Before you drive off into the sunset

Heading away for Easter? Good for you. If you are driving somewhere, now is a good time to do a vehicular fitness test. There is nothing worse than being away on holiday and having car troubles.

Actually, that’s false. Far worse would be to never get to leave on your holiday because said car packs up at the sight of the first ‘100’ sign  on the edge of town. In this instance you have no excuse to keep you from going back to work! So if you want your car to make it through your holiday, or at least make it far enough out of town to forget about work, there are some basic checks you can do.

Warrant of fitness checks cover all the major safety components, but if you are coming to the end of your warrant period it might be a good idea to get in early and make sure everything is still as it should be before you take on that switchbacked hill in the middle of nowhere.

There are also plenty of things you can check yourself. Tyres, coolant levels and oil are all no-brainers, but it’s worth checking a few other things also. Windscreen washer reservoirs are worth checking, as are wiper blades.

While you are under the bonnet, it is worth checking other fluid levels too, power steering and brake fluid are things you don’t want to run out of and leaks can generate quite quickly (watch skin contact, this stuff is nasty).  These are both usually stored in semi-transparent reservoirs similar though smaller than that of the engine coolant, so they can be checking with a quick glance. Also check transmission fluid levels if your car is an automatic, this is usually via a dipstick like engine oil (don’t be alarmed if the fluid appears red, this fluid is different to standard engine oil).

Don’t know your dipstick from your dipswitch? Do not fear! The library has miles of titles on auto maintenance ranging from advice for the complete beginner through to full workshop manuals and modification guides. If you don’t know where to start, try some of these:

In defense of the Graphic Novel

At the beginning of this month, I attended the South Island Children and
Young Adult Librarians Conference 2010  (yes, it exists) where I had the pleasure of meeting Wayne Mills. Mr Mills is senior lecturer at the School of Arts, Languages and Literacies at Auckland University as well as the originator of the fantastic Kids’ Lit Quiz, an interactive literary quiz which has spread globally since its beginning in 1991.
He changed the subject of his presentation last minute and decided to talk about why libraries are important to an audience that was already fervently in favour of that cause. I was disappointed because I really wanted to hear what he has to say about Boys and Literacy.

(Graphic) Novels can be good

Mr. Mills is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s foremost authorities on children’s and young adult books and I found it interesting when he advocated for graphic novels and… boy! did this cause a reaction amongst the attendees!
I agree with Mr Mills in that, as any other genre of literature, graphic novels can be good or bad; I don’t think it’s fair to put them all in the same bag, exempli gratia is Maus: a survivor’s tale  by Art Spiegelman, which even won the Pulitzer Prize Special Award.

Love them… Hate them… What’s your favourite graphic novel?
It might be technically considered a comic but I quite like Tintin by Hergé and I can’t wait for Spielberg to finish the movie!