The gift of failure

fat Forty and FiredJanuary has come and gone. And maybe you find that (despite your New Year’s Resolutions), you still feel depressingly like Nigel Marsh in his book Fat, Forty and Fired. If that makes you feel like a bit of a failure, could be you’re looking at this all wrong. Because failing is the new way to go.

It is hard to believe, but recent research is emphatic – we learn our best and most important lessons from our failures and not from our successes. Have a look at this list of recent reads on Failing.

The gift of failureAn excellent place to start is with The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. Published late in 2015, Lahey’s book focuses attention on how we raise our children. Sub-titled How The Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children can Succeed, adults will also learn a lot from Lahey’s clear message: allow your kids (and yourself) to make mistakes.

Another good read is The Rise by Sarah Lewis who approaches the topic of failure by researching the achievements of Nobel prize-winners, successful entrepreneurs and creative artists, and comparing these with their early “failures”. Her message is clear, we need to “converse with our failures”.

The art of mistakesI remember a time, way back, when I had lost my job; was living a great distance from my family; didn’t appear to have a single creative thought to spare; kept clinging to a relationship that was long since over, and to top it all I was sporting the worst hairstyle … ever. What is more, like most of us, I was trying to make sense of it all by utilising The Power of Positive Thinking.

And it’s not that I want to knock Positive Thinking, it has served me very well. But I like the idea that there are other approaches I can take when things go wrong – which they surely will.

And these books made me look at my failures with new eyes, made me feel that instead I could be Fit Fifty and Fired Up. And that would make 2016 a very good year indeed!

eResources for those facing the return to school!

No tween or teen wants to think about how quickly the new school term has arrived. Well too bad. As someone who gets four weeks holiday a year, I am struggling to feel sorry for you. Despite this I believe those who say your school years are the best years of your life are liars. They are the best years only if you like feeling socially, physically and intellectually inadequate! Well I can’t improve your social standing or your body parts as I remain even now socially awkward with love handles, but I can help you out in the intellectual category by pointing you in the right direction.

Central Library Peterborough

Your library loves you and wants to help so that is why we provide a multitude of eResources designed to aid you in any known subject. These eResources are mobile friendly and available 24/7. So if you have stuffed around to the last moment and it is the night before do not stress as we have what you need for your homework needs. For example we have:

  • SmartMath Practice – a game like interface to help 6-14 year olds to improve their math skills with activities, tests and quizzes. Actually I am 40 years old and I learned from this;

Or maybe you prefer Google?

Well more fool you. If you want to head upwards in the intellect category then this is not the place to start. Luckily if a one stop shop is your thing then we have eResources Discovery Search which basically searches across most of the eResources we subscribe to in one single search. So it is like Google, but without the weirdos, liars and nudey bits.

Have a look at these tools and remember life thankfully does get better after your school years. You may get less holidays but you know where you can go for answers (the local library) and where to go if you feel socially awkward or bloated (the pub)  (the local library).

Te Kupu o Te Wiki – Tatari (wait)

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori we are publishing weekly kupu (words) and phrases that can be used with children.

Kupu (word)


Tatari mai i konā, e te tau.
Wait there, my darling.

Whāngahia te Reo

Te Kupu o Te Wiki – Āwhina (help/assist)

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori we are publishing weekly kupu (words) and phrases that can be used with children.

Kupu (word)


Māku koe e āwhina.
I will help you.

Whāngahia te Reo

Te Kupu o Te Wiki – Heke (to descend)

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori we are publishing weekly kupu (words) and phrases that can be used with children.

Kupu (word)

to descend

E heke, e te tau!
Get down, my darling!

Whāngahia te Reo

Te Kupu o Te Wiki – Aha (what)

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori we are publishing weekly kupu (words) and phrases that can be used with children.

Kupu (word)


Kei te aha koe?
What are you doing?

Whāngahia te Reo

Smartmath Practice – a digital solution for numerical problems

SmartMathI did mathematics with statistics until seventh form – or Year 13 as it is now known. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it or was very good at it, but I did feel it was important as it worked out my brain in a way that history and English did not. In the olden days when I was at school you didn’t have any inspiring online whizzes and bangs. You had your maths teacher and a textbook riddled with the rubbed out scribbles of past sufferers. Some call mathematics beautiful, in its complexity but I just found it to be one battle after another. These days help is at hand for people like me. With the development of online learning we get to experience maths in a more interesting and colourful way.

