Don’t forget your family, yeah

Don’t forget your roots, my friend

The ones who made you

The ones who brought you here

Don’t forget your roots, my friend, yeah

family historySix60 have a great song about family and provides the inspiration for a set of courses being held at Christchurch City Libraries during August. We are running two Family History programmes and you can choose the one that suits you. It’s all about discovering our family stories.

Getting Started: Beginners Guide to Family History

Start your family history research with this six week course that will introduce some key resources available at Christchurch City Libraries and beyond. Key life events such as births, deaths and marriages will be researched, along with sources covering migration, military and electoral information. We will be looking at online and paper-based resources.

Basic computer knowledge is needed.

Where: South Learning Centre & Central Library Manchester

When: Tuesdays, 4 August to 8 September (6 weeks)

Time: 6.00pm – 8.00pm

Cost: $15

Family HistoryFamily History Starter Series

A four week course that will introduce online resources to find information on:

  • Key life events – births, deaths and marriages
  • Living in New Zealand
  • Arriving in New Zealand
  • Where to next?

Bring along as much as you know about your family and we will help you fill in some gaps. We have tips and tricks to help you uncover your story and get you on your way.

Basic computer knowledge is needed.

Where: Linwood Library

Dates: Wednesdays 19 Aug, 26 Aug, 2 Sept, 9 Sept (4 weeks)

Time: 6.00pm – 7.30pm

Cost: $10.00

Bookings: Ring 941-7923 to book your place at either course.

If you are keen to know more check out our family history guide.

Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth!

You know sometimes when you see a book and instantly fall in love? I had one of those moments recently when I laid my eyes on Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman. I first saw this book on one of my favourite book websites, Love Reading 4 Kids and the cover really caught my eye. When I finally got my hands on a copy of the book from my library I fell in love.

Creaturepedia is a visually stunning book about creatures from all over the world. The book’s by-line is ‘Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth,’ and it’s not wrong.  Adrienne Barman introduces us to creatures great and small, huge and miniscule. Adrienne has split the book up into different sections, with names like ‘The Champion Breath-Holders,’ ‘The Masters of Camoflage,’ and ‘The Show-Offs.’

The beauty of this book though is that it is perfect for dipping in and out of. You could pick any page at random and it would make you go ‘Wow!’ Curious children could flick to ‘The Lilliputians’ and discover that the Bee Hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird at 5.7cm long or that the Dwarf Gecko is the world’s smallest reptile at 1.6cm long.

The text in the book is sparse, letting the reader focus on the gorgeous illustrations that portray these creatures. Children will discover creatures that they never knew existed and will want to find out more about them. Adrienne’s illustrations are vibrant, quirky and fun. Each of the creatures has its own unique personality. Take a look at just a couple of the page spreads from the book:

Artwork credit: This is an excerpt from Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman, published by Wide Eyed Editions.

Artwork credit: This is an excerpt from Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman, published by Wide Eyed Editions.

Before you even open the book you can tell you’re holding a work of art in your hands. The publisher of Creaturepedia, Wide Eyed Editions, clearly knows what makes a great book. The love that went into producing this book is evident, from the hardcover to the binding and the vibrant colours to the high-quality paper.

Get your hands on a copy of Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman and fall in love with this stunning book!

Pocket money ready! It’s children’s book sale time.

The school holidays can be a “challenging” time for parents as we all know. How best to keep the little tikes entertained?

As usual Christchurch City Libraries is offering a range of holiday programmes and Kidsfest activities but we’ve also got a book sale this week that might offer up some gems to keep your kids occupied when the weather packs in.

Our Children’s book sale is on Thursday and Friday in the Boardroom at Fendalton Library and a range of reading material for youngsters will be on offer for the bargain, low price of $1 per item.

Fiction, non-fiction, picture and board books as well as young adult titles will be available so gather up that pocket money and grab a bargain!

