Adult Learners’ Week – Take That First Step

As someone who doesn’t  remember a time when I couldn’t write, read and use mathematics, I find it hard to imagine how life must be if you have limited or no literacy. I’ve known adults who have hidden their lack of literacy well into their middle age, for fear of ridicule and embarrassment, but who, with support, have taken the steps to literacy and now are enjoying the freedom and excitement of even small things, such as reading the newspaper, writing emails to friends and yes, even reading the back of the cereal packet.

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope – Kofi Annan

Literacy is fundamental in our ability to interact with the world, and our prisons, for example,  are filled with those who have fallen through the literacy cracks and struggle with even the most basic levels of writing, reading and numeracy. It creates a separateness and isolates through embarrassment and usually unfounded feelings of being stupid or inadequate.

September 2- 8 is Adult Learners’ Week. The week incorporates International Literacy Day on September 8 and here at the Christchurch City Libraries, we have a wealth of resources to help increase literacy, whether you are a native speaker of English or not.

Libraries in your community are holding events during the week

You can also search our CINCH database to find community based programs aimed at improving and encouraging literacy, no matter where you are on the literacy ladder.  Your local library has easy readers aimed at adults and books that can test you and give you practice on essential skills.

Mango languageIf you are looking for ways to be a life long learner, check out the resources available at your local library and online. We also have a large number of resources for people learning English as a second language. Our Mango Languages database has lessons for Japanese, Korean and Mandarin speaking people wanting to learn English.

If you are someone who struggles with literacy in any way, there is help out there, and the first step you take will help you travel into a whole new world.

Women fly into Shirley Library

When the Wright brothers took to the air on December 17, 1903, it is quite possible that women around the world thought it was a great idea and took to the air too. On July 8, 1908, Thérèse Peltier is believed to have become the first woman to pilot a plane.

In Christchurch there has been a long tradition of women aviators and several of these women are members of the New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation (NZAWA).  Many members are recreational pilots, some fly competitively, whilst others have made a career out of flying commercially or with the Air Force.

I love flying, so it is a good thing I work at the Shirley Community Library. During the first three weeks of September our local members of the NZAWA will have a static display in the library.  Come on down and check it out. You don’t have to be a pilot; you just have to love flying.

If you have been bitten by the flying bug, here are my suggestions:

Flying equipment Flying equipment

Check out more photos of the display in our Flickr photostream.

The Inwoods: Picturing Canterbury

Photo of the Inwoods
The family of Arthur John Inwood (1850-1932) and his wife Angelina (1860?-1919) pictured outside their dwelling
[ca. 1900]
Arthur Inwood farmed in the Burwood area and gave his name to Inwoods Road.

Fiona Farrell talks about adapting Ngaio Marsh to the stage

Inside the Ngaio Marsh houseFiona Farrell has been adapting the Ngaio Marsh novel Photo Finish into a stage play SNAP! which is coming soon to the Court Theatre. She will talk about her task at the Elmwood Bowling Clubrooms, Heaton Street, Merivale on Sunday 15 September from 5pm to 7pm.

Photo Finish was one of the four Ngaio Marsh novels set in New Zealand. ( I seem to remember another involved someone crushed in a wool press and another offed in a mud pool – both truly Enzed ends). This one was written when she was over 80 years old, was well received and sold well. It was her second to last detective novel. It follows the traditional convention of a house party trapped in a storm except the venue was not a country house but a South Island luxury lodge.

The talk is a fund raiser for the Friends of Ngaio Marsh House. To book tickets, which are $25.00,  contact Philippa Bates The price includes wine or fruit juice, nibbles and a social half hour.

Ngaio Marsh House is a great cause to support. It is currently undergoing earthquake repairs and should reopen in September. It is well worth a visit. We have some photos which will give you a taster of what to expect when you visit.

Looking at our Christchurch Town Hall

Decision time comes today for the Christchurch Town Hall. Here are some resources on its history:

Here’s a plan from 29 August 1968, architects Warren and Mahoney. See here and here.

Plan of the Town Hall

Some images:
Christchurch Town HallTown Hall
Christchurch Town HallNorth East Christchurch Energy Group - CrowdChristchurch Town Hall view Storylines festival 2010  Christchurch Town Hall view
Christchurch Town Hall view
Christchurch Town Hall viewChristchurch Town HallChristchurch Town Hall

Big winners at the New Zealand Post Book Awards

Last night was a big booky shindig – the New Zealand Post Book Awards. I stayed up past my bedtime following the  #nzpba hashtags on Twitter last night – and there is still action on it this morning as people discuss the winners.

