Old stuff at Central Library Tuam

Aotearoa New Zealand collectionThere’s nothing like opening a new library. There’s a lot of excitement round here at the moment as opening day for the brand-new Aranui Library draws near (this Saturday! 11am! woo!).

And we’re not jealous here at Tuam Street, not at all.  They have a beautiful, brand-new, architecturally designed, art- and light- filled facility, with water features, rolling parkland, and oh-so-shiny brand new books, movies, magazines …

It’s not a competition, we tell ourselves.  After all, we love our post-industrial, dystopian-chic-themed electrical warehouse makeover.  We love that the bus exchange is right next door.  We love that we are in the heart of the city, where big things are happening every day.  We love the Re:Start mall, and the Escarto coffee cart, and Ballantynes.

We love having so much of the old Central library’s stock here, and working in tandem with Central Library Peterborough library we provide access to family history, newspapers, magazines, motor manuals, the law collection and all the expertise that Central used to offer.  We love that our shelves are full, not just with the latest shiniest bestsellers, but also with Wodehouse and Woolf and Austen and Ballard, with Salinger and Verne and Kerouac.

We also love the Aotearoa New Zealand Collection. We tried really hard to fit it all in here, but even with the best of intentions we are only able to offer a ‘representative sample’.  The rest of it is safely stored off-site, but it’s only a hold request away.  What’s here, at Central Library Tuam, is distracting enough.

Stepping into the ANZC area is a bit like opening a packet of pineapple lumps.  You think to yourself, I’ll just have one.  Maybe two.  And then before you know it, you’ve eaten an entire packet spent a whole hour browsing the shelves, and people are wondering where on earth you’ve got to.

I went down the rabbit hole this morning, and in just a short 15 minute browse came up with these gems:

  • A 1963 edition of Just Cooking, Thanks (being a dissertation on New Zealand seafood), by Noel Holmes. Mmm, tentacles.
  • A 1942 book called Medical Advice from a Backblock Hospital (a bit afraid to read this one in case it involved biting on a bullet while someone sawed off a leg)
  • A delicious wee gem called Bits and Pieces by Gran, ZB Personality.  I LOVE this book!  A quick flick through offered everything from sage words – “Indulging in fits of bad temper shortens life”;  to recipes – mix equal parts minced ham, beetroot and gherkin to make a savoury spread for biscuits; to must-have outdoorsy advice – find here a “good mixture for waterproofing a tent” that you can mix up in the kitchen.
  • Rosemary Rees’ 1933 travel diary, called New Zealand Holiday, in which she notes the large numbers of “young, fine, splendid men pouring into the country.”

Also on the shelves, reference copies of Consumer magazine and the Listener, lots and lots of books by New Zealand novelists and poets, and the gripping, relentlessly paced Ocean Outfall Handbook (A Manual for the Planning, Investigation, Design and Monitoring of Ocean Outfalls to Comply with Water Quality Management Objectives).

There IS a fine print clause with ANZC material – none of it can be borrowed, and you can’t bring your tea and sandwiches in with you, but you can (and should) come and browse, sit for a while, and discover all the hidden treasure that awaits.

We may not be the newest shiniest library on the block, but just remember this:  sometimes, old stuff is good stuff.

New books this week in the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre (ANZC)

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the number of new books that you really want to read but can’t imagine where you’ll find the time? Well prepare to feel even worse, because there are some fascinating new books in our reference centre – ANZC.  Most of these books will also have borrowable copies in the library.

coverAbout 30 years ago Robert Long dropped out of Medical School and took up life in remote Westland. Since then he has been joined in this frontier land by wife Catherine and  2 children He tells the story in A life on Gorge River : New Zealand’s remotest family..

coverIn After Andrew: two kiwis cross Australia by Bill Lennox, Bill retraces the steps of his grandfather, Andrew Lennox, from Adelaide to Darwin in 1899. Bill had the help Andrew’s unpublished manuscript of his experiences, and a car, which beats the transport that Andrew endured.

