The Read Harder Challenge

Book cover of the paying guestsI always begin the year with great intentions of completing a million reading challenges, and inevitably my enthusiasm tapers off after the first few months. (I love how Robyn manages to make one book count for many categories. I might have to steal that trick later in the year.) This time I’ve decided to attempt the Read Harder Challenge 2015 because it looks fun and might make me read a bit wider, which is one of my more attainable New Year resolutions (she says optimistically).

So far I seem to be doing pretty well just from reading books I wanted to read anyway, but looking ahead I can see some difficulties. Can anyone recommend an entertaining self-help book? Or a published author under the age of 25?

Book cover of the strange libraryHere’s what I’ve managed to tick off:

Is anyone else doing a reading challenge?

International Children’s Book Day

Book cover of ThumbelinaInternational Children’s Book Day is celebrated every year on 2 April, which is also Hans Christian Andersen‘s birthday.  It is a special day where we celebrate children’s books and encourage children to read.  We have lots of fantastic books from all over the world in our libraries, in lots of different forms.

Here are some ideas of ways that you could celebrate International Children’s Book Day:

Te Kupu o te Wiki – The Word of the Week

Kia ora. To celebrate Te Reo Māori we are publishing kupu (words).

Kīwaha (colloquialism)

Kāore e kore!
Without a doubt.

Kupu (word)


I hea koe i te wā o te Aranga?
Where were you for Easter?



This week in Christchurch history (30 March to 5 April)

Plans for New Regent Street
Drawings & Proposed New Street connecting Armagh & Gloucester Street showing roadway & front elevation west to New Regent Street, CCCPlans New-Regent-28-4

30 March 1883
Two young boys die of exposure on the Port Hills. Monuments can still be seen near the Rapaki Track.

31 March 1863
21 Canterbury military volunteers sail north on “Phoebe” for duty in the Waikato land wars.

1 April 1932
New Regent Street opens, built on the site of the old Colosseum.

1 April 1949
Sign of the Takahe opens. This was the completion of the Summit Road developments begun by Harry Ell in 1908.

Photograph of Sign of the Takahe in the making [ca. 1927]
Sign of the Takahe in the making [ca. 1927], CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0086
3 April 1967
Re-built Ferrymead Bridge opens.

5 April 1844
Frederick Tuckett and a party including surveyors, land at Lyttelton from the “Deborah” looking for a suitable site for a Scottish settlement in the South Island. They subsequently got lost in the swamps, so it is not surprising that their eventual choice was Otago, not Canterbury.

More March and April events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

Shakespearean Spinach – Auckland Writers Festival and beyond

Cover of Shakespeare Saved My Life, by Laura BatesIt’s tricky to write anything new about a man born 450 years ago, tricky to sum up what an impact he’s had on the world with words, just words. After thousands and thousands of adaptations and spin offs, it seems there’s always more to say and always a new angle to take. That’s why I’m fascinated to see what they have to say about Shakespeare in the Auckland Writers Festival free session: Shakespearean Spinach. Notre Dame University professor Peter Holland will be talking about what Popeye, the Dude, R2-D2 and Quentin Tarantino have to do with Shakespeare. If you’re in Auckland for the festival, come alone to this free session and find out!

Closer to home, see who else is coming to the WORD Christchurch events in May, or if you need a Shakespearean fix right away, head along to the Canterbury Repertory Theatre’s production of Richard the Third on till March 28th. 

Or even closer to home (in fact you don’t even have to leave your home) you can join in with the Big Library Read and read Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard, on till April the 1st.

There are hundreds of books in our collection on the topic of Cover of Shakespeare: The Bard's Guide to Abuses and AffontsShakespeare, and even more in our e-book collection, including an incredibly valuable resource of insults, Shakespeare: The Bard’s Guide to Abuses and Affronts, available through Overdrive.

You can also kick back with Naxos Video Library’s collection of Shakespearean plays, which you can stream through library computers or at home with a library card and PIN.

Then you can search our catalogue for Shakepearean DVDs, graphic novels, audiobooks, and so much more

This is only brushing the surface of everything the library can offer when it comes to Shakespeare, as we can only really brush the surface of the impact he’s made on the world. On a personal note I, for one, probably wouldn’t exist at all without him, because my parents met through a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That starts off a train of thought about the countless number of connections people have made with each other through Shakespeare over the last centuries. Do you have any serendipitous connections in your life relating to the Bard of Avon?

Make music at Peterborough Street’s Sound garden

GAP Filler’s Sound Garden will be officially launched at 100 Peterborough Street Thursday 26th March, 5pm-6pm so come along and create an alternative beat for our city.

BOOM bang buzz, wine wheeze WHOMP, squeak squawk SMACK, clang clatter CRACK these are the sounds of our city! These days the rumbling of mortar grinding and the jangling of steel being dragged from demolished buildings is a constant background noise to our city life’s beat. The lovely people from GAP filler and Greening the Rubble and a pack of volunteers from the neighbourhood including myself from Central Library Peterborough have got together to create Sound Garden 2.0.

Photo of the Peterborough Street Sound garden under constructionOn a wet rainy day its was delightful to see so many people turn out and get stuck in to creating something for us to all enjoy. In this case a rubble strewn car park has been transformed into a whimsical palace where you have the opportunity to create music from improvised instruments or just have some fun. It is a great opportunity to bring the kids back into town and explore our new inner city.

Volunteering gives you a warm fuzzy feeling and I got to meet the lovely people from Greening the Rubble and GAP filler who have created so many wonderful transformations and our Amy Mountney the first artist resident of Life in vacant spaces’ microhouse. After heaving our wheelbarrows full of mushroom and arboriculture mulch and getting down and dirty planting our flower beds, I was rewarded with the sense of satisfaction that comes from creating something new and working with a great team.

