Safari Books Online: your guide to the wilderness of technology

I like to think I am a pretty literate person. I love to read, debate the issues and communicate. Yet there is a world out there that eludes me – the world of technology. If you watch that brilliant comedy The Big Bang Theory,  then I am the character Penny (without the flat stomach, blonde hair and bone structure). When the I.T  department comes to play with my computer they tend to lose me  right after the word “file path”.

I am not an inherently lazy person it is just that I get the impression that even if I learned all I needed to know – within a week I would be out of date!

Not everyone shares my bewilderment. There are people out there who love all the challenges that changing technology  presents. There are also those who don’t have an I.T. department to save them when things go wrong!  This is where the library can help.

We provide access to Safari Books Online, an electronic reference library of technology, digital media and business texts. Safari has it all from artificial intelligence and mark-up languages to desktop publishing and networking.  If the words HTML, Java, Perl and Android applications full you with excitement then you are in the right place. If you know that “Python” is not just a really big snake and that “Perl” is not just a knitting pattern then this resource will be a bonanza for you. You can search across all of Safari’s texts or simply flick to the page you need at any time of the day or night.

Access this and many other useful topics at the Source with your library card number and PIN. Bazinga!

Pssst!….. Aotearoa Whispers. Spread the word.

I found this graphic novel yesterday at Shirley Library quite by accident. It’s called Aotearoa Whispers, The Awakening. I think it’s awesome, so decided to blog it as maybe other people might enjoy it too. The story is set in Christchurch. Be warned there were a couple of illustrations of the Cathedral, the Chalice and the chess set from the square – this gave me a bit of an unexpected whiplash of nostalgia ( a reaction I wasn’t expecting from a graphic novel) and the author Gonzalo Navarro wrote his foreword in the city in February 2011, in the aftermath of the earthquakes.

The Awakening tells the story of of Kahi Moana, a young teenager who has a potentially life-changing exchange with his grandmother after tripping over his own shoelace.

The conversation that ensues with his kuia introduces the reader to Te Rauparaha, touches on aspects of local history (it mentions the naming and history of Cathedral Square), the battles at Kaiapoi Pa, Ōnawe and Akaroa before moving on to share a retelling of the traditional kōrero of Māui and Mahuika from the perspective of the author. Ultimately the conversation with his Nan impacts on his perspective of how he sees the world and views his own identity.

I loved the style of the art work and the fact that I could read the story in Te Reo  (the translation has been provided by Charisma Rangipunga) or English.  The fact that the story was set locally and that the storyline included events and happenings that occurred in our area. It  made me feel like I had an instant connection with the story and the characters.  I also liked the fact that it was sharing story in a graphic novel type format, I haven’t come across many New Zealand stories told in this way.

If you try this one and like it, you might also like to have a look at Ngārimu Te Tohu Toa (Te Reo) which tells the story of Te Moana nui a Kiwa Ngarimu VC or Victory at Point 209 if you want to read the English version.  Both of these were written by Andrew Burdan who has also written Hautipua rererangi (Te Reo) or Born to Fly (English version) which tells the story of NZRAF Flying Officer Porokoru Patapu (John) Pohe of Ngati Rangi,who served 22 missions in his first tour of duty during the Second World War.  I have added both of  these to my for later shelf.

As an aside, If you do read Aotearoa Whispers and it whets your appetite in terms of learning a little more about local history then you might like to check out our website Tī Kōuka Whenua. This resource is a great source of local history and Ngāi Tahu information- and if you’re interested you can read more about the battles mentioned in Aotearoa Whispers, the history of Kaiapoi and the battle at Ōnawe Pa as well.

Dildrams and whiff-whaff and the joy of new books

Every week in the library, we get a delivery of new books.  They come in plain brown boxes, and look as boring as it’s possible for boxes to look.  But opening those boxes is like waking up to Christmas every day: the kind of Christmas where you didn’t think to TELL people what you really wanted, and so you know that what you might find could range from a pair of white acrylic tube socks, to some quite nice coffee mugs, to a fully automated robot butler made entirely of clockwork that brings you hot chocolate in the mornings.

Let me illustrate this by pointing out a few of the new books I unpacked yesterday:

I’ll leave you to figure out which titles on this list are the ‘tube socks’, and which are my robot butler – I’m off to browse the new books display at my library.  If you can’t wait for us to unpack boxes each week, might I suggest you sign up to the New Titles newsletters and RSS feeds and get ready to place some holds, otherwise I’ll see you at the New Books shelf …