The Shelved Memories exhibition has opened at Our City. This is a great piece of work curated by Jo Drysdall.  From treasures of the Research Room to memorabilia across the years it is well worth a visit. Get up a group of colleagues and go. Our City is open Monday to Saturday, 10.00am – 4.00pm.

My favourites include the Margaret Mahy typescript for The Haunting, (and her portrait which looks great up close), the lovely little souvenir vase from the old Central Library which was loaned by a customer and the pink painted book press from the bindery. Why is it painted pink? There is a fascinating cabinet full of World War 2 ration books, coupons and cookery books and some great photographs and stories on show. Well done Jo.


Nice words from poet Tim

Tim Upperton worked for Canterbury Public Library before moving to Whangarei and more recently Palmerston North where he has forsaken librarianship for life as a poet and creative writing tutor.  I posted on the library blog about the forthcoming launch of his collection of poetry on National Poetry Day and received this nice comment. “Thanks for the mention here. If everyone who reads this can find it in his or her heart to purchase just 17 copies each, I can contentedly move to a gated community at Pauanui, where all the wealthy retired poets go.

I enjoyed my time at Chch City Libraries very much – quite simply the best library service I ever worked in.”


Bookman Beattie has the lowdown on Tim’s work  http://beattiesbookblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/tim-uppertons-first-book-of-poems-house.html which is called A House on Fire

Spreydon Memories

Hillary Renfree has shared a couple of fun memories from Spreydon which many of you will remember over the years as a small library with a big heart and great sense of fun and connection with customers.

Hillary remembers the wake for lost dreams when the many plans to expand Spreydon on the present site were finally put to rest. There was a celebration, complete with coffin and eulogy, followed of course by a wake. Plenty of network colleagues came to help celebrate and there are plenty of photographs on Flickr that help capture the flavour of the occasion.

Another memory for Hillary was the official opening of the new toilet floor. Everything at Spreydon was old of course and a new floor in the toilet was an occasion for much rejoicing. Hillary remembers Jenny Skelton cutting the ribbon wearing a beautiful hat and then of course the usual feast followed.

The arrival of the Portacom was great also, as it gave us more room in the workroom, a proper staffroom and of course an office. Barbara Clarke also remembers the Portacom for the great diversity of temperatures, the stunning views of the carpark action (complete with noise) from Barrington Mall and the lack of running water which meant dishes had to be carried back to the library workroom.

Space was always a big issue at Spreydon as anyone who ever visited (let alone worked) in their old workroom – see classic pictures on Flickr of Ray Baxter surrounded by crates but it certainly engendered a great esprit de corp. The photo used in this blog  is great – school holiday Martian party with Hillary presiding over some awesome baking.

Christchurch City Librarians are a resourceful bunch as this story from Sue Colyer illustrates.

Ellesmere Guardian

Ellesmere Guardian

Recently issues of the Ellesmere Guardian from 3 January 1891 – 29 December 1906 were added to Papers Past, the National Library’s digital archive of historical NZ newspapers, but the story of how the paper came to be able to be digitised begins in the early 1990’s when Anne Anderson and I accompanied, because it was school holidays, by our respective children, set out for the small mid-Canterbury township of Leeston.    The search and rescue mission we had chosen to accept was to retrieve early bound volumes of the local newspaper which we wanted to preserve as part of early Canterbury history.

The Ellesmere Guardian began in 1880 at that time published in Southbridge, and continued until 1983 when it merged with the Malvern Record to form the Central Canterbury News.

We thought the expedition would be relatively straightforward but when we arrived we discovered they were stored in the attic of the old Guardian building which entailed a dusty climb up rickety stairs and ladders.  Just as well we had brought the children who entered into the spirit of the rescue with enthusiasm and heedless of health and safety.  The rescue took longer than anticipated with much gingerly traipsing up and down again with the heavy leather bound volumes.  These were destined to be microfilmed and served family and scholarly researchers that format for some years.  Now, thanks to the efforts of Christchurch City Libraries, Lincoln Unviersity Library and the Waihora Ellesmere Trust they can be read and searched by anyone from anywhere in the world  on Papers Past.

The children were rewarded with a pie from the famous Hillyers pie shop in Lincoln on the way home.

Don’t forget to visit the Christchurch Art Gallery and see the exhibition Ron O’Reilly: The Collectors Eye which starts on 6 June and runs until 26 July. The exhibition “celebrates O’Reilly’s significance as a collector and champion of the arts.” and has includes works that were formerly in the collection of the library. Ron also had his own private art collection, at one time reckoned to be one of the finest in the country and also collected traditional African art.

The exhibition is supported by the library and there are two related events being held while the exhibition is on.
Sat 27 June Art in the Morning: The Collector’s Eye FRIENDS
8.30am / Alchemy
Breakfast and tour of this exhibition with curator Ken Hall.
Friends $20 / public $30 / book by 24 June, tel (03) 941 7356

Wed 1 July The Collector’s Eye: Matthew O’Reilly and Rachel Watson Remember
6pm / free
Find out about Ron O’Reilly’s passion for art and his ongoing evolution as a collector and activist in support of artists such as Woollaston,McCahon and Fomison. Followed by a floortalk by Canterbury Museum’s Roger Fyfe.
Sponsored by The Press

Library T in Turkey

Here is Jill Richardson wearing the 150 T during a flying visit to Turkey last week. Probably taken in Istanbul where she was spending most of her time – but I’ll find out where and what the unusual building is when she returns.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Katy Gossett

We head to the Southern city where three quarters of the population have library cards and they’re not afraid to use them. (duration: 14′21″)

Streamed from Radio New Zealand NationalAfternoons