The Sound Garden is a lovely for a picnic with the kids or you can pick up a coffee and something to eat from the food trucks handily located next door or indulge in a spot of retail therapy at Arts Central which is full of artisan goodies. It is a great opportunity to bring the kids back into town and explore our new inner city you have the opportunity to create music from improvised instruments or just have some fun.

Pop across to Central Peterborough Street Library, pick up the GAP filler mini golf clubs (deposit required) for the GAP filler mini golf course and take the opportunity connect to our free wi-fi and borrow some books we have the biggest range of children’s books or choose from our massive range of magazines and check out our foreign language collection.

Come on you know you want to!

Search our library catalogue for :

Our set of Soundgarden images.

Kia ora New Central Library

Kia ora. Take a look at your New Central Library.
New Central Library

Here is some information from today’s media release (Thursday 26 March 2015):

Christchurch City Council today agreed to call for expressions of interest from contractors to build a new library of about 9,850 m2 at a total cost of up to $85 million.

Along with digital, specialist and print collections the Central Library will have a cafe, 200-seat community arena, exhibition space, outdoor terraces, and areas for families, children and youth.

Libraries and Information Manager Carolyn Robertson says the New Central Library facilities and lay out are based on 2,400 ideas from residents collected during last year’s Your Library, Your Voice campaign.

Through clever design we’ll provide the mix of family-friendly areas and quiet places people told us they wanted. The New Central Library will be able to offer programmes that were never possible in our old building. We’ll have activity rooms for things like craft sessions, as well as a film and editing unit and a music studio. I’m looking forward to holding author talks in the community arena.

New Zealand company Architectus worked in partnership  with Danish library experts schmidt hammer lassen (all lower case) and project director Carsten Auer says the design was developed in discussion with Ngāi Tahu and the Ngāi Tūāhuriri rūnanga.

Outdoor terraces and openings on upper floors face culturally significant points in the Canterbury landscape such as Horomaka / Pātaka o Rākaihautū  (Banks Peninsula) and Maungatere (Mt Grey).

The ground floor is a public space that’s an extension of Cathedral Square. We want people to feel like they belong here and, once they’re inside, we want to make access to information as easy as possible.”

Interior ground floor - atrium

Scratch and grab

Cover of Chicken Whisperer's Guide to To Keeping ChickensWhen I told various people we were thinking of getting a couple of hens they assured me we would love having them. My thoughts were more along the lines of: chooks = garden turned over and manured = eggs. Not ‘chooks – I’ll love having them in our life’.

The first few nights of the fat bottomed girls being in residence in the coop involved our flatmate climbing into the coop, showing the girls where the roosting bar was and physically lifting them into place. A new ramp was made, the f-b girls learnt to motor up it in no time and the flatmate went back to having a life.

Cover of Dirty ChickWe are quite besotted with the big footed raiders already, but due to space restraints we’ve stopped there. Otherwise there would be a couple of pigs grubbing around somewhere as per Antonia Murphy, author of Dirty Chick. She moved to New Zealand from the US, her pipe dream being to have a bit of land, some chickens etc. Things get a bit out of hand and ever so slightly stressful as her stock wander the neighbourhood amongst other things. Let’s say she takes to country life with gusto… I wouldn’t say she calmly bestrides the chaos, but she copes with great humour and I am quite envious of her menagerie.

Cover of The Chicken ChroniclesAlice Walker on the other hand had been raised with chickens for eggs and meat and finding herself living in Mexico realised they were missing from her life. Enter Gertrude Stein, Babe, Glorious, Rufus and Agnes of God, turning her thinking to the interdependence of humans and the chickens. The Chicken Chronicles is more a memoir of a journey.

Meanwhile at Chez Bishi, and I can’t say we weren’t warned, Camilla and Priscilla have been escaping their carefully established playground away from my vegetable gardens and been caught scratching and grabbing with the odd guilty glance over the shoulder and then running away when in danger of being put back in the playground. The kids would never have got away with what these two chicks manage.

Are you thinking of taking on some egg laying devices? Still sitting on the roost perhaps? Afraid you might find yourself clucking round the garden with small feathered friends in tow? Take the plunge: you’ll be in good company.

To read or not to read that is the question: Overdrive’s Big Library Read!

KTT The big library ReadNow we all know that eBooks are now an accepted and popular way to experience the written word. What better way to experience this phenomenon than with a global love-in and read-in with the Bard?

As of right now you can go to the OverDrive website and check out Shakespeare Saved My Life : Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates as part of the Big Library Read. The Big Library Read allows unlimited check outs until the end of March on a selected eBook in OverDrive libraries the world over. For example, somewhere in Ireland a beautiful Irish Colleen is reading this eBook just as you could be! Cosmic!

The eBook itself looks fabulous. Kirkus reviews calls it:

An eye-opening study reiterating the perennial power of books, self-discipline, and the Bard of Avon.

Basically the eBook is about how a Shakespeare professor and prison volunteer called Laura Bates decides to teach Shakespeare in solitary confinement. Here she creates an unlikely bond with Larry Newton, a convicted murderer with several escape attempts under his belt and an agile mind on his shoulders. Thus begins the most unlikely of friendships.

Sounds brilliant. All you need is your library card number and password/PIN and you will have a happy alternative to watching that horrendous TV programme The Bachelor NZ which I definitely do not watch…

Te Kupu o te Wiki – The Word of the Week

Kia ora. To celebrate Te Reo Māori we are publishing kupu (words).

Kīwaha (colloquialism)

Kei mahurangi kē koe.
You are away with the fairies.

Kupu (word)

hang on / wait.

Taihoa kia hoki mai a Māmā.
Wait for Mum to get back.