Shirley Library will remain open during its 9-week repair programme

Kia ora Shirley Library customers! We are happy to report Shirley Library will remain open during its 9-week repair programme.

Shirley Library

From Monday 24 August 2015, Christchurch City Council is repairing the Shirley Library, near The Palms, at 36 Marshlands Road. The repairs are relatively minor and the library will remain open during the repairs. There will be some visible changes such as areas closed off or shelves moved while the repair and refurbishing work is done.

Work will take about 9 weeks and is expected to run from Monday 24 August to Monday 12 October.

As your safety is important, the Christchurch City Council and Libraries staff ask for your cooperation with all signage and warnings on site during the repair.

We look forward to mid-October when the repairs and refurbishment will be completed.

Read our news post on the repairs.

From Kip to Glen

Envelope. Addressed to Glen Morgan Esq. Rangiora. New Zealand. Date stamp 4 Oct 1942
Envelope. Addressed to Glen Morgan Esq. Rangiora. New Zealand. Date stamp 4 Oct 1942. ANZC Archives, CCL-C81111945-001

They were signed off Howard, or more informally Kip, and most were written to his friend Glen Morgan in Rangiora. Nothing particularly remarkable in that, at first sight, but Kip was in fact Howard Kippenberger, who historian Glyn Harper has described as “New Zealand’s most popular military commander, and perhaps its most talented.”

His letters and cards, which have recently been added to our digitised collection, span the period from 22 February 1940 to 18 February 1945 and offer a fascinating insight in the life of New Zealand soldiers in World War II.

752/11. Christmas 1942. Card to Glen from Howard from the Middle East. Sent in October.
Christmas 1942. Card to Glen from Howard from the Middle East. ANZC Archives, CCL-C81111945-042

We meet Kippenberger in Egypt, where he is in charge of the 20th Canterbury/Otago Battalion, and where he experiences “the most bitter disappointment of my life” as a result of the lack of involvement of his Battalion in the routing of the Italians from Egypt.

We then follow him to Syria, where he is commanding all the troops in the Aleppo area, including some French, Syrian and British soldiers, and where he is dealing with the local Governor and the French delegate.

Lastly we move to the UK, where we find out that Kippenberger “will be starting to learn to walk again soon“, having lost both feet in an anti-personnel mine accident near Monte Cassino.

Kippenberger’s personal experiences are interesting per se, but the letters offer much more.

My romantic streak was sparked by descriptions of the living quarters:

You will imagine us on the Libyan frontier, sweltering in the desert, close to action.

Well we’re not, at the moment. We’re doing important enough work and having an interesting time, but living in near luxury. My H.Q. are in the Kasr el Nil Barracks. I occupy part of the old Khedivial palace, sharing two rooms with a Scots Guards Major, having meals on a mahogany table on the balcony above the Nile, a charming scene with moonlight on the river, candles & palms.

Similarly, I was intrigued by Kippenberger’s depiction of a captured Italian general:

He has been moaning like a bull at his perfectly good treatment …has been hunger striking & generally acting like a goat.

And who couldn’t be touched by the following vignettes of the soldiers’ lives in his letter of 7 December 1940?

Censoring letters the other day I came on this. One boy writing to his girl friend described how he’d  saved his water allowance for days until he had enough for a bath.

Pete Smart managed to get tight last night & for reasons clearer to him then than later decided to … stay the night [at a friends’ camp] & arrived back this morning …wearing a dishevelled & shame-faced look.

And, of course, some things never change, as this comment about the frustration of not taking part in the battle against the Italians in December 1940, demonstrates:

Only consolation is that the Aussies aren’t in it either.

View all of Kippenberger’s letters and cards, including his trenchant overview of Political systems, 1940s style.

National Geographic Virtual Library – your world from home

Blog13P-RF0534-K12Apart from death and taxes there are few guarantees in this life. One thing you can count on though is if you pick up a magazine with a yellow frame on its cover then it will invariably be a National Geographic. High standards since 1888 has meant this magazine has a worldwide circulation in the millions. National Geographic has not just raised public awareness of the importance of natural places and wildlife, it has also actively funded scientific research including that of mountain gorilla expert Dian Fossey and discoverer of the sunken Titanic, Robert Ballard.

Now this beautiful and informative content can be viewed online at the National Geographic Virtual Library. This is particularly useful if all that is on TV is some awful cooking or dating show. The virtual library allows you to access all articles, maps and award-winning images from 1888 onwards. You can search by  location, subject or just browse through hundreds of stunning magazine covers.

We also have access to National Geographic Kids which is the only kids brand with a world-class scientific organisation at its core. This eResource allows electronic access to the kids magazine and articles on every known subject. I mean who doesn’t want to know that night-time rainbows are called moonbows or that the sky on Mars is pink? Personally I think it is sweet that dinosaur bones were mistaken for dragon bones when they first discovered 2,000 years ago!

If you are looking for answers to or just want to spend some time with something beautiful and clever then all you need is your library card number, password / PIN to access these joyful eResources. Indulge.