It’s time for a change. We’ve been blogging on this site since way back in 2007. From 2014, we’ve published blog posts on this blog and also on our BiblioCommons website. From January 2019, we will be publishing only on the BiblioCommons website.
“It is my first time to see Korean books in a library!” an elated Donggi Jun said when he saw the shelves of books in his native Korean, a part of the World Languages Collection Ngā Reo o te Ao / World Languages, Auahatanga | Creativity, Level 4 of Tūranga.
Jun hails from South Korea but has been a Christchurch resident for years. “I’m so happy to see lots of popular authors. A lot of us miss our country. These books will be a source of comfort,” added the 58-year-old who also renewed his library membership card so he can start borrowing Korean books “as often as I can”.
Jun is only one of many migrants who were delighted to see the World Languages Collection since Tūranga opened on Friday 12 October. The collection aimed to reflect the thriving cultural diversity of Christchurch. It enables migrant communities to maintain a connection with their language and culture, as well as provide study materials for English language learners.
Olivier Hoel, who left France to work in Christchurch a year ago, was thankful to find his beloved French titles housed at Tūranga:
“It was a great surprise when I saw them first at Peterborough Library and now, they’re here, more accessible in a such a lovely place.”
Visitors to the city were equally impressed. “We are in the wrong city! How come you have this!?” a South African visiting from Wellington exclaimed while lifting an edition of the Afrikaans magazine Rooi rose from the rack. She was also able to find a book in the Afrikaans section written by a friend, quickly getting a snapshot for Instagram.
German tourist Horst Schnidt was also pleased. Looking up from reading the pages of German periodical Der Spiegel, he commented, “This new library is in itself amazing. But having items in various languages like German makes it more special.”
The collection has been well-used. An average of 30 items are being marked “used” every day, at times peaking up at 50. This doesn’t include the many more being borrowed. Many customers also joined the library or renewed their membership (like Jun) just to access the collection.
ESOL tours have proven to be quite popular as well. Over 350 individuals from various cultural backgrounds have been toured around Tūranga since its opening and shown World Languages materials (adult and children’s) including the eResources they can access from the library website. Among them were students from Hagley Community College, Papanui High School (Adult ESOL Department), and Wilkinson’s English School.
“The ESOL items are a big help to me,” said Chinese student Rita Xu who was also thrilled to see the Chinese books section, the most extensive in the collection. “My friends will be happy. I will tell them about it.”
The collection, however, is not only popular with English language learners but also with students of other languages. For instance, German language students from Hagley College were keen on the German books and magazines that could aid them master German.
No doubt, the World Languages Collection in Tūranga is a hit. As Anne Scorgie from South Africa puts it, “Having this collection shows that Christchurch is really now recognising its growing diversity. It’s a great step.”
“You know, my motto is ‘Excelsior.’ That’s an old word that means ‘upward and onward to greater glory.’ … Keep moving forward, and if it’s time to go, it’s time. Nothing lasts forever.”
– Stan Lee
It was with great sadness that I read that comic-book legend Stan Lee passed away on Monday 12 November, at the age of 95. As a huge Marvel fan, I grew up with a (not so mild) obsession with the X-Men, and Stan Lee’s passing came as a sad blow, despite his age. Stan inspired so many with his amazing sense of humour, and his relatable creations that pushed the boundaries and redefined pop-culture.
Born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922, Lee was a comic-book editor, publisher, and writer whose prolific career spanned more than seven decades. Starting his comics career in 1939, Lee’s big break came in 1950, when he was tasked with creating a new team of superheroes following DC comics revamping of the Flash. Enter Lee’s first creation – the Fantastic Four.
The Fantastic Four were followed by many more immensely popular superheroes, like the incredible Hulk, the X-Men, Spider-Man, Thor, and Black Panther. Lee’s characters and writing revolutionised superhero comics, which were previously aimed at children and preteens, by diversifying characters and content. Despite having amazing superpowers, Lee’s characters are also undeniably human, with human flaws and vulnerabilities.
If you’re looking for an entertaining read that gives some more insight into Stan Lee’s colourful life and career, I’d highly recommend flicking through Lee’s autobiography, Amazing Fantastic Incredible. Presented in graphic novel format, this book is as colourful as the author, and uses his trademark sense of humour to present key points in his life.