Children's book sale poster

Recent necrology, June 2015

Some well known people who have died recently

  • Ornette Coleman, 1930-2015
    The most intellectual of jazz musicians, the godfather of free jazz
  • Ronnie Gilbert, 1926-2015
    Founder member of The Weavers who was known for her rich contralto voice
  • Cover of RangioraJames Horner, 1953-2015
    Film composer who won two Oscars for Titanic and provided soundtracks for films as diverse as Braveheart and Richard Eyre’s Iris
  • Richard Johnson, 1927-2015
    Dashing actor who turned down James Bond and became a stalwart of the RSC, film and television
  • James Last, 1929-2015
    German-born composer and big band leader known for his ‘happy music’
  • Graham Lord, 1943-2015
    Journalist and biographer who shook up the world of books with a prize for ‘readable’ fiction that was the most lucrative of its day
  • Patrick Macnee, 1922-2015
    Actor who brought Etonian nonchalance and jaunty eccentricity to the part of Steed in The Avengers
  • Cover of Marguerite Patten's Best British DishesRon Moody, 1924-2015
    Gifted actor celebrated for his tragic-comic performance as Fagin in Lionel Bart’s Oliver
  • Barbara Reynolds, 1914-2015
    Dante scholar who was better known as the biographer of Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Cover of The HuntersJean Ritchie, 1922-2015
    Musician who introduced the mountain dulcimer to the wider world and traced the Appalachian ballads of her youth to Britain
  • James Salter, 1925-2015
    Fighter pilot turned novelist whose precisely crafted books explored war, sexual desire and heartbreak
  • Gunther Schuller, 1925-2015
    Composer and conductor who won a Pulitzer Prize, played with Miles Davis and wrote two books on jazz
  • Cover of The Dwarf Who MovedCarole Seymour-Jones, 1943-2015
    Writer who explored the love lives of Vivienne Eliot and Simone de Beauvoir
  • Ernest Tomlinson, 1924-2015
    Composer and conductor, doyen of the light orchestral world

Te Kupu o te Wiki – The Word of the Week

Kia ora. To celebrate Te Reo Māori we are publishing weekly kupu (words).


Ehara taku toa, he takitahi, he toa takitini.
My success should not be bestowed onto me alone, as it was not individual success but success of a collective.

This whakataukī can be said humbly when an individual is acknowledged for their contribution to a greater cause.

Kīwaha (colloquialism)

Ūana te wehi.

Kupu (word)


Kei hea tō whakaata?
Where is your mirror?

Watch video of someone pronouncing this kupu.


This week in Christchurch history (6 to 12 July)

6 July 1887
Heavy floods. Three young men drown in the Avon River as a result of a boating mishap.

7 July 1908
Widespread flooding in city and province.

8 July 1880
Canterbury Society of Arts formed.

The Society of Artists Gallery, corner of Armagh & Durham Streets, Christchurch [ca. 1921]
The Society of Artists Gallery, corner of Armagh & Durham Streets, Christchurch [ca. 1921], CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0045
9 July 1863
Civic tree planting begins. Part of the day’s planting was a commemorative tree, generally regarded as the beginning of the Botanic Gardens.

10 July 1922
Hagley Park and Botanic Gardens included in city boundary.

11 July 1879
Post Office building in Cathedral Square completed.

Post Office Corner, 1963, from Cathedral spire
Post Office Corner, 1963, from Cathedral spire. Flickr, HW-08-FE-09

More July events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

이 겨울이 따뜻할 수 있을까!

꽁꽁 얼어 버린 겨울은 세상의 모든 따뜻함을 찾아 나서게합니다. 몸을 데우는 일 뿐만 아니라, 마음이 따뜻해 질 수 있으면 참 좋겠습니다.

이 달에 소개할 책입니다.

IMG_0067July완전변태 – 2005년 장편소설 《장외인간》을 펴낸 이후 9년 만에 출간한 소설가 이외수의 매력을 다채롭게 느낄 수 있는 10 편의 단편소설로 구성되어 있습니다. 단순한 문장들이 단숨에 책 한 권을 다 읽게 하지만, 읽은 후의 울림은 이외수 특유의 감성을 느끼게하는 책입니다.  여러 부류의 직업군들을 등장시켜, 오늘을 살고 있는 우리들의 양심에 노크하는 신선한 충격이 있습니다.