From rags to rivets: the Trevor Bland story: a biography compiled and written by Ron Pemberton, is the story behind one of the founding members and driving forces behind the New Zealand Warbirds Association. If the words Vampire, Venom and Hawker Hunter strike a thrill in your heart then you really need to read this book.

Cornelius & co: collected working class verse, 1996-2008 by John O’Connor is an anthology which springs from the author’s background of working class Irish Catholic Addington.

Continue reading

New books in the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre

The usual varied collection has turned up in ANZC – the reference centre of the library – this week:

  • coverRuth Naumann’s non-fiction books for children are beautifully set out and packed with good classroom and study ideas. Two that have just arrived are Te ao o te Maori (The world of the Maori) written by Ruth Naumann and Frank Winiata and Passchendaele also by Ruth Naumann.
  • Somebody stole my game by Chris Laidlaw, who is not happy with the current commercial state of New Zealand rugby.
  • Fiordland: news, views & anecdotes, pre-1911: excerpts from Papers Past compiled by Merv Halliday is a type of history we may be seeing a great deal more of now that many of our old newspapers are being digitised.
  • Under the influence: reshaping New Zealand’s drinking culture by Bev James can also be viewed online.
  • Bruce McLaren: a celebration of a Kiwi icon edited by Michael Clark and Jim Barclay, includes personal tales from those who knew him and many photographs of Bruce McLaren and his life in motor racing.
  • Simon Toomey decided to write a blog when he found he had terminal melanoma. Just months to live is a collection of blog posts, following the thoughts and experiences of this young man in his twenties as he comes to terms with his fate.
  • And in the morning, a DVD directed by Colin Jamieson and Jennifer Barrer, is a compilation of interview, personal reflection and archival footage of World War II soldiers returning home.
  • Letters from New Zealand (1859-1883) by Sarah Ann Walker; with an introduction by her great-great-niece, Margaret Brown, is an almost day-by-day account of life in the new colony – first in Papanui and then in Temuka. If you want to know what life was like for the early European settlers – and it wasn’t easy – this makes great reading.

More next week.

New in the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre

If you want to find out anything about New Zealand, and especially Canterbury – history, family history, cooking, children’s books, politics – the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre (ANZC) on the second floor of Central Library is a good place to begin. New items come flooding in to ANZC every week. That is because we hold books, CDs, DVDs and maps as reference only copies. The variety of items on ANZC shelves is enormous.
Here are just some of the items that have come in this week:

CoverLiving and working in New Zealand, edited by David Hampshire, covers all aspects of life in NZ from coin telephones, starting a business, education,  insurance and social customs (“it is considered socially acceptable to drop in on friends”  – “kiwis generally prefer not to ‘beat about the bush'”).

The hole in the bush: A Tuatapere centennial review compiled by Des Williams, is a local history
Best of both worlds: the story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman recounts the story of an 1895 meeting between these two figures of history.

Shear hard work: a history of New Zealand shearing by Hazel Riseborough is, unbelievably, the first history of shearing in New Zealand.

100 favourite muffins and slices by Simon and Alison Holst; photography by Leslie Keats looks good enough to eat.

CoverRyan Nelsen’s road to the World Cup with Tony Smith is extremely topical given the imminent beginning of the largest sporting event in the world.

New Zealand birth certificates by Paul Moon is a fascinating little book which reproduces 50 of New Zealand’s founding documents such as Cook’s map, the national anthem and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Treaty.

Catalogue of New Zealand commemorative medals, 1941-2007, edited and typeset by Martin Purdy by Hamish McMaster, a must for all you numismatists out there.

Ebony Hill by Anna MacKenzie, the eagerly awaited sequel to Sea Wreck Stranger.

The 42 Below story by Justin Troy with Geoff Ross tells the story of the vodka with small beginnings in Geoff Ross’s garage.

Tuhoe tales: the story of a motor ship saved from the scrapper by Colin Amodeo about the boat which currently conveys visitors up and down the river from Kaiapoi.

The Stade sisters’ families: comprising details of the descendant families of Hilda Henrietta Stade and Thelma Henrietta Stade. This is one example of many family histories that ANZC has on the shelves.

More next week …