Stan Lee’s contribution to pop-culture and graphic novels can’t be understated. As mentioned in his autobiography, he “put the human in superhuman” and is one of the most legendary names in graphic novel history. He will be greatly missed, but will never cease to inspire others to create. His legacy lives on in his creations, and in the hearts of his fans.
The Amazing Spider-Man – A list of Stan Lee creations is not complete without Spider-Man, who remains one of his most popular characters. Action-packed, relatable , and hilariously witty, Spider-Man is a definite must-read for Stan Lee fans.
Black Panther– Stan Lee’s Black Panther is another example of Lee’s influence on comics, as T’Challa (the Black Panther) was the first superhero of colour to appear in mainstream comics. The comic’s popularity has continued with Black Panther’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, and the 2018 Black Panther film.
Extraordinary X-Men – A particular favourite of mine, Stan Lee’s X-Men showcases the diversity and humanization that Lee brought to superheroes. The colourful, creative and humanly flawed mutants have since featured in various books, TV series, and films since 1963.
The Mighty Thor – Thor is one of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s non-human superheroes, inspired by the Norse god of thunder.
This week Jack Hartley filled me in on why he writes Young Adult fiction and what it means to him.
Jack, what motivated you to write this novel?
I started writing this text as a screenplay when I was 17. I was frustrated because I couldn’t find a book that was written from a guy’s perspective, a genuine voice, so I decided that I would be the one to attempt to do that.
Describe this book.
This book has drama, mystery and romance components. It’s also about mental health and what that can look like for a young person. The main character Judd is having what you could say was an existential crisis. He absorbs himself in drawing to possibly escape the reality of his life in which his parents who are constantly fighting.
I enjoy classics like Romeo and Juliet, I like love stories but love stories that don’t necessarily have happy endings. Happy endings are not always realistic. I like James Franco and his short stories because they are weird and messed up. But tell the truth of what it’s like to be young.
In your busy life how do you find time to write?
It took me five years to write the screenplay of All the other days. When I finished my Psychology degree in 2016, I went back to complete my teaching degree last year. This made me miserable so I left teachers college and I spent the next six weeks writing full time to adapt the screenplay into a novel. My Psychology degree helped me immensely in my character development for this novel.
Are you working on anything else?
Yes I am writing two more books at the moment, one of them is about young people and mental health and is focused on actions shaping your life when you are young. The other is a time travelling romance mystery.
Have you got any advice for new writers who are wanting to be published?
Just go for it. Writing is something if you’re passionate about you’ll do regardless of getting published. If you get published then that’s awesome, but don’t let that be the thing that stops you from writing or not.
Jack was interviewed by Greta Christie, Youth Librarian at Tūranga
Nearly eight years on, the yearning for a vibrant city centre still persists, but there is hope. Hope captured in the moments of collective celebration; the intimacy between two young students; the connection between friends and neighbours as they work, live and play – all within the boundaries of an inner city reinventing itself. In fact, more than hope, there is sense of quiet wonder and anticipation captured by Thomas Herman, Elise Williams and Summer Robson in the fourth and latest instalment of The Christchurch Documentary Project: Inside the Four Avenues, 2018.
The Christchurch Documentary Project is a collaboration between Christchurch City Libraries and the University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts. Internship positions are offered to photography students in their 3rd or 4th year of study with the brief to create a documentary photographic record of a Christchurch community. The work is then included in the Christchurch City Libraries Digital Heritage Collection.
To date, over 1000 images have been made of communities across our city; beginning with the Halswell Project in 2015, Edge of the East in 2016, Bishopdale in 2017 and now the central city. Collectively these projects document the lives of Christchurch residents and the changing face of our communities as the city rebuilds and evolves after the Christchurch Earthquakes.
Come and celebrate with us as the exhibition for Inside the Four Avenues, 2018 launches at Tūranga on Wednesday 21 November 5:30pm.
The exhibition is on until 23 January 2019. It is outside the TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1.
Christchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.
Guests Rakesh Naidoo (Strategic Advisor Race Relations at the Human Rights Commission), Archna Tandon, and Jane Buckingham (University of Canterbury historian) discuss Indian migration to and settlement in New Zealand across the centuries.
