Important ‘Bird of the Year’ research

One thing New Zealand well does is birds.

We have great native birds, and some don’t even fly. If you listen to Radio New Zealand we have the bird call every morning.

And on right now is the Bird of Year competition, last year the Kea won. New Zealand Geographic called them “the mad geniuses of the bird world” because of the way way the experiment with things just fun. A group of Kea were filmed setting off stoat traps using sticks, just to make them go bang.

I do like the Kea but this year I think I am going to vote for the Royal Spoonbill (Kōtuku Ngutupapa) because it is kinda goofy looking and it has random feathers that look like a weird hairdo and it is New Zealand’s only cutlery themed bird. Another bird with a good barnet (hairdo) is the Rockhopper Penguin, he looks like the hipster penguin. My kids want to vote for the Kōkako. They actually want to vote for the South Island Kōkako but can’t because it is officially extinct but there are rumours that they are still alive in the depths of the bush. There is a $10,000 reward if you manage to photograph one which might be the reason they want to go tramping.

There are over 50 birds to choose from for the bird of the year and if you want to learn about a particular bird there are heaps of them featured in New Zealand Geographic. Find them all here in the New Zealand Geographic Archive.

More about native birds

Online dating and book reviews

CoverWe all have at least one story in us. But very few of us will ever write a book. Even a blog may be a stretch too far. Which leaves us with the option of the book review.

The nay-sayers will be quick to question the value of book reviews, but let it be known: on any catalogue, a book displayed with a picture of its cover, a brief description of its contents and followed by a couple of short book reviews is far more likely to be read.

I’m not going to tell you how to do this – you’ve probably all read a gazillion reviews anyway, but here’s a few hints on maybe what not to do:

  • Saying: “I loved/hated this book/film” with a big fat full stop at the end of the sentence just isn’t enough. Not unless you’re Stephen Fry, and even then.
  • If you’re still talking after 3 minutes, you have gone on for too long. About 50 written words should do it. Just piqué our interest. That is all.
  • Don’t mislead – for example, if you didn’t actually read the whole book, say so and say why. That in itself is valuable for a reader to know.

If you’ve got a real block about reviewing anything, try reviewing yourself. There may come a time in your life when you want to meet more people. You want to date, or pursue a relationship and so far no-one’s come knocking on your door. It’s online dating time for you. In other words: You will have to book review yourself. Follow the same rules for writing book reviews (as above). But to get fully into the zone with it, I recommend reading the personal ads in the The Times Literary Supplement.

CoverI once shared a subscription to this behemoth of literary reviews with a friend. We tried, we really did. But the bulk of the reviews were on books we sheepishly admitted we would never read. But we both loved the Personal Ads column designed especially to cater for: “middle-class, well educated, intellectuals”. That’s us. You get just 30 words to convince someone to take a punt on you. They are succinct wee gems of the self. Have a look at these two compilations to get you started: They Call me Naughty Lola and Sexually I’m More of  a Switzerland. Here’s a couple of examples:

I celebrated my fortieth birthday by cataloguing my collection of bird feeders. Next year I am hoping for sexual intercourse. And a cake. Join my mailing list at box no. 6831. Man.

Or the brutally brief

I am not an Accountant. Box no. 7452

 

CoverThen just do it. I bash out my short book reviews fairly quickly, on desk, at work. After they’re done, mind not to stand between me and the Catalogue Computer. I like to elbow my way across the library to see the cover of the book I have just reviewed on that Recently Reviewed moving banner thingy. My pleasures are simple.

Writing reviews of books, or films or ourselves comes down to one’s own opinion. So let those babies out into an unsuspecting world. May they thrive.

Because best of all, here at last is something you cannot possibly do wrong.

Cycling for beginners

The bicycle band, 1898
Cycling while playing music is not recommended for beginners. A cycling novelty [1898], Christchurch City Libraries PhotoCD 5, IMG0053
A friend of mine has just started riding a bike around Christchurch. She is a very tentative cyclist but I’m so proud of her for getting on her new bike and giving it a go. So far her forays along bike paths have been positive ones and I hope she comes to love cycling as much as I do.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to share what I know about cycle commuting in Christchurch with her, but also with other wannabe cyclists who are thinking about trying to rack up some kilometres this month in the friendly competition that is the Aotearoa Bike Challenge. (Registering on the website is quick and easy and if you download one of the recommended apps to your phone it’ll record your cycle journeys automagically! Also there are prizes!)

