Summertime Reading Club is for the littlies too

Don’t forgot to drop in a great board or picture book into the picnic basket or backpack as you head to the park this summer. They are a great way to entertain and engage with your kids as you lounge in this glorious weather.

Reading a book with tamariki provides awesome opportunities to explore, laugh and build bonds that come from conspiring over the antics of Hairy Maclary or Spot the dog. Maggie and I are looking at cheeky bears, foxes and chicks in this board book at Upper Riccarton Library.

Christchurch City Libraries Summertime Reading Club – Kōrero pukapuka ā te wā o raumati this year is for newborns to teens, covering ages from zero to 13 year olds. Developing language, a curious wonder of the world and love of reading – all come from the books we share right from when our children are babies. Plus there are great prizes to be won!

We will be here at the library all summer, so pop on down and grab a great book. Don’t forget to let us know which books made your day.

If you want some ideas, our Holiday Reading lists are highlight the best books of 2017, including picture books.

You are feeling very sleepy …

Relief from snoring and sleep apnoeaSleep was something that I never had to think about, I went to bed and I went to sleep – end of story.  Those days are sadly gone, I go to bed … I lie awake, or I sleep and wake up … and then lie awake! Thankfully, at this stage I am not a snorer and I don’t have Sleep Apnoea. This is where you wake up feeling like you haven’t been asleep, your partner has possibly moved to another room with ear plugs, and worryingly your snoring and sleep apnoea is affecting your health.

South Library is hosting Tess Graham, a physiotherapist and author of Relief from snoring and sleep apnoea : a step-by-step guide to restful sleep and better health through changing the way you breathe, on Thursday 5 March. The library has her book plus a number of other titles that could prove useful. 

The only other time in my life where sleep evaded me was when I had wakeful babies. There is so much advice about the best way to get your baby to sleep and as you can imagine many a book has been written on the subject.  When I had my children the common belief was to leave them to cry. Those days have gone, and books on the subject now talk about being guided by your child, establishing routines and trusting your instincts.

Black MoonHowever feel grateful that there isn’t an epidemic as in Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun which causes people to completely lose the plot when they are infected with a bug that causes permanent insomnia.  This book will make you feel grateful for the occasional sleep loss and is a good dystopian read with plenty of action.



It’s Babytimes

Central Library, Centre for the ChildSchool holidays are over and now the babies come out to play in our libraries. Every Monday to Friday, all over the city, under twos are having fun in our Babytime sessions.

Halswell Library is the latest into the Babytimes fold with  regular weekly sessions starting on Wednesday, 24  October at 11.00am.

Stories, songs, rhymes, fingerplays and other book related activities are delivered by a lively bunch of librarians.

For at home backup our Baby Rhymes page has a wonderful selection of rhymes you can learn and share with your baby, plus heaps of other resources you can find in our libraries. They are important steps for your child on the road to reading. We have lots of other information for parents of pre-schoolers and our experienced children’s librarians are there to help.

Why not check out a Babytimes session near you.

International Youth Day 12 August

Christchurch City Libraries celebrates International Youth Day this year by looking at cool stuff for kids and teens.

Stuff for kids:

Stuff for teens:

Explore some library stuff for kids activities

Baby Oh!

Baby O is a opera experience aimed at babies, which had its New Zealand debut at the Christchurch Arts Festival. I went along to the first session with my son and it was magic! Sparkly fish, stomping gumboots and chewable rubber duckies totally captivated the under-one audience.

If you are keen for your child to be exposed to some classical music, then jump on the catalogue and look at some of these CDs aimed at baby boppers. It’s free to reserve things for your children on their card, so if you don’t have a PIN set up on their card, just call us on 941-7923 and we can set one up for you.

