Had you been a fly on the yet-to-be ceiling of Papanui Library last Friday, you would have witnessed small children standing on tippy toes to touch the screens, agog teenagers saying “How does it DO that?” when the SMART machine reads the barcodes of five books at a time, and game oldies – at least one of whom stole our hearts when he asked “Can I have another go?” after he’d successfully issued his books.
I took my usual approach – read up on the subject first (cautionary note here: I studied books on how to breastfeed – say no more). It all started with an excellent Time magazine article on Alzheimers and its prevention. The message was clear – keep learning, try new things, stay active and socialize as much as possible. That could be my job description. Heeding this advice, I headed to my local and took out Making the Most of RFID in Libraries and all I can say is that if understanding RFID is what stands between me and failing mental abilities, I am in big trouble.
But what Friday at Papanui showed me is that you don’t have to understand everything about new technology to benefit from it enormously. And have fun while you are at it.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the children’s self-issue penguin arrived. He is irresistible and you should come and visit us at Papanui to meet the machines, the helpful staff, the intrepid customers and the groovy penguin.
So if you are still that fly looking down from the ceiling: I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Friday at Papanui was poetry in motion, but it was definitely a very happy feat!
Necrology – a list of notable people who have died recently.
- James Atkinson, 1914-2011
International authority on Luther who offered meticulous insights into the significance of the Reformation
- Stan Barstow, 1928-2011
Novelist of working-class life who achieved fame with A Kind of Loving
- Walter Bonatti, 1930-2011
Italian mountaineer renowned for his courage and technical mastery whose career was blighted by a controversy on K2
- Patrick Collinson, 1929-2011
Scholar and historian whose work transformed the modern study of Elizabethan Puritanism
- David Croft, 1922-2011
Co-creator of some of television’s most enduring comedies, among them Dad’s Army, ’Allo ’Allo and Hi-de-Hi!
- John Glasby, 1928-2011
ICI chemist and astronomer who drew on his expertise to moonlight as a prolific writer of pulp fiction
- Richard Hamilton, 1922-2011
Painter who embraced the march of new technologies and was hailed as the founder of Pop Art
- Ian Kemp, 1931-2011
Authority on Berlioz who wrote a biography of Sir Michael Tippett
- Emanuel Litvinoff, 1915-2011
Poet who wrote about his Jewish childhood in the East End and launched a devastating attack on TS Eliot
- J.P. Morrison, 1922-2011
Christchurch human rights and peace worker, author of Evolution of a city, history of Christchurch to 1903
- Cyril Ornadel, 1924-2011
Conductor on Sunday Night at the London Palladium who wrote the score for the hit musical Pickwick
- Richard Pearson, 1918-2011
Gifted character actor who brought freshness to the stalest of roles and starred in a baffling Pinter premiere
- Cliff Robertson, 1925-2011
Oscar-winning actor who was blacklisted by Hollywood for exposing a fraudulent studio boss
- Kurt Sanderling, 1912-2011
Celebrated Jewish conductor who fled the Nazis for the Soviet Union
- Nancy Wake, 1912-2011
One of the most decorated secret agents of World War II
Before we had TV and the internet, we got our news, information and scandal from within the pages of our local newspapers.
The National Library has recognised their importance and has digitised 68 New Zealand newspapers published between 1839 and 1945 – and brought them together in Papers Past.
The newspapers in Papers Past are a fantastic resource for information about New Zealand social and political events. Family historians will find the shipping news, births, deaths, marriages and divorces of interest. I was a trifle disappointed to see my early ancestors in the drunk and disorderly sections!
See what your relatives have been up to in one of our many useful historical and genealogical resources in the Source.
Access these resources from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our open community libraries.