Poetry at Parklands: the Poet Within

2016 Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2016 hits New Zealand on Friday 26 August and the celebration unleashes the power of poetry all around our great nation with lots of events and poetry competitions.

Parklands Library draws on “the poet within”, within the Christchurch City Libraries that is. That’s right, many of our librarians are writers too. Instead of dispensing poetry books to customers, on Saturday 27 August 2016 at 2pm four of our librarian poets will be reading their own work.

Poetry

The poets:

Damien Taylor is a street poet who loves to retell his experiences from deprived small town aspirations to broken big smoke dreams. He likes to call himself Tīhore and wishes he was more Māori than he actually is.

Rob Lees is a born and bred Cantabrian and Goddess of the Knowledge Mountain, according to her husband. She says that her poetry is a reflection of her life experiences and is a way of keeping the voices in her head out!!

dYLAN kEMP is an artist of some renown. Not heaps, but some. He has published 3 books of poetry, all available from Christchurch City Libraries. He also paints, drums, dances like a wild man, and tickles his children.

Andrew M. Bell has published two books of poetry, Green Gecko Dreaming and Clawed Rains, and one book of short stories Aotearoa Sunrise (all available from Christchurch City Libraries). His work has been published and broadcast in Aotearoa, Australia, England, Israel and USA.
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Celebration at Parklands

People love libraries. For library staff it’s a great satisfaction and inspiration to hear from customers the many and varied reasons why.

!0th Anniversary morning tea
10th Anniversary morning tea at Parklands Library

Parklands Library recently enjoyed celebrating its 10th anniversary with a full week of events for customers and staff beginning with a morning tea hosted for our celebrities – valued customers and friends, and founding and current library personnel. Warm welcomes from Sam Ludemann, Dan Daley and Carolyn Robertson, and karakia from Betty Situe began our proceedings. Musicians Dan Callahan and Alan Hawes provided just the right ambience for a gentle time amongst the tea and coffee cups.

Our calendar continued with with our incomparable Zac McCallum taking Hip Hooray Story Time, and an enthusiastically attended 3D printer demonstration, attracting curious customers from 4yrs to 86 yrs of age. Saturday was our Big Day Out with live music performers, Dylan Jonkers, Better than Bacon in the morning and The New Brighton Pirate Ukulele Band in the afternoon. Face painting and entertainment from Tania tale teller extraordinaire, ensured we had a buzzy, happy time with something for everyone.

New Brighton Pirate Ukulele Band
New Brighton Pirate Ukulele Band

What was especially heartwarming during this week was the amount of positive feedback staff received from our customer community (that’s what birthday celebrations are for after all). Cards and messages flowed in and people took time to tell us, fervently, just how much Parklands Library was a source of help and comfort to them in the very hard post-quake years and currently while rebuild issues continue. Warm, friendly, safe place, stability, information, connections, distraction and relaxation were some of the words we heard. “The library helped me get through.”

We’re back to a quieter busy-ness now, grinning at a comment we heard along the grape vine from a newcomer to Parklands, on our big day,  “Parklands is the best library in the universe!” And we have the lingering scent of celebration lilies.

We still have our usual roster of interesting community events on the go, so feel free to pay us a visit!

Now open – Parklands Library Bike Shop!

“Why does my chain make that sound every time I change gears?”

“How can I adjust the break levers on my son’s bike so they fit his hands?”

“I have this ‘friend’ who has sort of neglected their bike – what should I … I mean they do?”

These were just some of the questions fielded by our local bike shop owner Graeme Taylor from The Bike Shop on Burwood Road (and now also in Redwood). Parklands Library was transformed into a bike shop last Thursday as fifteen brave and dedicated cyclists left the comfort of their homes on a frigid night to attend our latest Orange Chair event – the Bike Maintenance Evening.

Graeme generously donated his time to host a really informative, interactive and fun 90 minute session. Our guests were full of praise for Graeme and learnt new bike maintenance skills that they are already putting into practice – from changing flat tyres and adjusting gears to altering seat heights.

Bike Maintenance Evening
Bike Maintenance Evening, Orange Chair at Parklands.
Flickr Orange-Chair-Bike-Maintenance-1060725.jpg
See more photos in our Flickr photostream.

