Community connections

quilt photograph from Christchurch City Libraries FlickrTwenty libraries across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula is quite a formidable community network and these days they are all fairly humming with activities. Just taking a quick look at our Community Connections for adults programmes will give you the idea. There is a February/July programme well under way and while the bookable courses may be full up, there are always plenty of drop in opportunities to learn computer skills like this one at Central Peterborough Library.

Libraries have always been places of community. Librarians and customers get to know one another, reading suggestions, plants and cakes are swapped and lots of learning facilitated. Post earthquakes this seems more important than ever and these days you can pop in to your local library and find many useful things like Citizens Advice Bureau on site, J.P clinics, craft groups, card groups, book clubs and art displays. Just take a look at our Classes and events calendar.

Recently South Library hosted the Migrant Quilt Exhibition which has become a spectacular annual event and currently Upper Riccarton is hosting an exhibition by Chinese artist Xiao Hong Deng. (runs until May 1).

Soon our libraries will be resonating with dozens of free music events by local musicians for New Zealand Music Month.

Libraries in your community – there is always something going on.

Suburbia in Triburbia

When you write a novel about a suburb that happens to be in New York city, is upmarket, arty and full of wealth and influence you possibly leave yourself a bit open for comparisons and libel suits.   Karl Grenfeld’s novel Triburbia is not only based in Tribeca New York City, but the chapter headings are street names and numbers. Various reviewers have suggested that he has based some characters on an apparently well-known and rather nasty magazine editor, a restaurateur and a famous writer accused of telling lies/

The novel is a series of interlinking stories based around the inhabitants of these addresses. The fun part is working out how they all link, with the common link being the local school. The fathers predominate in the early parts of the book, and there is a sense from them at  least, that they are the central characters. The fathers have tenuous attachments to their surroundings and each other, but their self-importance is second to none. Gradually after the introduction of the women and children the relationships between the characters becomes clearer and the book really takes off.

There have been a number of American novels set post 9/11 and pre- financial crisis, but when written with the hindsight of impending  financial ruin,  there is a great sense in knowing that the smugness and self-satisfaction will not last. Someone is going to crash and burn, and be assured that they do.