Let’s get warm and snuggly!

ThermometerNew Zealand has some of the coldest houses on the planet. My childhood memories are of cold bedrooms where you tried to dress under the covers before putting your tootsies onto the cold bare floorboards. EECA states that about two-thirds of all houses (around 900,000) houses  in New Zealand have insufficient or no insulation, and our indoor temperatures fall well below World Health Organisation recommended limits.

New building code requirements for thermal insulation in houses are helping to improve New Zealand homes. For older homes, owners are being encouraged to retrofit insulation. Government subsidies now make it easier to get funding for insulation through the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme.

Our librarians have created a page of resources to help with insulation advice. Related to that we have a page of Power Saving Tips so you don’t have to skimp on your heating and our libraries have plenty of books and standards about insulation.

For Energy Awareness Week (3 – 8 May 2010),  Yvonne Gilmore, an energy analyst from the Christchurch City Council will be in the Central Library to present a series of sessions on insulating your home to best effect. See the new thermal image tool which will show your house on a night last winter and learn how to improve that snuggly feeling for less cost.

So let’s get warm and snuggly before winter. Do you have a warm home? What is your best tip for a warm home?

Patrick Ness and Monsters of Men

Patrick Ness’ new book, Monsters of Men is due out on May 12 here in New Zealand and I can’t wait!  Monsters of Men is the final book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy, in which we will find out the fate of Todd and Viola and the world that they live in.  Here’s the blurb:

Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others.

Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape.

As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there be peace when they’re so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await?

But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge…

I got my hands on a sample of the first chapter when I met Patrick Ness at the Somerset Writer’s Festival and you get thrown right into the action from the very first word.  It’s going to be a wild ride of a book!

If you’re also a huge fan of Patrick Ness, you can read my interview with him on the Pulse website.  While you’re there you can also enter the competition to WIN a signed copy of The Knife of Never Letting Go, a chapter sampler of Monsters of Men and two Chaos Walking badges. 

To make sure you’re one of the first to get your hands on Monsters of Men, reserve it now.

Come to our Puffin Party next Friday!

Cover imageWe’re having a party! Come and help us celebrate 70 years of Puffin Books.

 Where: Centre for the Child, Central Library

 When: Friday 7 May from 10:30-11:30

 What’s happening: Award-winning New Zealand author and illustrator, Ben Brown and Helen Taylor will be joining us to help celebrate.  They will talk about how they work together to create their fantastic picture books.  We will also have a display of Puffin books that you can borrow to enjoy at home.

 Suitable for: Ages 5-10

If you would like to come, please call the library (ph. 941 7923) and let us know how many people will be coming along.  We’d love for you to join us!

What is your favourite Puffin book?

Cover imageOn Saturday 8 May, one of the top publishers of children’s books, Puffin Books are celebrating their 70th Birthday.  They have published some truly classic books over the years, from Charlotte’s Web, Ballet Shoes and Stig of the Dump, to Each Peach Pear Plum, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Spot the dog books, The BFG, and our very own Hairy Maclary.

I have lots fond memories of my family sharing Puffin books with me.  One that stands out is my Nan reading Hairy Maclary to me when I was little.  She’d always change the part where they describe Schnitzel von Krum so that he’d be Schnitzel von Krum with the very low bum, and of course I’d crack up laughing.  In another of the Hairy Maclary books she’d have real trouble with the word cacophony, which is a great word but really hard to say.  A lot of Puffin’s books are so memorable that they stick with you, even when you’ve grown up.  My mum can still tell you the story of Each Peach Pear Plum word for word all these years later, and it’s a book that’s really stuck in my head too because of the rhythm of the words.

What’s your favourite Puffin book and why is it so memorable for you?

National Geographic Image Collection

National Geographic Image Collection cover A delicious book of stunning photographs to pore over.

National Geographic’s photography collection spans decades and a multitude of topics. A publication of these collections has landed on our shelves : National Geographic Image Collection.

This stunning selection of photographs has been chosen from over 11 million images in National Geographic’s Archives, and is showcased in four major sections, Exploration, Wildlife, People & Culture, and Science & Climate Change.

Continue reading

Cool Kids on the Blog

I’m off to a VAMPIRE WEEKEND in Auckland!

What can I say about these guys to give you an idea of their wittiness and class?

Founded in 2006, they became well known in the so-called indie-rock circles through blogs, they were the first band to make the cover for Spin magazine before they had even released an album!

His avant-garde highness Mr David Byrne gave a gracious review of one of their early gigs in his e-journal.
Debut album out in 2008, second one released last January and they are still using those African and Caribbean rythms as well as they did on their first (think Paul Simon).

These guys are ice cold, make sure to give them a go!

Zombie Survival

Do you know a search for “Zombie Survival” in our catalogue brings up 3 results? I work for the best Library…


Anzac Day inspection – Image of the week

Lord Jellicoe inspects the First Canterbury Guard of Honour, Anzac Day, foundation stone ceremony, Bridge of Remembrance. 25 April 1923

Lord Jellicoe inspects the First Canterbury Guard of Honour, ANZAC Day, foundation stone ceremony, Bridge of Remembrance

Do you have photos of Christchurch places or events? We love donations. Contact us

Also contact us if you have any further information on any of the images. Want to see more? You can browse our collection here.

Let the nevers bite the dust

CoverI’m Roberta, and I’m going to the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival this May.

Now there’s a sentence I never thought I would see in print – and it feels good! In fact, with that one sentence a whole bunch of “nevers” bite the dust: I’ve never been to a literary festival in New Zealand, never been to one anywhere in the world for that matter and, cherry on the top – I’ve never been to Auckland either.

Of course I’m euphoric. I’ve got a spring in my step and a great big smile on my mug. That said, I am waking up at 2am with sweaty palms and the words “podcast” and “blog” beating a merciless tattoo behind my terrified eyes. But together with the rest of the team we’ll be firing on all cylinders before too long.

What this means is that I have been given the chance to rediscover the joy of focused reading. Of course I read for pleasure all the time, but to resurrect the thrill of reading with a purpose is a special privilege. Next to my comfy chair, on my round table with a specially angled reading lamp, there now stands a gently leaning stack of books I must read and be able to comment on with some degree of insight by the 12th May  –  and I am in my element. The pile includes Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed, Lionel Shriver’s So Much For That and William Dalrymple’s Nine Lives.

And yes, I have bought new stationery for those of you who must know. Really, it doesn’t get better than this!

Musica Balkanica a Music Month treat

Musica Balkanica logoMusica Balkanica are looking forward to treating you to a the variety of  uplifting and rhythmical songs from the Balkans from sacred music to folk songs in a variety of languages. There will be  some magnificent harmonies and a different slice of culture from this dedicated local choir.

The Society, formed in February 2004,  includes members from around the Balkan region, as well as Kiwis. When we think of Balkan music we think of accordions and gypsy music, Musica Balkanica exposes us to much more. This dedicated group sings many challenging traditional works of spiritual and cultural significance in various local Baltic languages. Their repertoire includes both sacred songs from the Christian Orthodox Liturgy and Old Slavonic and folk songs from the Balkans region sung a cappella.

A cappella in the modern sense is vocal music without instrumental accompaniment, we often associate it with barbershop, doo wop but it is so much more. The historical meaning of the name a cappella is Italian for “in the manner of the church”. Performing as part of New Zealand Music Month Musica Balkanica’s  aim is to broaden Kiwis exposure to Balkan music and its significance.

To further explore the joys of Balkan music:

During May Christchurch City Libraries brings you a variety of musical performances for  New Zealand  Music Month.

How are you celebrating New Zealand Music Month?