Library tourists

South LibraryTwo very keen punters in Auckland have been inspired by the new supercity and its sudden abundance of libraries to visit every one of the 55 libraries and blog about them. Phew and hats off to Latitude of Libraries and Auckland Libraries Super Tour 2011. It is early days yet but I did enjoy the visit to New Lynn Library describing some beautiful pieces of Crown Lynn on display,  including thoughtful writing and interesting book titles. Neither blogger is a librarian or works for Auckland City Council.

Here in Christchurch we operate on a more modest scale but I got to thinking about being a library tourist. With 22 libraries could we do speed touring? – all the libraries in one day. Or themes – most scenic trip – New Brighton to Sumner to Lyttelton to Little River and Akaroa  (with a side ferry trip to Diamond Harbour). Or newest libraries (visiting Upper Riccarton, South and Parklands would see you criss-crossing the city) , small but perfectly formed (Little River, Akaroa, Diamond Harbour, Redwood) and so on…

Have you ever been a library tourist? Any recommendations?

Group Art

If you’re down at the Arts Centre seeing the buskers (and no doubt half of Christchurch will be), pop into the SOFA Gallery and have a look at some seminal New Zealand art works. Pat Hanly painted the rainbow murals in the Christchurch Town Hall and around the same time was commissioned by Hamish Keith to make some paintings to hang in the Auckland Medical School.

Based on Shakespeare’s Seven ages of Man, they have been there ever since, until the re-furbishment of the Medical School has allowed them to visit  Christchurch, where Hanly and Keith went to Art School.

Cover of The Group show 1965Speeches at the opening mentioned an infamous student flat in Armagh Street (“we were known as the Armaghtians” came an interjection from the floor) and The Group, the informal association of  artists who wanted an alternative to exhibiting at the Canterbury Society of Arts.

This got me thinking about The Group, which lead me to idly type The Group into the Search Heritage option on the Christchurch City Libraries home page, which lead me to a some fascinating stuff.

Exhibition catalogues from 1927 to 1977 have been digitised and the covers are a treat in themselves – talk about a trip down a memory lane of fashions in typefaces and graphic design. What was exhibited makes for very interesting reading as well. Niceties of art vs craft seem to have been ignored, as jewellery and pottery shared space with paintings by some very resonant names.