Storytelling is for everyone. Always.

Everything around us, inside of us and between us does – according to science – exist of atoms. That’s one way to explain the world. I prefer it the other way. I think it exists of stories.

The Story Factor The Storytellers Way Hooked Storytime

We are constantly surrounded by stories. We don’t just read them and listen to them in the news and books, we also see them happening around us all the time. We tell stories everyday even without realising. Kids telling us what happened at school. Neighbours recounting stories about their pets. Partners talking about work. Mums repeating stories about their babies. Builders amusing each other with builder’s jokes. Customers narrating about their childhood. Buildings, parks, streets echoing the stories of the past and present. Toys, pictures, songs and our favourite objects evoking our memories. Birds, trees and mountains unfolding tales of the land and nature. Who will I encounter today and how long will you be a part of my story? Will our stories thread together? Is it going to be amusing? Is it going to be sad?

Stories have many aspects and powers. They cure, connect, entertain, support, educate, clarify, inform, enrich, amuse, impress even sell! They connect us with total strangers. Whether we are able to relate to a story or not, they offer us to slip into somebody else’s shoes and see how green the grass really is on the other side.

Therefore – stories are not just for kids. Stories are not something that rests on the bedside table  and are evoked once every now and then, to lull someone to sleep. Stories are very much alive among us. Living in a city, where everyone has a remarkable story to tell, is – at least for me – very precious. We should remind ourselves more often that these stories are our priceless taonga. We should encourage each other how to nurture and share them.

Here, at Christchurch City Libraries, we are super excited about stories. We feel very grateful to be able to host the world-class storyteller Regi Carpenter (USA), brought to Ōtautahi by Story Collective. Regi will be holding a koha based workshop on Storytelling for children today, 12th May (South Library, Sydenham room, 4-5.30pm).

If you are not yet ready to take your storytelling skills to the next level and just want to submerge yourself into an exquisite storytelling session, come and listen to her perform tomorrow, 13th May, 7.30-9pm, at the Orange Studios.

If you are totally whakama, like myself, and prefer to contemplate about storytelling out of your reading settee, than you may like to browse through our books on storytelling. You never know – you might become the scintillating part of somebody else’s story on your way to the library.

Free Comic Book Day

On Free Comic Book Day – Saturday 2 May 2015 –  I went to Comics Compulsion in Papanui, and we bought a My Little Pony comic and got some freebies.

Meanwhile 31 teens were at Papanui Library celebrating Free Comic Book Day with a fun workshop and pizza and comic swap. Spencer Hall and Elijah Lopez, two graphic artists, helped the budding comic-makers with drawing technique tips and advice.  Comics Compulsion came to the party with free comics.

Free Comic Day at Papanui Library

Spencer thought the teens “made some really great work!” He animated some of their pictures together on his blog.

Find out more

Learn how to 3D design and print

Want to learn how do 3D modelling and printing? We have two classes coming up at South Library tailormade for you:

Beginners’ 3D Design & Printing
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 (6:00PM – 8:00PM)
South Library

Beginners’ 3D Design & Printing
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 (6:00PM – 8:00PM)
South Library

3D Printing

In this class you will learn how to use free, basic 3D modelling software to design and 3D print, using biodegradable PLA plastic.  All you need to know to do before doing this course course are basic computer skills such as how to save a file and use a mouse. Cost: $25 per person. Phone 941 5140 or email to book.

Hack attack by Nick Davies

It is nearly time for the WORD Christchurch Autumn season. Come along and hear Nick Davies interviewed by Joanna Norris, editor of The Press and chair of the Media Freedom Committee,  Tuesday 12 May, 8pm at Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College. Get your tickets now. He is also appearing at the Auckland Writers Festival.

Nick Davies

Cover of Hack AttackHack attack: How the Truth Caught up With Rupert Murdoch by Nick Davies is a work of investigative journalism at its best. Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who had subsequently worked as David Cameron’s head spin doctor, was sentenced in July 2014 to eighteen months in prison for overseeing the phone hacking of celebrities and ordinary folk who were unwittingly caught up in news events.

