Science – not just for scientists

Cover of 365 More Simple Science ExperimentsScience is fun. Science is cool. Science is everywhere. Science is at your library.

Science Alive are free drop-in science sessions from 3:30pm – 4:30pm at your local library. This is an after school science programme presented by Science Alive. Excellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week.

If you can’t wait for the next Science Alive session, we have a great collections of books and eResources that have science experiments and activities you can do at home.

At Science Alive, I have learnt that insects are very good at hiding. In buildings, triangles are stronger than squares. Some crystals are huge. Paper gliders can fly a long way if you make them properly. What have you learnt?

Programmes run during term time except the first week and no bookings are required.

Cover of  Science a children's encyclopedia Cover of Science Experiments Cover of 101 Cool Science Experiments

Rude Monsters, Hungry Cakes and Dinosaur Scientists

Some of my favourite books are full of adventure but also make me laugh. They can take you to space, the high seas or travel back in time, but they also feature silly monsters, hungry cakes and dinosaur scientists.

If these sound like books that you would like to read we have a great booklist just for you – If you like…funny adventure stories for kids. A couple of my favourite books from this list are Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve and The Deadly Seven by Garth Jennings.

Cakes in Space is the story of Astra, a girl who is getting ready to travel to a new planet with her family. They have to travel for many years to get to this planet, so they have to be cryogenically frozen and sleep the whole time. Just before she is ready to get put to sleep Astra decides she is hungry and goes to find the giant machine on the ship that makes food.  This machine can make any food you wish and Astra asks for cake. She presses the buttons but nothing happens and no food appears. She rushes back to her sleeping pod with an empty stomach and gets put to sleep. She wakes up many years later but she is the only one on the ship who is awake. Something has gone wrong and Astra is not the only thing wandering the corridors of her ship. Giant, mutant cakes, with huge teeth are all over the ship and they are hungry!  It’s up to Astra to save her ship and her family. You’ll never look at cakes the same way again.  It’s a really funny and action-packed read, with aliens that you’ve never heard of before.

The Deadly Seven is about Nelson, who is just an ordinary boy until the day he falls onto a mysterious machine that has been hidden away in a church for many years. Little does he know that this machine has extracted the seven deadly sins from him. Now he’s being followed around by seven noisy, smelly, rude monsters. When Nelson’s sister is kidnapped on a school trip it’s up to Nelson and his monster friends to find her and bring her home. The Deadly Seven is a laugh-out-loud read, with a bunch of funny monsters that you’ll love.

If you like the sound of these great books you can get them from the Library, or reserve them for free if they are out. Check out our If you like…funny adventure stories booklist for more stories like these, or look at our other kids booklists to find your next read.

Celebrate Children’s Day

Children's Day 2015Children’s Day is a special day to spend time with your family that is celebrated on the first Sunday in March.  We have lots of ideas on our website about ways you could celebrate Children’s Day, including visiting one of our awesome libraries.

Streets Children’s Day is happening this Sunday at Air Force Museum, from 10am – 3pm. There are heaps of really cool activities, including face painting, crafts, games and bouncy castles, and they’re all FREE!  There are lots of different groups to meet at Streets Children’s Day too.  You could learn all about Scouts, the Air Force, the NZ Police and NZ Fire Service, and netball and rugby clubs.

We’ll also be there to tell everyone about our fantastic libraries and events.  Come to our stand to try our book character quiz or hear a story.  We’ll even be sharing some exciting stories at the main stage at 11:10 and 12:40.

Get out and enjoy this special day just for children!

Under 5 Fest

Under 5 Fest PosterThe much-anticipated Under 5 Fest is coming up. It is a special event for young children run by the excellent educators of Science Alive. Kids get to experience fun hands-on science activities and exhibits. There will be a petting zoo and storytimes. Kids can play with air and sound, amazing mirrors, and giant building blocks. Our own librarians will be there  – providing a storytelling session at 10:30 am on the weekdays.

Under 5 Fest runs from 6th to the 12th of March 2015, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm daily and will be held at the Table Tennis Canterbury Stadium, 294 Blenheim Road, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch. The cost is $6 per person, but the under 2s get in for free. For group bookings or more information phone 03 365 5199 or you can email

Science Alive also have a cool after school science programme in ten of our libraries across Christchurch.

Science Alive imageExcellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week!

Programmes run during term time except the first week and no bookings are required.

For more sciencey goodness for kids, check out the following library resources:

Here are some pics and the poster, kindly supplied to us by Science Alive.



Winter sports are a cinch with CINCH!

Cover of Children's Book of SportIt’s that time of year again. Junior sports clubs are gearing up for the winter sports season. It is time to get your children registered for their sport of choice.