Our message was spread far and wide through our own efforts and those of the Ministry of Awesome and women’s cycle advocacy group Frocks on Bikes who “exist to help you get on a bike – no stress, no fuss, no need for lycra, just freedom, convenience and fun – in your own style!”

We received great feedback on the night and all guests went home with a free puncture repair kit from Graeme.

Look out for the next Orange Chair event!

Stephen Howes
Parklands Library

Parklands enjoyed New Zealand Music Month

One of the great things about community libraries is the way we can source local expertise and NZMM was a perfect excuse for us to throw out our nets and land some sparkling talent for all to enjoy at Parklands Library.

NZMM Bryony Matthew

We opened with singer/songwriter Bryony Matthews. Just returned from a year’s stint in Europe enjoying the live music scene, including the Iceland Airwaves Festival, Bryony captivated us with a soulful presentation of original songs about her emotional and physical journeying. This gig led to live slots for Bryony on The Breeze Radio and Plains FM, a happy outcome to playing in the local library!

NZMM Matt HowesBright, smooth jazz was up next, brought to us by Matt Howes, a poised and accomplished young guitarist and member of the NZ Jazz Orchestra, who took us through relaxing and rocking pieces from names including John Scofield and Miles Davis. With great aplomb Matt turned technical difficulties with loop pedals into an opportunity to interact with his attentive and appreciative audience, letting us into some secrets of interpretation, counter melodies, and techniques of “swinging” a melody. We wish him all the best for his season with the Jazz Orchestra.

Our next “audience” was in the business of making music. Ten young people turned up to Tuesday Tunes to explore GarageBand with our own Betty Situe. Ipads were the instrument of choice and basic principles were quite quickly mastered, resulting in some interesting original pieces, which were burned to a disc to be taken home. A very successful event and hopefully to be repeated.

NZMM James DanielsPeople came from across town to hear Parklands based James Daniels of The Breeze radio station, joined by fellow musicians, Tony Clark and Malcolm Harris to wow us with “songs world famous in NZ”, the ones we’ve sung around the barbie. Old favourites from Kris Kristoffersen and John Rowles, “How Bizarre,” the theme to “Princess Bride” all created a fun, happy whānau atmosphere of joining in and clapping along to first rate singing and guitar playing. A great day out!

Music Month would not be complete without performances from our children and the Queenspark Primary School Choir was first to entertain family and friends with their enthusiastic singing of a variety of engaging songs, some featuring wonderfully energetic actions.

Parkview School Choir gave us a happy programme including “Haere Mai Everything is Ka Pai”, “Just One Earth”, “I got the Sun in the Morning”, and a swinging version of “Yes Sir That’s my Baby” obviously enjoyed by the singers and certainly by their audience. All in all sweetly satisfying.

On the last Saturday of May we brought Music Month to an end with a bang and our biggest audience yet. Friends, family and customers watched and listened and, in the case of one little girl who almost stole the show, danced to Better Than Bacon, a talented up-and-coming young rock band. Kayne Child on lead guitar, Josh McCaffery on bass, Joel Coleman on drums and Keira Jonkers, singer/songwriter and instrumentalist, had feet tapping and hands clapping with songs like “Joker and the thief” “I love Rock n Roll” and “Can to Can’t”. A highlight was Keira’s superb original song “No Noise Pollution”. With each musician gifted and committed, this band is one to watch for.
NZMM Better than BaconWhy limit ourselves to the month of May? We hope to continue listening to local musicians throughout the year. Watch this space!

For more photos of performances at Parklands and our other libraries check out our NZ Music Month Flickr 2015 set.

Look beneath the surface during Seaweek

Book cover of The Power of the SeaKiwis love the sea and luckily we have a chance to properly celebrate it every year with Seaweek. The theme for Seaweek this year is “Look beneath the surface – Papatai ō roto – Papatai ō raro”.

There are lots of Seaweek events that Cantabrians can head along to:

Find more Canterbury Seaweek events on the Seaweek website and look for resources about New Zealanders and the sea on our catalogue. Seaweek runs from Saturday 28 February to Sunday 8 March 2015 and is run by the NZ Association for Environmental Education.

View out the window at New Brighton Library