Nick Davies had said he felt some small sympathy for Coulson, that is until he recalled the chilling lack of compassion shown by Coulson to a plea by David Blunkett, the blind Home Secretary in the then government, to respect his privacy. During his trial, Coulson had shunted home all the blame for hacking Blunkett’s voicemails to his former chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, but the court didn’t buy his protestations of innocence.

The temptation of newspaper-selling headlines was much stronger for Coulson than any moral reservations he may have entertained about the damage the story would wreak in the lives of David Blunkett, a senior Labour cabinet minister, and Kimberley Fortier, publisher of the Spectator, a high-profile English magazine.

Davies writes in Hack Attack, his book about the UK phone-hacking scandal

I remember all the others who suffered the same fate, left behind like roadkill as Coulson roared off into his gilded future.

In the headlong rush to fulfil the dictates of the ruthless, Aussie media baron, Rupert Murdoch, Andy Coulson and his boss, Rebekah Brooks, displayed a heartlessness that almost beggared belief.

In their prurient tabloids, the News of the World and the Sun, Brooks, Coulson and the reporters who worked for them hypocritically exposed the affairs of people in the public eye while carrying on in like fashion in their own private lives.

In fact, Hack Attack reveals a degree of amorality and immorality that goes far beyond anything the newspapers’ victims could be accused of. Davies reveals that the senior figures at News of the World like Coulson, news-desk editor, Greg Miskiw, and chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, carried on their rampant espionage and dirty dealing unchecked and undiscovered for decades.

Hack Attack is an important book for any readers interested in the landscape of the 21st century global media. Despite the fact that the modern thriller looms large on our bookshelves and television sets; Hack Attack proves yet again that old adage: truth is stranger than fiction. Police corruption and cover-ups, dirty politics, and the relentless global steamroller that rolled over hundreds of lives to satisfy Rupert Murdoch’s ruthless acquisition of power – you wouldn’t read about it. Or would you?

WORD Christchurch recommends

Mango languages gives you the world

LogoWhen I was travelling through Jordan, our guide pointed out some hills across from the Dead Sea. “That is Israel, we are still officially at war with them”, he said. It reminded me that New Zealand’s isolation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Then I got a job at the University College of London where everyone I worked with seemed to be multi-lingual. This made me see our isolation in another light. Kiwis can’t pop over to Germany for the weekend to improve their German! So there is also a loss when your nearest neighbours are an ocean away and Australian. Times though are changing with immigration, tourism and cheaper air travel our island is becoming increasingly open to other cultures and language.

It is not surprising that with more fluid borders that people are keen to learn languages other than their own. This is where Mango languages can come in handy. You do not have to worry about scratched discs or overdue fines – instead you can learn over 60 languages online. Mango will let you learn from basic right through to advanced levels, with grammar and cultural notes.

So if you are looking for ways to learn a foreign language or need a better grasp on English then this is a great place to start. Mango for languages is available from home with your library card number and password/PIN or in libraries.

NZ Music Month 2015

Celebrate New Zealand music throughout May with Christchurch City Libraries, CHART, RDU and live gigs. NZMM launches in Christchurch on Friday 1 May 7pm at Central Library Peterborough. The gig features the legendary Martin Phillipps from The Chills performing a short solo set, along with smooth sounds from The Bats offshoot – Minisnap – featuring Kaye Woodward’s songs plus Amiria Grenell and Amy Grace as The Swan Sisters.

Sound Garden (across the road from Central Library Peterborough) will be hosting Beat in the Street before the launch gig (6 to 7pm on 1 May). Come along, bring the kids and get creative.

Explore more NZ Music Month events including jazz, sax, violin, folk, choirs, and ukulele pirates.


Christchurch mapfinders – William Smith’s geological map

The University of Canterbury has discovered a copy of William Smith’s 200 year old geological map of Britain.

The University of Canterbury’s copy has been identified by experts at the Geological Society of London as one of the early hand painted incarnations produced at the London office of publisher John Cary.

We now know from the Geological Society’s records that this map numbered ‘b4’ was signed by Smith on the morning of Tuesday 23rd January 1816. Along with his highly skilled colourists John Cary produced, on behalf of Smith, approximately 350 copies of the map with as many as 120 to 150 surviving today, according to Tom Sharpe of the Geological Society …

Sir Joseph Banks (who Banks Peninsula is named after), to whom the map is dedicated to, was Smith’s major sponsor in the research and production of his work providing funds for Smith to complete the map.

