Magpie Hall – New Zealand e-book month

There were two rumours surrounding my great-great-grandfather Henry Summers: one, that his cabinet of curiosities drove him mad; and, two, that he murdered his first wife.

Rosemary Summers is an amateur taxidermist and a passionate collector of tattoos. To her, both activities honour the deceased and keep their memory alive. After the death of her beloved grandfather, and while struggling to finish her thesis on gothic Victorian novels, she returns alone to Magpie Hall to claim her inheritance: Grandpa’s own taxidermy collection, started more than 100 years ago by their ancestor Henry Summers.

As she sorts through Henry’s legacy, the ghosts of her family’s past begin to make their presence known.

You can read Magpie Hall as an e-book from our Overdrive collection.

Magpie Hall  is also available as a paper book.

Create new memories with electronic resources for kids

If you are anything like me, your eye tends to wander over piles of second-hand books whereever they are displayed. Occasionally it will lead to the rediscovery of a memory from times past. I had this experience when I stumbled upon books by Bill Peet. As a child he was one of my favourite authors and illustrators – a hint at how old and decayed I actually am.

Christchurch City Libraries continues to offer encouragement to all young readers through our community libraries and on our kids website. Nowadays we have our print collections  supplemented with an array of electronic resources such as Intrepica for interactive learning, TumbleBook Library for animated books and OverDrive for downloadable ebooks and audiobooks for children and their parents alike!

Of course it can’t all be fun. Memories of slogging over plain brown print World Book encyclopedias for school have these days been replaced with the interactive joy of World Book Kids and the like.

Now that winter is upon us these electronic resources at the Source offer a place for your children to create more memories without leaving the warmth of home! All you need is access to the internet and a library card number and PIN. I am sure Bill Peet would approve!

The answer to book hold purgatory

Recently, there was media interest in the amount of people putting The Hunger Games series of books on hold. book coverApparently in the Auckland Libraries, over 2500 are waiting for the first book in the trilogy and here at Christchurch City Libraries, to get your hands on a paper copy of the first book in the series, you will have to wait behind 285 other keen readers. A book chain even jumped in on the news and offered 30% off the titles for a week if you produced you library card. Clever.

So, I decided to think sideways as I often do without trying. I’m hoping to read Catching Fire, the second book in the series by Suzanne Collins, and I thought to myself… use the E-Reader Luke, oops, I mean purplerulz!

So I checked it out. For the paper copies, there are 180 people waiting for Catching Fire, but only 20 waiting for the E-Book version on Overdrive! Oh yay. Now, it maybe that there are more paper copies compared with E-Book copies and you only have 21 days to read an e book compared with 28 days for a ‘real book’, but I did get my hands on an e book copy within 3 weeks, so I thought that was pretty good going.

If you have an e reader or wish to download onto your computer or ipad and read it there, do remember this option when wanting to put holds on your favourites, especially if they are also everyone else’s favourite. You can find out more about e-books here .

Free fun for the kids this holiday

TumbleBook Library is an online collection of  animated talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading. TumbleBooks are created by adding animation, sound, music and narration to existing picture books in order to produce an electronic picture book.  Kids love to play with these interactive books -I promise you peace and quiet …

TumbleBooks are designed to be experienced in either automatic or manual mode. In automatic mode the pages turn by themselves and are narrated – while in manual, the narration is turned off and children turn the pages and read at their own speed.

  • Story Books: Old time favourites such as “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch, as well as newer titles like “Matthew and the Midnight Tow Truck” and “Abra Cadabra and the Tooth Witch”.  Plenty of titles to interest boys and girls.
  • Chapterbooks: Older students can read classics such as “Black Beauty” and “Matt Christopher: Goalkeeper In Charge”.
  • NonFiction books: “Animals in Camouflage” , “Who Likes The Rain?” and “Meet The Meerkat”
  • TumblePuzzles and Games: A collection of online puzzles, concentration games, spelling games that reinforce concepts from the book featuring a picture from the book.
  • Language Learning: A growing selection of bilingual books in mainly French and  Spanish.

You can access Tumblebooks and many other useful databases from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries.

New electronic resources for jousters and old sea dogs

The library has recently purchased two new titles to add to Oxford Reference Online.  The collection offers a huge range of extensively linked, up to date, and cross-searchable  reference works.

The Oxford encyclopedia of medieval warfare and military technology
All aspects of warfare and military technology in medieval times are examined with articles on military leaders; battles; sieges; individual fortresses; and military technology focusing on subjects such as armour, navigational techniques, and siege warfare tactics.

The Oxford encyclopedia of maritime history
This covers the entire history of seafaring, from ancient Egyptian shipbuilders to the nuclear submarines and supertankers of today. Examines all aspects of maritime history, including naval history, shipbuilding, biographies of major figures, navigation and scientific instrumentation, maritime art and literature, commerce and economics, and international law.

You can access this resource and many other useful premium websites from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries.