Tips for newbie Christchurch cyclists

If you’ve never done it before, riding a bike can be a bit intimidating but the more you do it, and the more you learn, the more confident you’ll be. Here are some things it might help you to know:

  • Cyclists are friendly folk – We love encouraging new cyclists and there are numerous clubs and groups that would love nothing better than to encourage you towards freewheeling greatness. Try:
  • Plan your route – If you’re nervous about busy roads and intersections plan your route so you can avoid them. And if you feel like a particular intersection or bit of road is dicey, there’s no shame in pulling over and being a pedestrian for a bit. I do it all the time!
  • Cycle lane etiquette – If you’re a slowpoke like me you’ll want to keep to the left of a cycle lane so it’s easier for faster cyclists to overtake you on the right. If you’re speedy calling out a cheery “coming up/overtaking on your right” as you approach is helpful for avoiding any collisions. A bell is a useful piece of kit for cyclists of all speeds as it’s great for getting the attention of pedestrians on shared pathways (or those who absentmindedly wander into a cycle lane). To me a bell always sounds more friendly than “OI!”.
  • Do wear a helmet – Because them’s the rules. And if you’re in an accident you’ll appreciate not being concussed (I speak from experience). And yes, it’s still the rules if you’re cycling on the footpath (but don’t cycle on the footpath unless it’s designated a shared pathway). Correct deployment of your helmet is firmly strapped on your head… not dangling off your handlebars.
  • Do wear whatever else you want though – There is no cycling uniform and I have successfully biked in everything from heels to jelly shoes (and even a veil once – it was Halloween). Short or floaty skirts can be problematic (especially when windy) but a snug pair of shorts underneath or the coin and a rubber band trick (or a peg) can successfully keep things “under wraps”.

Things to know about cycling infrastructure

There are a lot of cycling initiatives and changes to infrastructure happening in Christchurch and some of these can be a bit confusing or mysterious if you’ve never come across them before. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Sharrows – If you’ve seen road markings that incorporate a bicycle icon and a chevron shape then you’ve seen a “sharrow” (share arrow). These are used on slow or quiet streets and indicate that cyclists should bike towards the middle of the road. But do move across to the left if a motorist wants to come through.
  • How to make lights go – You may notice at or on the approach to an intersection a section of road that looks like the surface has been sliced into, often in the form of a box or rectangle. Underneath the road surface is a sensor that can detect bicycles and in some instances this may be the only way to trigger the lights. If you feel like you’ve been waiting an age for the lights to change, look down or around you. You may be a little too far ahead, behind or to the side to be registering as a cyclist.
  • Extra lights just for you – In the central city there are now some intersections that operate on a different system to work in with the new separated cycle lanes. Instead of following what the main traffic lights indicate, you’ll need to pay attention to the special lights just for cyclists (you’ll know they’re for you because they’ll have a bike symbol). Keep your eyes out for these at spots like the Tuam/Colombo intersection, and by the bus exit of the Bus Interchange.
  • Hook turn boxes – A hook turn is a handy option at really busy intersections where making a right hand turn in heavy traffic might not be the safest option. If you see a painted box featuring a hooked arrow and a bicycle icon at an intersection this is a good place for cyclists to perform a “hook turn” (although hook turns are allowed at most intersections). A hook turn is when you take a two step approach to a right turn. Staying to the left, a cyclist can go with traffic through a green light then stop in the hook turn box, and then go with traffic through a second green light (or even ahead of it if the road is clear), effectively making a right hand turn in two stages. The NZTA has official instructions on performing hook turns (with pictures) that explain this really well.

Where to go for more information

Library resources for beginner cyclists

 

Garden CATastrophe

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a cat in possession of a good family, must be in want of another garden to do its business in.

Why, oh why do cats feel the need to cause disruption in the surrounding neighbourhood by leaving unwelcome little packages dotted on newly turned soil or – even worse – having spent hours on your knees planting and/or sowing and generally feeling quite good about your gardening efforts, a few hours later there is a trail of destruction ending with displaced earth and a ruddy great hole containing debris that you want to hurl at said perpetrator of the crime.

The neighbours feign amazement when, in passing conversation over the fence, you allude to the fact that your garden is being treated in this cavalier fashion and are smug in the knowledge that their cat wouldn’t be guilty of such heinous crimes as it is a well-known fact that they faithfully use their cat litter facilities.

Of course, cats are invariably both smart and brazen and they don’t feel the need to cover their tracks. They certainly aren’t visible as the guilty culprit when the dastardly deed has been chanced upon. And what if you have several contenders for the nuisance award … You barely flinch when it happens the first time but then, over a period of time, when yet another plant has been uprooted from the security of its new little home and left a bedraggled mess just a few centimetres from its once promising new start in life, your thoughts turn to RE-EDUCATION! Is it even possible?

As kitten season has just arrived, here are a few books and magazines that prospective owners might feel inclined to flick through to keep their kitten/cats on the ‘straight and narrow’ INSIDE which may/may not make them behave better OUTSIDE (not holding my breath though).

Maybe gardening and cats are just an incompatible combination (especially when you don’t own the latter). Anyway, there a lot of practical tips ‘n tricks available via various formats within the library – so good luck with the training of the new recruits to your household and a Merry Christmas to one and all!!