Read more: Library unearths the first geological map. Damian Cairns, Special Collections Librarian, who features in the article is a former alumni of Christchurch City Libraries, so feeling very proud of him!

Cover of The map that changed the worldIf you’ve read the splendid The Map That Changed the World: The Tale of William Smith and the Birth of A Science by Simon Winchester you will know how interesting this is.  If you haven’t read it, get a copy – we have paper copies – one in large print, and an eBook.

NASA’s Earth Observatory has a good image of the map and an introduction to the work of geologist William Smith.

For us in Christchurch, we probably know more than most about the layers beneath us. We have all garnered geological knowledge post-earthquakes.

If you are a bit of a map lover, you might also like to delve into our collection which includes this 1840 Akaroa beauty and a 1983 Christchurch cycle map.

And these geological maps:

Geological map of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, [ca. 1866]

Title: Geological map of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, New Zealand by Julius von Haast, P.H.D., F.R.S., principal geologist. Date: [ca. 1866] Physical Description: The Alexander Turnbull Library holds a CT scan. Scale etc: Scale [1:1,000,000]. File Reference: ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-3233 Other Reference: MapColl 834.4caq/[ca.1866]/Acc. 3233

Geological map of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, New Zealand by Julius von Haast, P.H.D., F.R.S., principal geologist. [ca. 1866] ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-3233 MapColl 834.4caq/[ca.1866]/Acc. 3233

Geological sections of Lyttelton and Christchurch railway tunnel [ca. 1875]

Title: Geological sections of Lyttelton and Christchurch railway tunnel [by Julius von Haast]. Date: [ca. 1875] Scale etc: Scale 1:480. File Reference: ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-3741 Other Reference: MapColl 834.44gme/[ca. 1875]/Acc. 3741

Geological sections of Lyttelton and Christchurch railway tunnel [by Julius von Haast]. [ca. 1875]  Scale etc: Scale 1:480. ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-3741 MapColl 834.44gme/[ca. 1875]/Acc. 3741

Looking at the Anzacs

As Anzac Day approaches, we have some interesting First World War displays for you to explore:

The Changing Face of Veterans (exhibition at Upper Riccarton Library until Monday 4 May). This photographic exhibition is about New Zealand’s war veterans since the First World War – our changing perceptions of veterans, and how we remember them. It’s a collaborative community project by Rannerdale Veterans’ Care, Upper Riccarton Library, and Riccarton High School.

There is also a poppy blanket display.
ANZAC display with poppy blanket

ANZAC display with poppy blanket. Flickr Upper-Riccarton-Displays-ANZAC-Display-2015.JPG

World War One at home and at the front (exhibition at Central Library Peterborough until Sunday 24 May) – A display of uniforms, equipment, photographs, publications, badges and letters, and even gas masks – all generously loaned by Barry O’Sullivan, private collector. Read Alina’s post to get a flavour, and view the O’Sullivan collection online.

The New Brighton Boys (exhibition at New Brighton Library until the end of May)
Staff from Christchurch City Libraries, have put together a display of the stories of the 62 soldiers with strong links to New Brighton, who served and died in the First World War. The display includes stories of each soldier and some photographs. Find out more about the New Brighton Boys on Kete Christchurch.

First World War talks

We will also host a series of talks on First World War subjects:

Find out more:

‘Cracking’ Easter holiday programmes at our libraries and learning centres

Cracking holiday programmes saw many happy children having lots of fun this Easter.

Lego animation – children created fun characters for their stop-motion movies.


Family Games Fun at Linwood – indoor bowls and badminton were great challenges for all.


Family Games Fun at South – posed a lot of thought in outdoor chess.


Minecraft – lots of banter, bargaining and laughter as students created and survived in the virtual world! This is always popular.


3D Tinker Workshop – students learned 123D software design to create key rings and helicopters then delved further into 3D wire sculpting, paper craft and Hama beads. Students made badges and fridge magnets with fabulous designs.

3D Doodler Pen


3D badges – Hama Beads


3D papercraft


3D Printing


There were lots of new experiences! Cracking fun!