복거일의 자유롭게 한걸음 – “사회의 보편적 합의에 대한 반성적 긴장과 구성원들의 지지 및 비판적 격려를 통해 성장한 지식인은, 자신의 사상적 자양이 되어준 당대에 자신의 지혜를 되돌려줄 의무를 지닌다. 그것은 사회와 지식인 사이에 체결된 일종의 계약이다. 우리 사회가 안고 있는 문제에 대한 지식인의 관심과 참여는 보다 나은 미래의 삶을 위한 가장 기본이 되는 동력이기 때문이다.”…우리시대 지식인에게 묻다 중에서

스캔들 세계사 –  저자 이주은은 책 읽기가 좋아 수 많은 책들 속에 살다 블로거 ‘눈숑눈숑 밀푀유’에 나누기 시작한 역사이야기를 책으로 펴낸 젊은 작가입니다. 인물과 에피소드를 중심으로 중세와 근세 유럽의 역사를 사람들이 살아간 이야기를 통해 쉽게 풀어낸 이야기책입니다.

Mango Languages를 알고 있으세요?  한국어를 포함해 중국어, 불어, 이탈리아어, 일본어등 60개db-Mango-CKEY754288 이상 언어를 스스로 공부할 수 있는 온라인 자료입니다. 영어 실력을 더 발전 시킬 수 있을 뿐만 아니라,  해외 에서의 휴가 계획을 하고 있으시다면  미리 그곳의 말과 문화를 살짝 익히고 떠나시면 어떨까요. 혹은 실질적인 외국어 실력을 향상 시킬 수 있는 완벽한 언어 학습자료입니다.  크라이스트쳐치 시립 도서관 카드비밀번호가 있으시면 지금 당장 시작하세요.

반가운 소식 하나 더.   Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre가 오는 11월에 문을 열 계획입니다. 수영장을 비롯한 많은 부대 시설들과 Halswell 도서관이 포함되어 있습니다. 이곳에서 일 해보고자 하시는 분은 지금 지원하세요.

Happy Birthday, Alice

Some children’s stories stand the test of time because they are straightforward or simple tales. Others because the characters are so easy to love. Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, which celebrates its 150th anniversary tomorrow, is neither of these and yet it is a perennial favourite, reprinted and reimagined year after year.

Cover of Alice's adventures in wonderlandCovr of Alice's adventures in wonderlandAlice in wonderlandCover of Alice's adventures in wonderland

In some ways it is an unlikely children’s classic, this convoluted tale of a lost and bewildered child encountering a succession of bizarre and often menacing characters and situations. Or is it? Is that, in fact, exactly what childhood is like? An ongoing battle to make sense of the world, and the strange people in it?

Cover of Alice's adventures in wonderlandCover of The annotated AliceCover of Alice's Adventures in WonderlandCover of Alice's adventures in wonderland and Through the looking glass

I’m not the only one who thinks Alice’s adventures in Wonderland is something of a riddle. There have been almost as many books written about Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson) and the genesis of his Alice books as there have been reprints of the stories themselves. Something about them resonates.

Cover of The Alice behind WonderlandCover of The story of AliceCover of The mystery of Lewis CarrollCover of The selected letters of Lewis Carroll

Alice, it would seem, is the Mona Lisa of children’s literature – endlessly fascinating and ripe for reinterpretation.

Cover of Alice in ZombielandCover of Alice in the country of clover, knight's knowledge 1Cover of SplinteredCover of Through the zombie glass

If you’re interested in reacquainting yourself with Alice, Wonderland, and her adventures there we’ve got plenty of books to choose from.

Also our friends at Auckland Libraries have put together a splendid resource showcasing images from their rare editions of the Alice books.

Chapter and Verse New Order, Joy Division and Me – Bernard Sumner

Cover of Chapter and VerseMusician Bernard Sumner has been involved in lots of noteworthy things throughout his career. But perhaps his most significant role was in the British band New Order, who wrote that song “Blue Monday”, you know, that 80s song with the lyrics “how does it feel, to treat me like you do”?