  • Music for Babies is a CD of baby friendly classics – Clair De Lune , Fantasia on Greensleeves and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy amongst others.
  • The cringingly named, but lovely to listen to, “So Smart!” series has three CDs, all presenting classical music for different occasions, sleep, play and car rides.
  • We have heaps of lullaby CDs, a lot of which are classical music based, as well as a lovely NZ Made CD; Sleep to the Ocean’s Heartbeat which features, waves, sounds of our environment and heartbeats.
  • Say Hello to the Opera is a comprehensive children’s introduction to Opera and its companion Say Hello to the Orchestra performs the same role for the orchestra.
  • If there is a certain composer you wish to focus on, then simply search the catalogue for Music for infants and then the composer’s name. Omit the composer’s name if you would like to see our full selection of music for babies and toddlers.
  • For a fun and free baby music experience – why not come along to our Baby Times? They are offered at almost all of our Libraries and are a great chance to learn some songs and meet with other parents and babies.

If you have a musical genre you enjoy, you don’t need to specially seek out children’s versions of it. Your baby loves listening to any music that you enjoy too, so crank it up, your baby won’t even mind if you sing along.

Baby Time customers go to Baby O

Before the showOne of the post-earthquake jokes that has been circulating is: You know you’re from Christchurch when there are university students congregating in your street and no-one is calling the police. University students are now synonymous with good works and schemes. And Christchurch City Libraries’ customers have been the happy recipient of a good deed from the tertiary fairy godmothers.

Eighteen lucky library customers were able to attend Baby Opera at the Christchurch Arts Festival last Sunday thanks to the fundraising of some University of Canterbury students. As part of their Management paper, the students had to arrange a community event that benefits people affected by the earthquake. Atawhai Murray, the project leader, decided it would be nice to send some library customers to the Scottish opera session at the Festival.

Funds were obtained from a local church trust and other sponsors. They went towards tickets, a Te Reo handbook and a shoebox of love. A prize draw was held at each Baby Time session around the library network. Margaret Clune from our Events team was pleased to be able to offer such a positive gesture to customers, and worked hard to distribute entry forms and inform each lucky winner of their success.

There were many fathers attending with their children, making it a special Father’s Day occasion. Comments were glowing and many spoke of the wonderful blend of fun and learning. A mother of three said it was lovely to see something new and fresh for little ones.

Some of our Children’s Librarians were also able to attend as part of their professional development,  and they reported that it was very interactive and perfectly targeted for babies. It also gives parents good ideas of things they can do themselves at home. Customers were given a take home pack with a CD.

More for babies and young children

Despite some libraries being closed, there are still at least twenty free Baby and Story Time sessions being offered. The Families Outreach librarian is offering weekly sessions at several locations in Sumner and  arrangements are being made to offer sessions at South City Mall. Baby Time  caters to under twos. It has age-appropriate songs and activities, taken by highly trained library staff.

Story Times incorporates more early literacy activities and prepares children to read, while still offering lots of songs and fun.

The library website offers plenty of good advice for parents of young children and if your child is about to turn four years old visit any library and pick up your free Ready for reading birthday pack.

Babies on parade 1909

Mothers and babies gathered outside St. Helen's Hospital, Sydenham
Mothers and babies gathered outside St. Helen's Hospital, Sydenham

And you thought we were in the midst of a baby boom! This is my new favourite historical photo from our collection – the drama of the mums’ hats, the ultra froufrou baby bonnets. Imagine what it was like being the photographer – must have been quite something to see (and hear, and smell).

And if your family has lived in Christchurch a while, the chance of one of your ancestors being in the photo must be quite high.

Explore more of our historical images

Touchy Feely books

CoverHave you tried reading your toddler a textured book? They’re great fun for both parent and baby – you do the reading, and Baby can follow along, touching the characters in the stories with their little fingers. 

Usborne touchy-feely books are shorties, and some have a wintry theme:  reindeer, polar bears … My little girl and I are enjoying the Snowman, and his lovely red furry scarf and bouncy orange nose. Anything animal related usually goes down a treat.

If you’re looking for tips on what to read your baby or toddler, try our It’s never too soon list for reading suggestions for under fives.
And if want to add to your picture book collection at home (without breaking your budget), check out our monthly book sales.

Making baby’s…gifts

There are a few new library babies who’ve made an appearance on the scene in recent weeks, and I, and several other people around the place find themselves wondering how best to welcome the new arrivals. Luckily there are plenty of books that’ll give you a few ideas. Now if I can only find some spare time and hithertofore unknown crafting skills then I’ll be set –

Oh, and congratulations to all the new parents!