Cycle to your library day, and cycling librarians

On Tuesday 14 April 2015 we are celebrating Cycle to your Library Day. Cycle to the library and you will get a backpack with reflective strips to carry your books (while stocks last). Show us your bicycle helmet and let us know you cycled to the library.

Cycle to your Library - FB post FINAL

Cycling is a fast, healthy and cost-effective so why not ride one to your library and celebrate with us.

Many famous minds have talked about bicycles:

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. H. G. Wells

My fellow cycling librarians would certainly agree. The first librarian I’d like to introduce you to bikes in all weathers.

Cyclist arriving at work
Life long cyclist arriving at work

I ride a Blue Bauer and have been cycling since the age of six. I still enjoy going for a bike ride although do not go as far afield these days. Biking is something I have always done, it keeps you fit and healthy. I keep myself safe on the road by paying attention to traffic, planning and looking ahead.

If you start young you will develop confidence, the more experienced you get the more you are likely to cycle and feel confident on the road. Getting into cycling as a young child as I did around home then taking longer bike rides to the park made it an easy natural process. The most enjoyable thing about biking is it helps me unwind and relax about the day in the evening.

Bicycles are a metaphor for life:

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. Charles M. Schulz

Let me introduce you to somebody who I know uses all his gears.

Someone who uses all his gears
Someone who uses all his gears

I cycle to work, to meet friends, to the supermarket. As long as I’m not picking up a fridge, I’ll bike there. I used to bike from the Port Hills to Redwood and back every day, but working at Peterborough is luckily a lot closer!

I started cycling primarily because I was frustrated with changes to the bus routes and the many delays, but it also saves money. It’s healthy, cheap, great for the environment, and convenient. I confess to being a fair weather cyclist. This isn’t a big problem in dry Canterbury, however. My advice to keeping yourself safe when cycling is to repeat the cycle safe incantation three times while riding backwards on a full moon Or wear hi-vis and bright lights and remain aware of your surroundings, whichever is easier.

The best way to start out cycling is to stay on quiet roads. Get off and walk across pedestrian crossings if you’re afraid of turning across traffic and never underestimate the importance of a comfy bike seat. The most enjoyable part of cycling is riding with a tail-wind on an off-road bike path with no earthquake damage.

The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off. William Golding

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. Helen Keller – An inspiration to us all Helen Keller rode a tandem bicycle.

Short of stature, but bike of heart is our last cycling librarian:

Short of stature big of heart
Short of stature big of heart

I ride a hybrid road/mountain bike. It has front suspension and is rather comfortable to ride. It is probably too big for me but I feel more visible on the road on it. I bike everywhere! – work, university, shops, visiting, bike trails and have done since I was a child but got back into it seriously as a form of transport when I was going out to the university.

Usually I bike up to an hour a day depending on what I have scheduled that day. I would bike everyday – but some days it is almost impossible when the wind gets up and the rain starts tumbling. It is about fitness, as I enjoy it as an alternative to running. As a form of transport it is both kind on the budget and environmentally friendly. Christchurch with its flat terrain is a cycle-friendly city. I’d like to encourage others to get out and join me and to show that it is possible.

My safety tip is to be prepared to stop at all times! I make myself visible through wearing bright clothing and riding to be seen. I also use a flashing red light on my backpack even during the day. I am constantly scanning the road and footpaths ahead of me and I try to predict what people are going to do before it happens but as I said – I must be prepared to stop at all times.

The best way to start out cycling is to go out for short trips with family or friends – use designated bike tracks so that you can get used to handling the bike under different circumstances without having to worry about traffic.The best thing about cycling besides arriving safely to my destination is getting out and moving!

Library staff cycling through Christchurch town centre
Library staff cycling through Christchurch town centre, At the intersection of High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets. 1980s. Flickr Arch-52-PH-07-21

You may be surprised to know librarians have a proud tradition of biking to work. Some of us bike only when it’s a fine day. others are out in all weathers, some travel far, and others just round the corner.

How far is it to your local library? Do you bike to the library or work? Is bicycling part of your life?

For further information try our cycling pages or blog posts and Zinio cycling magazines. Search the catalogue for: Bicycle times cover