Grand parade 1976: Picturing Canterbury

Grand Parade, A&P Show

A chilly Show Day at the Canterbury A&P Showgrounds, 1976.  This was the Grand Parade, with cattle, horses, donkeys, and scots Pipe Band visible.

Biography and Memoir: picks from our latest newsletter

Some picks from our November Biography and Memoir newsletter:

Cover: Life after DeathCover: Island PracticeCover: AdeleCover: The Black CountCover: We Heard the Heavens ThenCover: MercuryCover: The Book of Mormon GirlCover: Piri Straight UpCover: Not MeCover: How to Be Wild Like Keith RichardsCover: The Voice is AllCover: A Wife on Gorge River

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight from your inbox.

Have you read any of these books? If so, we’d love your feedback!

TumbleBookCloud does not include a television

So I may or may not be in trouble with the spirit of Roald Dahl. You see he is quoted as saying:

So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.

So the questions is would he have been as upset with computer screens – even if they are there to convey the content of a book?  Maybe if I had shown him TumbleBookCloud he would have been forgiving? TumbleBookCloud is aimed at young adults but may also be of help to ESOL students. It contains:

  •  E-books: the classics such as Macbeth and modern publications such as Victorio’s War;
  • Read-alongs: full-length professional narration and highlighted text so you can follow such titles as The Great Gatsby or Battle of the Bands;
  • Graphic novels: If you like comics then witness the exploits of  Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur in all its glory;
  • Audiobooks: Hear George Orwell’s 1984 or the award-winning Born Confused ;
  • Videos: see a Muhammad Ali biography, explore the Mystery Of The Crop Circles or find out what Snail Zombies are!

This resource can be found through the catalogue and at the Source. It can be used at home as long as you have your library card number and PIN, or in any community library.

If you seek the same sort of resource but for a younger audience try TumbleBooks.

Cycling around Canterbury, 1902

A map of hotels where cyclists might like to take a rest, and the roads they might like to travel.

You might also like to explore our heritage images of cyclists including this 1903 image of Mr W. Schwiegerhausen:

A young German journalist, who hails from Leigzig, Saxony, who is at present cycling round the world. Since March 10 1900, he has ridden over 36,000 miles. He arrived at Christchurch last Thursday. His contract is as follows:- To win a stake of £1250, provided by a newspaper company, the young journalist must circle the globe in the shape of a figure 8, across the five continents on his bicycle; he must interview three Kings, shoot a wild beast in each continent, write one hundred articles, take one thousand photographs, deliver one hundred lectures, and earn his expenses. Five years are allowed to finish the task, and in each place he has to obtain the signature of a leading citizen as a guarantee that he has paid a visit there. This is the first bicycle tour across the five continents, and Schwiegerhausen’s experiences are to be published in book form.”

— — — — —

We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.

I will share some of the interesting ads and pictures from it in a series of posts – there’s lots of information about local businesses and places in 1902.

NaNoWriMo – Woo Hoo!

I made it! I made it! And the air from the top smells oh so sweet. I have written 50,224 words of fiction in thirty days and I feel great.

When I look back over my blogs I realise I moaned during most of the process. NaNoWriMo is a bit like giving birth. It’s horrible while it’s happening but the results are worth every minute of suffering.

I haven’t had a chance to look back over my work. I don’t imagine much of it will be any good but I’ve created some characters I really enjoy and there are some moments in the plot that have felt ‘right’. NaNoWriMo receives criticism that it creates more literary rubbish than the planet can possibly want or need, but perhaps critics don’t appreciate that the creative process is organic. It’s messy and sporadic. No author starts at page one and writes smoothly to the last page. Just doesn’t happen. Wrimos know that. I believe there is enough wheat amongst the chaff ground in the past month to grow a good story – as long as I keep writing.

NaNoWriMo has shown me I have the desire, the imagination and the dogged determination to write a novel and I’d like to give my heartfelt appreciation to the folk at the Centre for Light and Letters for giving me that insight. As Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu so profoundly says, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ I feel like I have my feet firmly on the path.

Add some colour – Posters for the kids

Our workroom is very busy at the moment as we prepare a lovely big pile of new children’s posters for the library network, a great idea for a quick and easy way to decorate your child’s room

Five of our libraries have poster collections and they are: Upper Riccarton, New Brighton, Shirley, Fendalton and South.


“It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more”: Scott’s last expedition

26 November 1902 Robert Falcon Scott left Christchurch on the Terra Nova. Few could have predicted what would befall his expedition to the South Pole or that it would continue to fascinate 110 years later.

“These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale” reads Scott’s last journal entry, but  Scott’s Last Expedition, the major international touring exhibition now showing at Canterbury Museum, uses so much more.

It’s a tale we think we know; endurance, bravery, fortitude in the face of certain death. I well remember a print of Captain Oates walking away from the tent into a blizzard hanging on the wall of my girls’ school (wouldn’t Edith Cavell facing the firing squad have been more inspiring to the girls?) but I don’t remember ever thinking much about why the expedition was trying to get to the South Pole.

Scott’s Last Expedition answers the questions I never thought to ask, by bringing the scientific specimens gathered at such cost together with the artefacts familiar from the photographs of the expedition and of the huts that still stand.

Edward Wilson, who died in the tent along with Henry Bowers and Scott, struggled through advanced frost bite to bring back specimens that included a grey rock . He didn’t make it back but the rock did and it’s in the exhibition. It might not seem that exciting at first sight, until you notice the red lines of fossilised seed ferns that helped to prove the theories of continental drift.

There’s something here for everyone; the irremediably trivial like me, transfixed by the sled flags, and those who can appreciate the sheer scope of the science.  Also a very nice line in merchandise.

You will have a chance to see the statue that stood on the banks of the Avon until 22 February 2011 at closer quarters than you are ever likely to experience again.

And if you want to know more, there is lots of stuff in the library.

Christchurch – this week in history (26 November – 3 December)

26 November 1857
Opening of the first building (long since demolished) on the present Christ’s College site. The school’s original planned site was in Cathedral Square, but the land had been exchanged for the present Hagley Park site to allow room for expansion.

26 November 1959
Memorial Avenue (a memorial to airmen killed in W.W.II) officially opens.

27 November 1985
Remains of swimming pool uncovered when excavating behind No 1 stand at Lancaster Park. Pool used as venue for 1907 Australian and New Zealand Swimming Championships.

28 November 1893
Women vote for the first time in parliamentary elections.

28 November 1908
Work begins on the Summit Road, the first part of Harry Ell’s obsessional dream.

28 November 1964
Opening of Cashin Quay, Lyttelton Harbour. The engineering techniques used in reclaiming this area were unique in the world.

29 November 1901
Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s first Antarctic expedition arrives at Lyttelton in “Discovery”.

29 November 1978
Concert at Q.E.II Park by rock singer David Bowie.

1 December 1949
Sidney G. (later Sir Sidney) Holland (Fendalton) becomes Prime Minister.

2 December 1866
Moa bones discovered at Glenmark. The international sale and exchange of these helped Haast, the Canterbury Museum’s first Director, to finance the new museum.

2 December 1960
Rehua meeting house opens, the first new meeting house in the South Island for over 100 years.

More November and December events in our Christchurch chronology.

Time to get crafty for Christmas

This is the time of year to start planning your Christmas event or homemade gifts for friends and family.

Our catalogue also has Christmas themed lists  created by customers.

How about creating your own list?

Fashion passion: New fashion books to make you drool

For those of you who like to drool over the latest, the most avant-garde and the beautiful, here is a selection of new fashion books that have been ordered or have  just arrived in the library.