An example of this is Smartmath Practice which is an interactive and fun way for those aged 6 to 14 to improve their math skills with activities, tests and quizzes. There is something about having an online avatar shake their pom poms at you when you get something right that makes the whole learning experience so much easier. There are no furrowed brows looking your way nor big red marks through your work. Just a lot of online love and support as you make your way through the questions.

Who knows maybe my life would have been different if I had come to enjoy maths as much as history and English? Certainly the bohemian poverty of an arts degree graduate has worn as thin as the pleather on my shoes. Maybe if I had taken maths instead of history I could be cruising these streets in Manolos or Jimmy Choos instead of my three for two deals from Number One Shoes? Smartmath Practice is a great way for students at all levels to improve their maths skills. As for us more “mature” users, maths is much more fun in bright colours without the pressure of exams and judgement. Maybe people like me can still find the beauty that others see in numbers.

Some ‘mindful’ thinking on future trends

MiNDFOOD is a popular magazine that never lasts long on the shelves. Marketing promotes it as containing:

intelligent, inspirational ideas and information. A completely integrated concept, MiNDFOOD the magazine brings you in depth features on society, wellness, environment, culture, travel and food. It’s all about Smart Thinking.

Cover of The Everyday Fermentation HandbookSo when MiNDFOOD publishes its Trends for the Future, we should surely sit up and listen. Bear in mind however that these trends are very much focused towards the MiNDFOOD reader – urbane, “mindful”, middle-class and with a spare bob or two.

Preserving:  Whether it’s eating like a caveman or revisiting Grandmother’s preserving tips, we are still searching for ideas from the past. Of late fermenting has become an added twist to this trend.

Later Learning: This is an area that the Library excels in. Research suggests that career changes, redundancies and retirement mean we have a lifetime of learning ahead of us. The CINCH directory is the ideal place to start looking for that next option.

Cover of Side by SideChild’s Play:  You can’t but help but have noticed the proliferation of colouring books on sale this Christmas. Although this is not an area the Library can contribute to, a previous blog post has a suggestion for Zentangles that could well satisfy the need to doodle and colour. There are also many books in the craft section that can help you to glitter and glue to your heart’s content.

Fashion to the people: Apparently runway shows are opening up to the masses with social media making them no longer the realm of the elite.  Here are some tips to help you keep one step ahead of the next big thing.

Cover of Furniture HacksInside and out: Individuality is becoming the essence of living environments… apparently.  I suspect the vast majority of us already know this, not having the time, money or inclination to redecorate in the latest trends each year, however here are two books that encourage your unique style.

Travel Smarter: It’s all about Wellness Tourism, Eco Tourism and Adventure Travel.

Cover of Happy CityUrban Renewal: Now this is a trend that we in Christchurch can understand!

Lifestyle Matters: It’s all about co-housing, communities and community living and “rural retreats”

Mindfulness goes mainstream:  You can be mindful in the kitchen, the bedroom and have mindful children and cats. We are now mindful when we eat, exercise and work. In fact Mindfulness seems to have permeated almost every aspect of the Library collection.

Te Kupu o Te Wiki – Tūpato (careful)

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori we are publishing weekly kupu (words) and phrases that can be used with children.

Kīwaha (idiom)


Kupu (word)


Kia tūpato, e te tau.
Be careful, my darling.

Whāngahia te Reo

An eResource revamp!

people using computers in libraryUsually it is not until the New Year that we start to think about a bit of personal remodelling. Perhaps a new outfit or a gym membership to try and rediscover the muscle hiding under that soft flesh we keep accumulating.

Well this year EBSCO have got in early and remade one of our popular teen eResources, Student Research Center. It is being replaced with the mobile friendly – and more Australasian-centric –  Explora Australia/New Zealand. This new multimedia reference tool for high school and tertiary students searches across fourteen eResources in a single search. Some of these include:

What does this mean for Student Research Center? Well basically EBSCO is removing it from their books. Our access to this eResource will cease on 15 January and you will be redirected to Explorer Australia/New Zealand and eResources Discovery Search as the alternative.

So we will start a new year with a new eResource specifically aimed at high school and tertiary students in New Zealand. This I am sure will end up being much more useful than many New Year resolutions made in the heat of the moment. I should know – there are a pair of pants hanging in my wardrobe that I have sworn to myself for the past two years I will get back into. Oh the delusion!