Subjects include:

We now have over 200 titles as electronic editions that are fully cross-searchable through our premium sites website listing and individually added on our catalogue.

Credo Reference: all your questions answered

If  you’re working on a research paper, trying to win trivia games, complete that annoying cross word puzzle or just curious, Credo Reference has something for you! Our Credo Reference collection contains over 100 searchable and browsable full text online reference books from some of the world’s leading publishers, including Bloomsbury, Collins, Penguin and Thames and Hudson. For example:

Bonus attributes

  • Crossword Solver – Enter the letters you do have and question marks for those you don’t and see what Credo can do!
  • Measurement Conversions – covers area, weight, fuel consumption, speed volume etc.
  • Credo concept map –  enables you to quickly find information when you don’t know exactly what you are looking for and want to expand your knowledge of a given area.
  • Image search – pictures of everything you have in mind!

You can access Credo Reference and many other useful electronic resources from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries.

OverDrive: Audiobook heaven

Christchurch City Libraries has had access to OverDrive since October of last year and it is proving to be very popular. For those of you not in the know yet, OverDrive is a free digital media platform which allows library customers to download audiobooks to their personal digital audio device – such as MP3 players like iPods.

By downloading and installing the free OverDrive software, customers can use their library card and PIN to:

  • Download fiction and non-fiction titles from home at any time;
  • Transfer the titles to an iPod or other MP3 player for portable entertainment at the gym, walking or relaxing
  • Burn some titles to disc
  • Avoid late fees – the items will self expire

More than 500 best-selling and classic titles form our current collection, and more titles will become available in the future – for adults, young adults and children.

We have everything from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to  Nora Robert’s Hot Rocks. We also have fifty always available titles  that are always available to check out. No waiting on holds, just instant satisfaction. The most popular titles in that part of the Overdrive collection include  Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage and Ten books that screwed up the world.

We also have not forgotten the kids or young adults. There are classics from Roald Dahl and Lewis Carroll and more recent authors such as Jacqueline Wilson and the Lightning Thief’s Rick Riordan. For the Young Adults we have Tamora Pierce and the very popular Another Faust.

Combating holiday boredom

Christchurch City Libraries offers two fun new electronic resources for children  – a free way for  library members to entertain children and help educate them at the same time.

TumbleBook Library is an online collection of TumbleBooks – animated, talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading in a format they’ll love. TumbleBooks are created by adding animation, sound, music and narration to existing picture books in order to produce an electronic picture book which you can read, or have read to you. The books are aimed at younger childen up to ‘tweenies’.

And …

InrepicaIntrepica is a high-quality play-based literacy resource with more than 10,000 activities online for children of all ages and ability. Children and parents can select from activities focusing on pre-reading skills, phonics, reading, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and comprehension in a fun, exciting and safe online environment. Users progress through progressively harder tests and earning trophies and coins for completing games which they can then “spend” dressing their avatar up in outfits and costumes!

You can access these resources and many others from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries.  Christchurch City Libraries also has sites specifically aimed at kids and young adults.

Tumblebooks! A new way for kids to love reading

TumbleBook Library is an online collection of  animated talking picture books which teach kids the joy of reading. TumbleBooks are created by adding animation, sound, music and narration to existing picture books in order to produce an electronic picture book.

TumbleBooks are designed to be experienced in either automatic or manual mode. In automatic mode the pages turn by themselves and are narrated – while in manual, the narration is turned off and children turn the pages and read at their own speed.

  • Story Books: Old time favourites such as “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch, as well as favourite fairy tales such as “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
  • TumbleReadables: Older students can read classics such as “Black Beauty” and “Anne of Green Gables.”
  • Audio Books: A collection non-fiction and fiction children and teen books.
  • TumblePuzzles and Games: A collection of online puzzles, concentration games, spelling games that reinforce concepts from the book featuring a picture from the book.
  • Language Learning: A growing selection of bilingual books in French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Russian.

You can access Tumblebooks and many other useful databases from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries.

Fancy a “Vook” anyone?

For those of us who are intrigued (or horrified) by the advent of  the electronic book, The “Vook” is yet another plan to change the face of the book world. A Vook can:

 intersperse videos throughout electronic text that can be read — and viewed — online or on an iPhone or IPod Touch

Publishers Simon & Schuster seem very keen on the idea, and one of their recently produced Vooks is a fitness and diet title, where you can click on the video to see examples of the exercises.  Not to be outdone, fiction writers  are also getting in on the idea, with short segments of a novel devoted to a video that elaborates on a part of the plot. 

It’s this aspect of the Vook idea that leaves me feeling a bit uncomfortable.   When I read, I like to  imagine the scene  or the character.  Each reader probably dreams up a different idea of the setting and what the characters look like.  With the introduction  of the Vook, this pleasure would be taken away. There is also talk of adding music and perfumes!  The ideas are endless.

If you want to learn more about this new gadget then have a read of this article in the New York Times.  It’s all very interesting and it will be fun to see what ideas they come up with next.