In their own gardens pleeeaaasssseeee

Swap seeds at your library this spring – The Great Library Seed Swap

It’s nearly Spring (yay) and to celebrate the season of growing and greenery, we are hosting seed swaps. Bring in your leftover seeds to Lyttelton, Spreydon, South, Hornby or Akaroa Library and we’ll put them out to share.

Daisy

We welcome vegetable, herb, flower, native, and heritage seeds. You can bring any spare potted-up seedlings. Seeds can be dropped in anytime before or during seed swap week. If you’re bringing in seedlings, please drop them off at the beginning of the week.

The Great Library Seed Swap at Lyttelton Library

Monday 4 September to Saturday 9 September
Find out more.

The Great Library Seed Swap at Spreydon Library

Saturday 9 September 10am to 1pm
Find out more.

While swapping seeds check out Gardening for Everyone & Anyone – Food Resiliency in Urban Environments, 10.30am to 11.30am

The Great Library Seed Swap at Hornby Library

Saturday 9 September 10am to 12pm and Monday 11 September 2pm to 5pm
Find out more.

The Great Library Seed Swap at South Library

Saturday 9 September 10.30am to 1pm; Sunday 10 September 10.30am to 1pm
Find out more.

The Great Library Seed Swap at Akaroa Library

Monday 11 September to Saturday 16 September
Find out more.

There ares plenty more green-fingered resources at your libraries. Take a look at our page about gardens and gardening and explore the books, magazines, and eMagazines in our collection.

Zinio for Libraries is now RBdigital Magazines

Check out the new eMagazine app RBdigital, which is replacing Zinio for Libraries app. The RBdigital app comes with some great new features

  • In-app browsing, previews, title details and checkouts – browse download and read without leaving the app
  • Simple, clear menus
  • App notifications to keep you up to date.

Things you need to know:

  • You can download and start using the new RBdigital app now.
  • You can login using your Zinio for Libraries email/username and password.
  • The Zinio for Libraries app is still available to use until late August.
  • If you continue to use the Zinio for Libraries app, a countdown will appear to remind you to install the new RBdigital app from the app store.
  • eMagazines you have checked out will still be in your personal collection, but they will need to be re-downloaded in the new app, on each device you use. It won’t be possible to transfer content from the old app to the new one.
  • The Zinio for Libraries website’s functionality and appearance will not change but all references to Zinio will now be replaced with RBdigital.
  • Any URLs or links you use to reach the Zinio or RBdigital portal will continue to work.

If you haven’t used Zinio for Libraries maybe it is time to have a look at RBdigital Magazines.
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Beat those change-of-season sniffles

Cover of Living the healthy lifeAutumn has arrived suddenly and those cool mornings and nights are playing havoc with our bodies. Boost your immune system with some good info from our:

Or search our catalogue for specific health terms.

Local groups with a health focus

Make sure you have plenty of sleep, eat well, exercise, keep warm and retain social contacts. If you’re in an at risk group, you may be able to get a free flu vaccine.

Winter is coming!

New magazine and eMagazine titles at your library

Here are some of the new magazines and eMagazines at Christchurch City Libraries:

Interweave Crochet Minecraft World Magazine

Paleo

Each bimonthly issue of Paleo is packed with the latest research, exercise and nutrition, interviews, inspirational stories, recipes, reviews, info to raise Paleo kids and much more!

25 Beautiful Homes

25 Beautiful Homes showcases the best of British interiors every month. Full of homes that intrigue, delight and inspire, the magazine showcases every interior design style, from contemporary to country and high-end to high street.

Interweave Crochet

Interweave Crochet magazine is the place to learn how to crochet or discover a new crochet technique or tip, be inspired, and shop for crochet magazines, books, videos and and patterns.

Minecraft World

Aimed at 7-11 year olds, Minecraft World magazine is an unofficial guide to the Minecraft™ game. Each issue is packed full of news on what’s happening within the online community, tips on achieving various goals, tutorials, puzzles and plenty of expert advice.

David Bowie : The Man Who Stole the World DVD

On 10 January 2016 David Bowie died, leaving us his last album, Blackstar. The world as we knew it changed forever.

The Man Who Stole The World DVD is a tribute to the man “who stole the world and put it in a better place”, according to the narrator. The short documentary, the first to be released since his death, covers David Bowie’s life and music, looking at what made his albums so ground breaking; changing people’s perceptions of themselves, music and society.

I was worried, as a huge fan, that it would be corny and sensational. It isn’t. This is a moving account of the man’s life and incredible creativity. The DVD includes interviews with people who had a business or personal relationship with him, such as English DJ Paul Gambaccini and former NME photographer, Kevin Cummins. Some of the footage is new, and some you may have seen before.

Merry Christmas, David Bowie Fans

Christmas Tree, Central Library Manchester (Angel made by Kelly Davies)
Christmas Tree, Central Library Manchester (Angel made by Kelly Davies)

More music resources

Christmas on Zinio

Read Christmas issue eMagazines on the go – Check out the titles available via Zinio.

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