Part I: History of Indian migration to and settlement in Aotearoa, including changes to immigration policy and its effects; key drivers for Indian migration; Indian international students
Part II: Being ‘Indian’ in New Zealand vs being ‘Punjabi’ etc in India; navigating multiple identities in multiple contexts
Part III: Factors that can enable and hinder successful settlement
We are happy to announce the winner of the family pass to the Royal New Zealand Ballet production of the Nutcracker at the Isaac Theatre Royal! A huge congratulations to Alexander and Greta. The details on your entry were so well thought out and precisely executed. The moveable curtains on a mini-track and the LED lights along the stage line were an added extra. The detailed illustration on the paintings on the wall, the fireplace, the cut-out windows, tree etc are gorgeous. Thank you again – Enjoy the ballet!
Alexander and Greta’s winning entry (8 and 5 years old)
This was an extraordinarily difficult task to judge! All entries were outstanding, and we thank you all for sending through such special creations.
Highly Commended Entries
One prize was simply not enough, so we have rummaged around to find some extra prizes to gift a few of our Highly Commended entries. Each of these entries will receive a goodie bag.
Another piece of exciting news! See an exhibition of Nutcracker Dioramas
We are excited to be able to display the entries from our Nutcracker Diorama competition at Te Hāpua: Halswell Library from Friday 9 November to Tuesday 27 November. Come along and see these amazing creations including the winner and highly commended entries.
If you entered the competition and would like your artwork back immediately, and would prefer it not be in this exhibition, please contact Clare at LibraryEvents@ccc.govt.nz to organise pick up. We know how much wonderful work and effort went into making your creations – and we want to make sure they are kept safe.
When Steely Dan’s Walter Becker died just over a year ago there was not an outpouring of grief like those public displays afforded to other recent celebrity deaths. However, in certain sections of the community his passing was as significant as the loss of Bowie, Prince and Lemmy. This community is largely filled with people who are of a certain age, malcontents and music snobs. I am proud to be part of this community.
As one half of Steely Dan, Walter Becker, along with Donald Fagen sold a whopping 40 million plus records, had hit singles that are still mainstays of “Classic Rock Radio” all while refusing to tour and maintaining a relationship with the press that could be best described as prickly. Their songs were sophisticated, drawing on jazz structures, top session players and offbeat, often subversive subject matter.
The studio was where Steely Dan were most comfortable creating classics, such as their 1977 album Aja, with a rotating cast of session musicians. In their relentless quest for studio perfection they tormented the most skillful musicians they could find with the highest of standards and multiple takes. All this quality control lead to Steely Dan being inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
In Major Dudes Barry Hoskyns compiles interviews and articles from across their singular career starting from their early days as a brilliant but relatively conventional band – they did tour in the early days – to their retreat into the studio. Steely Dan went on hiatus after releasing Gaucho in 1980 and the solo albums recorded by Fagen and Becker during this period are also covered in this book. The book ends with coverage of their celebrated reunion tours (they visited Christchurch twice – in 2007 and 2011) and albums including the Grammy winning Two Against Nature.
The wit, wisdom and attitude of Fagen and Becker are captured in articles written by respected music journalists including Sylvie Simmons, Robert Palmer and Charles Shaar Murray. The pieces are taken from a range of respected music publications including MOJO, Uncut, Rolling Stone and NME.
This is a lovingly put together collection using pieces ranging from in-depth interviews and reviews to short puff pieces. Occasionally, a harsh or uncomprehending review is included, just to balance out the praise. Major Dudes is a treasure trove for those who love the band and a great place for the curious to start their journey with the great Steely Dan.
Looking for more about Steely Dan? Check out Rocks Back Pages for a treasure trove about Steely Dan and a host of other bands.
Christchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from New Zealand’s only specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.
It is 125 years since New Zealand became the first country to allow women to vote in parliamentary elections. In this show, guests Vanisa Dhiru (National President of the National Council of Women of New Zealand), Katie Pickles (Historian of Women’s and Feminist History at the University of Canterbury) and Kym Hamilton (Tokona Te Raki) ponder the history of suffrage in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as the current state of women’s rights in the country. This show is proudly supported by the Ministry for Women’s Suffrage 125 Community Fund.
Part I: Brief overview of the Suffrage movement in Aotearoa New Zealand; who exactly was entitled to vote following the 1893 Electoral Act
Part II: Women’s rights and challenges in NZ 125 years since Suffrage
Part III: The need for a gender-equal NZ; the need to look at gender beyond stereotypes and beyond the binary