Services for the visually impaired

Librarians recently had some useful training by Tom Smith, the Accessible Information Consultant at the Blind Foundation. Here’s some useful information from Tom on things that can help anyone with visual impairment, and some other resources available at Christchurch City Libraries.

The Blind Foundation

The Blind Foundation Library offers books and magazines in audio, braille and etext to its clients around the country. Books and magazines are available via a postal service or can be downloaded to a device. The Blind Foundation has special rights under the Section 69 of The Copyright Act 1994.

If you are used to the Blind Foundation’s old daisy players and not interested in those it please spread the news that they now have an app called BookLink available through the Blind Foundation for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Newspapers will be added to the app, and an app for Windows PCs and Android devices will be developed in 2016.

For more information read more on the Blind Foundation website:

If you have low vision or dyslexia, you may now be able to access talking books through the Blind Foundation’s new app as an associate member. Contact the Blind Foundation for more information.

Accessibility on Apple devices

If you have low vision, poor hearing or problems with co-ordination, the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch all have great accessibility functions to make life easier. The Blind Foundation works with their clients to show them how to use these functions and customise the settings on their devices.

Find out more about accessibility on Apple devices:

Large print

Christchurch City Libraries

Large print
Search our catalogue for fiction and non–fiction books in large print.

eAudiobooks and audiobooks
We have two eAudiobook platforms you can borrow from: OverDrive and BorrowBox.

Find downloadable eAudiobooks in our catalogue.
Browse the latest downloadable eAudiobooks.
Search our catalogue for audiobooks.

Cover of Searching for Grace Kelly Cover of The Invention of childhood Cover of The red eagles

An easy–to–use audio player provided by the library and ready loaded with up to 80 hours of listening. It can fit in your pocket and go anywhere with you. Search our catalogue for playaway.

Talking books
Fiction and non–fiction items recorded on a variety of other formats e.g. tape or CD. Search our catalogue for talking books.

A list of DVDs that include captions for the hearing impaired. Search our catalogue for captioned DVDs.

Find out more about library resources for people with visual and/or hearing impairments.

Darryl Barnaby & Donna Robertson

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Christchurch City Libraries

Our 2016 Year of the Monkey celebrations at Christchurch City Libraries are underway! There are fun activities for the Chinese New Year, including:

Year of the monkey

  • Library scavenger hunt – quizzes, Chinese Zodiac Challenge and lantern riddles: simple quizzes to get to know your library, make a quest on the Chinese Zodiac, solve the Chinese lantern riddles to get your brain exercised.
  • Chinese New Year Colouring in: great for adults and kids.

  • A display on researching Chinese family history in New Zealand – interesting historical photos, articles from family history databases, research done by library family history expert – looking into the life of early Chinese settlers in New Zealand.
  • Bilingual storytelling: bilingual stories from library staff on Chinese New Year, learn simple Mandarin and get your body moving.
  • Family Fun Day

Learn how to use your iPad or laptop at the library – join our classes

Been given an iPad or laptop for Christmas and it’s still in the box? Well do something about it. Come to the Library and learn how to use it.

Older ereader

Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre  (15th Feb – 11 April)

Beginning Computer Classes
Mondays 11.00-12.30pm  $15 per term

Beginning iPads Classes
Wednesdays 11.00-12.30pm  $15 per term

South Learning Centre (16th Feb – 5th April)

Coffee & Computers (Beginning Computers)
Mondays 11 – 12.30pm  $15 per term

Introduction to iPads
Tuesdays 1 – 2.30pm $15 per term


Open for business – an interview with Lara Strongman, Christchurch Art Gallery

The Christchurch Art Gallery re-opened on Saturday 19 December 2015, and has had record visit numbers ever since. Their latest publication is 101 works of art, beautifully designed by Aaron Beehre, features texts by Lara Strongman, Ken Hall, Felicity Milburn, Nathan Pohio, Peter Vangioni and Jenny Harper.

101 works of art book - Christchurch Art Gallery
101 works of art. Flickr 2016-01-15-IMG_2051

Lara Strongman

Lara Strongman is the senior curator of the Christchurch Art Gallery, and I talked to her about the re-opening.

Now that the Gallery is open again, what’s your feeling as to how people are using and enjoying it?

I’m a little surprised—but very moved—by the deeply emotional response people are having to the re-opening. There have been many people in tears. It’s not just that they are seeing the works they’ve missed over the past five years, it’s what it means to them to be seeing the gallery open again.

There have been many unsolicited hugs for Jenny (the Art Gallery director).