Take a gander at the 2013 winners and get them out of your local library – top notch reads one and all:

Cover of The big music Cover of Nga Waituhi o Rehua Cover of Patched Cover of The Darling North Cover of Hanly Cover of Shelter from the storm Cover of Civilisation

New Zealand Post Book of the year and Fiction winner

The big music Kirsty Gunn (Faber & Faber)

Māori Language Award

Dame Katerina Te Heikōkō Mataira for Ngā Waituhi o Rēhua (Huia Publishers)

People’s Choice Award



Illustrated non-fiction

Nielsen Booksellers Choice

Shelter from the Storm: The story of New Zealand’s backcountry huts Shaun Barnett, Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint (Craig Potton Publishing)

General non-fiction

New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards

Cover of I got his blood on me Cover of Graft Cover of Moa

NZSA Hubert Church Award for Fiction: I got his blood on me Lawrence Patchett (Victoria University Press)

NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry: Graft Helen Heath (Victoria University Press)

NZSA E.H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction: Moa: the life and death of New Zealand’s legendary bird Quinn Berentson (Craig Potton Publishing)

What’s going on at South Learning Centre for Adult Learner’s Week?

Adult Learners Week at South Learning Centre  in Colombo Street, Beckenham has a range of classes for you to choose from:

Wednesday 4 September Computer Drop In Classes 2.30-3.30pm
Bring along your own mobile device(iPad, Tablet, laptop, iPhone, Smartphone) to learn more about its functions and capabilities. If you don’t have one, feel free to use ours. Have you heard about The Web, Email, TradeMe, Facebook and Skype? Don’t worry come to learn in a relaxed and social environment with other like-minded adults.
Learn some new skills and adapt old ones to ever changing technologies.

Thursday 5 September Craft Group 1.30-3.30pm
Come and enjoy new company who are also keen crafty people. Share knitting, crochet or craft of your choice in this lovely social group.

Saturday 7 September Introduction to iPads 2-3.30pm
Learn the basics of an iPad in a relaxed, comfortable setting. It is self-paced learning – looking at the basics of home screen, finger navigation, connecting to a WiFi network as well as exploring the World Wide Web.

Sunday 8 September Create Your Own Slideshow 1.00-3.00pm
This is a chance to make more of your digital photos or your printed photographs. Bring along photos on a USB/memory stick or from your photo albums to create a digital slideshow accompanied by your favourite music. Your final product can be recorded onto a disc to take away and played through your DVD player or computer. It may sound complex but it is surprisingly easy!

Explore more Adult Learners’ Week events at our libraries.

Recent necrology, August 2013

cover of My music in London 1945-2000A list of well-known people who have died recently

  • John Amis, 1922-2013
    Musical impresario who worked with Myra Hess and Donald Swann and became a regular on My Music
  • Eydie Gorme, 1928-2013
    Singer who formed a successful double act with her husband Steve Lawrence
  • Elmore Leonard, 1925-2013
    Master of crime fiction who transcended the genre with novels such as Get Shorty, and, Glitz
  • Julie Harris, 1925-2013
    Actress of remarkable versatility whose six Tony Awards have not been equalled
  • Marian McPartland, 1918-2013
    Classically-trained, British-born pianist who made her name on New York’s jazz scene in the 1950s and presented a long-running jazz series on radio
  • cover of A river in the skyBarbara Mertz, 1927-2013
    American author who wrote under her own name as well as under the pseudonyms Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels
  • Cedar Walton, 1934-2013
    Pianist and composer behind some of the finest pieces in ‘hard bop’ jazz
  • Yoram Kaniuk, 1930-2013
    Jewish novelist who fought for the creation of Israel but did no like what the state went on to become

Very interesting postcards: 1902

View in our collection

Find out about local Printers, Stationers, Paper Merchants, Etc. in the The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] , 1903 (NZETC).

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

The future plans of the Christchurch Arts Centre

photo of the Christchurch Arts CentreOur blog has often commented on events at the Arts Centre as it was at the heart of much Christchurch cultural activity. Having it closed following the earthquakes was a huge blow to Christchurch people. Now it is being lovingly repaired and restored. Little milestones have started to appear – the old Registry building is now usable and the Arts festival Spiegel tent is currently pitched in the Market Square. You can follow the painstaking process on the the Arts Centre with their regular Tumblr postings.

Tiny treasures are uncovered, the stonework is repaired with beautiful creamy limestone blocks, heroic workmen literally scoop out tiny areas of foundation with buckets and shovels before they add steel reinforcing and so on. What we will get in the end is a lovely piece of Christchurch history that we can all enjoy again.

Many of us will have memories – maybe as a student when it was still Canterbury University, perhaps going to music or ballet classes, going to a movie or just hanging out – in a sunny quad, at the weekend market, over a coffee or a drink in a cafe and so on. One of my favourite memories is sitting on the grass in the Quad on a mild summer evening watching a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which starred the beautiful tree as the centrepiece of the staging. Magic. I’d love that to return.

Right now the Arts Centre trust is running a public consultation on its future plans. There is a draft vision and an online survey you can take. Why not help them formulate their plans – the centre was established for the citizens of Christchurch first and foremost.