According to the BBC, that song “is widely regarded as a crucial link between Seventies disco and the dance/house boom that took off at the end of the Eighties”. For anyone that’s heard it, it seems to have this timelessness because it’s a track always gets dance floors moving. Even well into the 21st century (feeling old now?).

Anyway, that’s just a bit of context. The Bernard Sumner autobiography has been very much anticipated as the two bands he was in –  the contentiously named Joy Division, and New Order, were seminal in their style and sound. Both were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
Sumner has a reputation for being notoriously private, and never spoke much about his personal life or revealed his ruminations on the various events of his career. So this is what generated so much intrigue regarding his book.

Cover of Joy DivisionLike many autobiographical works it starts from the start: his childhood, teenage years, schoolyard and neighbourhood antics, along with all the pain and fun of his years growing up in Salford (a dodgy suburb of Manchester) – all in a somewhat nostalgic tone. Tales of crazy, violent neighbors are revisited and all the various social changes which took place in England due to social housing and economic circumstances. He recalls how large tenement apartment blocks going up dissolved community networks; he preferred his old substandard housing block with its rich tapestry of various social groups. Interestingly, many English musical autobiographies emerging from this era include these kind of sociological reflections – and readers are led to infer this is what drove the various pioneering sounds and lyrics …

Cover of Unknown PleasuresFamily life was rough, being raised primarily by his grandmother and grandfather. His single mother had cerebral palsy and wasn’t very mobile. To compound it all , there was more sickness in the family as the caring grandparents became very ill too. These experiences, along with the suicide of joy Division singer Ian Curtis, possibly caused a numbness over time, and I suspect this influenced his writing. To be honest, I was surprised the book didn’t involve longer and deeper reflections on singer Ian Curtis’s death, but then, Ian’s rough life is well known to anyone familiar with the band and such issues are sensitive.

Cover of New OrderThere are some outstanding omissions in this book which might frustrate some people, as the production of some New Order albums are not discussed in any detail for us at all. Which sucks because a lot of it was pioneering stuff. However, this really only annoys readers who are musicians themselves; some might not be as interested in the intricacies of digital drum machines and synthesizers.

Beyond all this are testimonies about the monumental fallout Sumner had with Peter Hook – long-time bassist of Joy Division and New Order. Peter Hook addresses this in interviews after reading Sumner’s book. It really seems like you can’t have an autobiography about musicians and bands without some massive acrimonious fallout or legal dispute between band members.

Cover ot The HaciendaAnyway, if you’re of the generation who grew up with the New Order/Joy division sounds, or you like music, have a read. It’s quite a light read and is great to read alongside  Morrissey’s Autobiography and Peter Hook’s book titled The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club (which I will review soon). All these titles read alongside each other provide some really interesting insights into the raw pioneering British music scene of the 80s. Happy reading!

Find in our collection

Mockingbird Songs

There are very few books that I would give five stars to in a review, however Mockingbird Songs is one.

Cover of Mockingbird SongsR. J. Ellory is one of my favourite authors and I have enjoyed many of his award winning novels. However with his latest novel Mockingbird Songs I felt he had taken his writing to a different level due to the descriptive prose and the depth of characterisation.

This novel is set in a small town in West Texas and is essentially a tale about two brothers, Ethan and Carson, who have had a complex relationship from early childhood because of one parent favouring one brother over the other. The ill feeling that comes from this one-sided relationship simmers throughout their teenage years  and is further complicated as a result of their ongoing rivalry for their childhood sweetheart.

A powerful story unfolds, about keeping a promise no matter the outcome because of loyalty to a friend. A very dark tale, a tale of  revenge, hidden secrets of a lost daughter. At times it felt like a very long journey, a saga as well as a mystery.

Cover of I Know This Much Is TrueCompelling reading. R. J. Ellory hooked me in from the very beginning. I found this to be a ‘can’t put down’ novel and was very fortunate to be able to read it when I had time on my hands; otherwise there may not have been much done around the house for a few days and takeaways may have been on the menu!

Another absorbing read about two brothers is I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb. This story is about twin brothers, with one brother feeling totally responsible for the other and how that affects his life. I would rate I Know This Much Is True as a four star novel.

Are there any novels about siblings that you’d particularly recommend?