I’ve noticed lots of teenagers coming through, as well as families and international visitors. Wayne Youle’s postcard project has people sending messages all round the world to tell people to come and visit, as well as Christchurch people sending them to other family members.

Parents are showing young children works they haven’t seen, but which were very familiar to their parents. (There’s a half generation of kids who’ve never visited the gallery, or who were too young at the time of the earthquakes to remember.) There are loads of old favourites on show, but also works that are new to everyone – Unseen and The Newest new world are examples. People are also discovering unexpected connections between works:

When the Gallery was closed, you all branched out – blogging, social media, exhibitions in different places and out on the streets, will these things still play a role? How has being closed changed the Gallery?

Now we’re open again, we’ve brought the Outer Spaces projects back into the proximity of the gallery. While we were shut, we went out into the city, and in the process learned a great deal about putting different kinds of art into public spaces. Now we’re commissioning new works for unexpected spaces around the gallery building and concourse. We’re calling them Other Spaces.

What’s coming up?

Local artist Tony de Lautour is painting a new work on the Bunker building out the front of the gallery that will be open for Waitangi weekend. We’re also opening our final summer exhibition, Op and Pop. There’s a massive interactive work called Tangle on the forecourt, especially for kids and families over the weekend. And I understand there’s going to be free gelato again, courtesy of our friends at NZI.

Over this year, our collection shows will be constantly changing. And I’m really looking forward to A Beautiful Hesitation, the survey exhibition by Ngai Tahu artist Fiona Pardington coming up mid year.

Christchurch Art Gallery
Christchurch Art Gallery reopening weekend, Sunday 20 December 2015. Flickr 2015-12-20-IMG_1713

What do you think about libraries?

I love libraries! They’re my second favourite places, after art galleries. Curators spend a lot of time in libraries, doing research. And I really admire Christchurch City Libraries: the way they’re continuously innovative and put people first.

The Gallery’s librarian Tim Jones deals with a lot of research enquiries, including some extremely obscure ones. There is sharing of archival information around the world, which helps fill in gaps in understanding. By putting works online, unknown works start to be identified and our knowledge of the collection is made richer and more complex.

You also have another gig, doing tv reviews on Radio New Zealand. What are your picks?

This summer I’m going to do a rewatch of Deadwood (my favourite show). I hear there’s a telemovie coming out that will tie up the loose ends.
Season 2 of Catastrophe: it’s quite rude but very funny.
And I’ve been watching Luther from the beginning — I like watching an episode each evening and becoming immersed in the story, as if you’re reading a chapter each night. It’s a very bookish way of watching telly.

Thanks to Lara, and to the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Read more

Read articles and interviews by Lara on the Christchurch Art Gallery website, including:

You can also find works by Lara Strongman in our collection.

Christchurch Art Gallery photos

The newest new world by Pip & Pop
The newest new world by Pip & Pop, Flickr 2015-12-20-IMG_1690
Christchurch Art Gallery reopening weekend, Sunday 20 December 2015. Flickr 2015-12-20-IMG_1673

Find more on our page on art.

Waitangi Day in Christchurch and Canterbury – Saturday 6 February 2016

Find out about Christchurch and Canterbury Waitangi Day celebrations in 2016.

Rapaki Marae citizenship ceremony
6 February 2014. Rāpaki Marae citizenship ceremony. Flickr: 2014-02-06-Citizenship6Feb2014PR-0082. Photo supplied by Christchurch City Council.

Ngāi Tahu Treaty Festival Ōnuku Marae

Every year Ngāi Tahu commemorates Waitangi Day at one of three locations where the iwi signed the Treaty – Awarua, Ōtākou and Ōnuku. In 2016, the Ngāi Tahu Treaty Festival will be held at the Ōnuku Marae in Akaroa on Saturday 6 February. Pōwhiri at 9am.

Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum 1146 Main Road, Okains Bay

Join the 41st commemoration at the Okains Bay Maori and Colonial Museum. Highlights include a powhiri (traditional welcome), hangi lunch, children’s races, spot prizes and the paddling of waka on the Opara Stream at 4pm. View the Museum’s collections and enjoy continuous demonstrations all day include blacksmithing, bread baking in a traditional clay oven, black powder shooting, early printing works, sheep shearing, crafts, stalls and more! Adults $10, Children $2. Please bring cash. No ATM available. Gates open at 10am. Powhiri (traditional welcome) commences at 10:30am.

