather eclectic mix of library resources which is the result of a keyword search).

It's a full month and I plan to make the most of it. Have an awesome weekend everyone.