A great resource you can use to find a club near you is the Libraries’ CINCH (Community INformation CHristchurch) directory which lists the sports clubs in the Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri areas.

To save you time (we like to be helpful like that!), we have prepared some search links for you. Once you have clicked on one of the links below, you can then click on the locations shown in the left hand column to find the clubs nearest to you.

  • Soccer
    Would your child enjoy the beautiful game?
  • Rugby
    New Zealand’s game of choice
  • Rugby League
    Is your child a future Kiwi or Kiwi Fern?
  • Hockey
    Is there a future Olympian at your house?
  • Netball
    Customarily the first choice for the girls

New Zealand has a wonderful tradition of sport fields filled with children on a Saturday morning. Most clubs have midget grades for the 4- to 6-year-olds, so it’s never too soon to start them. Plus watching the little ones is seriously cute! Have a chat with your wee one today.

Papanui Library

Reading to dogs

Christchurch City Libraries Reading to Dogs programme is designed to provide a relaxed, non-threatening atmosphere which encourages children to practice their reading skills and develop a love of reading.

Reading to dogs

The programme uses rescue-dogs who are now the beloved pets of the Christchurch City Council Animal Control team. These furry friends have all been trained and tested for health, safety and temperament.

Library staff and a dog handler will be present at all times to help facilitate the sessions.

South Library 66 Colombo Street
Wednesdays 3.30pm – 4.30pm, starting February 11th

Papanui Library 35 Langdons Road
Thursdays 3.30pm – 4.30pm, starting February 12th
Each session is 15 minutes long. Bookings are essential, please call 941 7923

See our calendar of Reading to Dogs events.

Reading to dogs

More about Reading to Dogs

Our dogs:
• Can increase a child’s relaxation while reading
• Listen attentively
• Do not laugh, judge or criticise
• Allow children to proceed at their own pace
• Can be less intimidating than a child’s peers

Reading aloud is critical when children are learning. However, many children have difficulties reading and become self conscious when reading in front of their peers. Libraries and schools around the world have found that by sitting down and reading to a friendly dog, a child’s fear of being judged or laughed at ‘over mistakes’ disappears. Over time, the child’s reading ability and self-confidence improves and they begin to associate reading with a pleasant experience.

Holiday fun at the Learning Centres

Successful holiday programmes at South and Upper Riccarton had many happy children tasting new technologies and having lots of fun.

  • Clay animation – children created fun clay characters for their animated stories.
  • Family Games Fun – online, board and action games were great challenges for all.
  • Whizz Bang Pop – lots of fun iPad story apps with complimenting craft activities to make children and parents very happy.
  • 3D Tinker Workshop – students grappled with 3D software design to create helicopters then delved further into 3D wire sculpting, paper craft and Hama beads. There were lots of new experiences.

Find out more about Library Learning Centres.

P1030473 Family Game Time 3D Doodler Pen Claymation

New Minecraft map built by the students

Keep calm and mine P1030951 _TNT _Tree P1040024

Every few terms or so at the Minecraft club here at the Christchurch City Libraries, our map becomes a little “messy” and a bit of “griefing” begins to creep in. When this happens and the current students attending the club decide enough is enough, we create a new blank world map. This time around we decided to do something a little different. We got two of the students from Riccarton High School to build a new one for us. Below is a video showing the “builders” of the map explaining their rationale for the design and the subsequent reaction to it from the other students.

South Learning Centre

Gavin Bishop and Digital Stories at eBook Club

2014 ended with a flurry of creativity for the budding story tellers of eBook club at the South Learning Centre. After Skype interviewing our local legend, illustrator and author Gavin Bishop, the crew, armed with some great advice on how to become a successful story teller, began illustrating and creating their own digital story.

Gavin Bishop Skype Interview
Gavin Bishop Skype Interview
Ebook Club 2014

Some took inspiration from author Warren Pohatu and others created their own legend using Keynote and Paint.Net.

Many thanks to Gavin for generously sharing his wisdom and time.

Check out two of the stories from our fine young folk.

South Learning Centre

Spend Summer with friends

Cover of Meet the BigfeetSummer is the perfect time for hanging out with friends. This Summer you might hang out with old friends or make some new friends. Books are the perfect place for doing this. You might hang out with Greg Heffley, Percy Jackson, or Hermione Granger. I’ve made a new friend recently called Blizz Richards, from Kevin Sherry’s new book, Meet the Bigfeet (the first book in The Yeti Files series).

We can help you make new friends by introducing you to new books and authors. Try our ‘If you like…’ lists and our Holiday Reading Guide for some fantastic suggestions. You could also enter our Summertime Reading Club for your chance to win awesome prizes.

Here are a couple of cool videos that some talented guys from Yoobee Design School have created that feature some of your book friends.