Waka launch, Waitangi Day, Okain’s Bay
Waka launch, Waitangi Day, Okain’s Bay, 6 February 1977 Flickr: HWC08-SO10

Kaiapoi Waitangi Day Family Celebrations Troussellot Park, Kaiapoi

A family fun day to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi with entertainment, kapa haka, food, hangi, music and mock signing of the treaty.

Summer of Fun – Waitangi Day Community Country Picnic Darfield

I love New Brighton Thomson Park, Marine Parade, New Brighton (Monday 8 Feb)

I Love New Brighton is an annual event held at Thomson Park for the local greater Brighton area offering music, games, sports, and a market.

Waitangi Day coverage

Online Live Video Stream of Waitangi commemorations

Te Hiku Media of Kaitaia provides online live video stream of proceedings from Waitangi. The stream is available on most mobile devices and computers worldwide at or by visiting Video announcing is in both Māori and English.

Māori Televison

Read Waitangi related information on Māori TV website.

More events on Waitangi Day

Find out more

Waitangi Day and weekend hours 2016

6 February is Waitangi Day, a public holiday which commemorates the signing in 1840 of the Treaty of Waitangi between Māori and representatives of the British Crown. All Christchurch City Libraries branches will be closed on Saturday 6 February. Some libraries will be open on Monday 8 February.

Saturday 6 February – closed

Sunday 7 February – open normal hours

Monday 8 February – Waitangi Day observed. Fendalton, Te Hāpua: Halswell, Shirley, South, and library phone service open from 10am to 4pm.

Waka, Okain’s Bay, 1977
Waka, Okain’s Bay, February 1977 Flickr: HWC08-SO102

Lyttelton Library is moving and you can help!

The Lyttelton Library in London Street is relocating. It will close at 1pm Saturday 30 January and relocate to Trinity Hall, 25 Winchester Street. It will open at its new location Monday 15 February.

Earthquake repairs and strengthening and a full refurbishment will be carried out on the London Street building from February to November 2016.

You can help! Lighten the load of books to be moved from the London Street library site. Max out your library card by borrowing books, DVDs, magazines and CDs, then return your books to Trinity Hall.

Lyttelton Library

Library and Learning Centre holiday programmes

Some people may be back at work, but the holidays roll on for the kids.  Want some ideas of things to do? Have a look at our list of holiday programmes, including Minecraft, Lego animation, Claymation, and more.

Holiday programmes

You can also find our holiday programmes are being advertised via

Looking forward to seeing you here!

More holiday tips

This week in Christchurch history (4 to 10 January)

5 January 1940
First echelon of Canterbury troops for World War II leave Lyttelton on “Dunera” and “Sobieski”.

6 January 1851
The first school (which became Christ’s College) opens in Lyttelton.

Chart of Banks’ Peninsula. 1850
Chart of Banks’ Peninsula. 1850, CCLMaps 440870. View enlargable version (with Zoomify).

7 January 1844
First European child (Jeannie Manson) born at Riccarton.

8 January 1979
First women bus drivers on Transport Board buses.

10 January 1830
“Antarctic” (Captain Morrell) anchors in Lyttelton Harbour, which he names Cook’s Harbour.

10 January 1867
European birds introduced on “Matoaka” to Lyttelton. Species include pheasants, partridges, blackbirds, thrushes, linnets, skylarks, chaffinches, and starlings. The destruction of native insect eating birds by hunting and fire had caused disastrous crop infestations in Canterbury.

10 January 1887
Tramway to New Brighton completed.

A double-decker horse tram crossing the original Seaview Road bridge on the way to Christchurch [ca. 1900]
A double-decker horse tram crossing the original Seaview Road bridge on the way to Christchurch [ca. 1900], CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02319
More January events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

This week in Christchurch history (28 December to 3 January)

28 December 1912
First New Zealand croquet championships held in City.

30 December 1988
Water restrictions in force for first time in City’s history as water tables dropped to record low levels.

31 December 1984
“Kiwi House” opened at Orana Park (first chick born in captivity in South Island, November 1989).

Cover of Nimrod by Beau Riffenburgh1 January 1862
New Zealand’s first rowing regatta held on Lyttelton Harbour.

1 January 1908
Shackleton expedition sails for Antarctica in “Nimrod”. A crowd estimated as high as 50,000 watched the departure – probably the largest in Lyttelton’s history.

2 January 1896
Australasian Amateur Athletic and Cycling Championships held at Lancaster Park.

Ten mile championship of New Zealand [Jan. 1896]
Ten mile championship of New Zealand [Jan. 1896], at Lancaster Park, CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0057
3 January 1883
Graving dock in Lyttelton Harbour officially opens.

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