This week Christchurch is being inundated with librarians. We are having our annual conference and the theme is He Tangata, Our People. This morning one of the speakers was Claudia Lux from IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and she spoke about how as librarians we need to get out there and advocate for our profession. In order to do that we need people to know what we stand for. She posed the question “What do librarians do all day?” So I was wondering, what do you, our library users, think we get up to all day?
What did you do in the war Daddy? – well that is an unanswered question for me in many ways as my Dad (in common with many Kiwi soldiers) didn’t talk a lot about his war experiences. He told some entertaining yarns about his time in training in New Zealand and England and as a POW in Germany and a little bit of serious stuff about his time on Crete but that was it. Since his death I’ve found myself reading all sorts of stuff about New Zealanders’ World War II experiences in Greece and Crete and the POW experience and I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the trials my Dad endured.
Now I’m reading a fascinating account of the POW experience called Dear Alison: a New Zealand soldier’s story from Stalag 383 by Christchurch man Dudley Muff. It is the facsimile of a notebook he kept as prisoner, written for his young niece in New Zealand. Illustrated with his own stick peopled drawings, there is an underlying tone to the adult ear that captures the boredom, frustration and sometimes anger, of the men who were imprisoned for four years.
You can see the original of his book in a special display at Our City during Heritage Week (October 16 to 26). The theme of Heritage week is Doves and Defences: Discover Christchurch in peace and conflict and the exhibition is called Never Be Afraid which is the postscript that Dudley added to the book on his return home to Christchurch: “Now I shall tell you in three little words what all my travels have taught me, NEVER BE AFRAID. With all the love in the world from Uncle Dudley”.
Christchurch City Libraries have an excellent service to Christchurch and yes, the world. You can check what you have out and when it’s due back while you are holidaying on the Cote D’Azur or even deepest darkest Antarctica.
Amazing huh? Do you need to research the latest medical information from the WWW? Well, you can do it while sipping on a cool drink while crusing the Adriatic on your Super Yacht. All you need is your library card. If you don’t have one, find out how.
Where’s the weirdest place YOU have checked your library details from?? Timbuktu, New Delhi or China – or in bed on your trusty laptop?