Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A children's RE resource

Are you familiar with the picture books Hattie and the Fox, Where is the green sheep? and Possum Magic?

As well as being a talented story-teller, their author Mem Fox is also an international consultant in literacy.

Her website has great resources about children's literacy as well as lots of interesting things about her books and writing.
Her ten read-aloud commandments are extremely helpful and sensible.
Mem is a wonderful, inspirational, advocate for reading and her website is well worth a look.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Where to find out about comics?

by Sean Murgatroyd

When responding to requests for purchase for the Graphic Novel collection, I often come across problems when the customer has requested a title that is out of print, hasn’t been printed yet or isn’t even available in English Language format.

Very often they are relying on the vast number of comics discussion forums where speculation and wishful thinking play as much a role as any real fact.

To sort out these issues, I visit the websites of the publishers themselves. I would recommend introducing them to any comics fans you’re helping. This will help them make informed decisions about their favourite characters and authors.

The big names are of course Marvel, which has a searchable catalogue and DC which provides a very helpful list of their graphic novels currently in publication.

Don’t forget Vertigo, DC’s very popular line of graphic novels for adults. A large part of our adult collection has been sourced from here.

Other notable names in the superhero publishing universe are Dark Horse, Image Comics and relative newcomer Dynamite Comics.

For adult readers looking for the more literary works, the Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly (which publishes New Zealand’s own Dylan Horrocks) sites are well worth a look.

Lastly, the Japanese-originating manga world is a force that has had an increasing impact on the Western comics world. Weekly Shonen Jump magazine has been running in Japan since 1968, spawning many of the more famous comics lines. Viz Media publishes the English language versions of many of their titles. The other major English-language publisher of manga is Tokyopop.

As you can see there is a world of resources available in helping patrons with every comics preference. With many of the sites offering previews, informed choices are easy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Newsletter no. 22

August 2010

I enjoy… editorial by Linda Hopkins*…reading a wide variety of fiction genres; Adventure/thriller, Mystery/thriller, some Fantasy (like Lord of the Rings), Chick Lit, Classics etc. As long as the book is engaging, fast paced and free flowing and the pre-amble captures my interest, I’ll read it. The perks of working on the check-in desk, all those newly returned books are a constant temptation!
I find I usually gravitate towards the adventure/thriller/mystery type books when I want some escapism. I do love intriguing and engrossing novels. My early favourite authors were Hammond Innes, Nevil Shute and Alistair MacLean. Their novels were my first taste of the adventure genre. I used to love reading these as a teenager and remember hiding under the bedclothes with a torch long after I should have been asleep!
Moving forward to the current years, authors that have captured my attention are Rosamund Pilcher (a gentler adventure, well crafted characters), Ted Allbeury and Geoffrey Archer, but my favourite author in the Adventure genre is John J Nance. Given his qualifications [as an airline pilot, lawyer, novelist] his books are action packed and have an air of authenticity and authority about them. Some of his books have been turned into TV mini-series’.
On the Mystery/thriller side, I began my interest here with the Readers Digest True Crime stories. These were the only books that interested me (and I was allowed to read) in my grandfather’s bookshelves on school holiday visits and I would devour them. Since then I have “matured” and enjoyed the earlier Sue Grafton “alphabet” novels, Patricia Cornwell and her Kay Scarpetta Mysteries, Lisa Scottoline (believable characters with a touch of humour), Iris Johansen (with forensic sculptor Eve Duncan), Kathy Reichs (Bones TV series is based on her books), Tess Gerritsen, Catherine Coulter’s FBI novels and JD Robb among many others.

* Linda is Specialist Librarian – Information Services at Devonport Library.

Best Reads…..
This month’s selection is from Vanessa Seymour.

Ordinary thunderstorms by William Boyd

The odd woman by Gail Godwin

Theodora : actress, empress, whore by Stella Duffy

The night book by Charlotte Grimshaw

Corduroy mansions by Alexander McCall Smith

Lola by Elizabeth Smither

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


by Patricia Kay

Word of mouth is the most effective way of passing on to other people suggestions for and recommendations of books to read. That is why the BookChat sessions running in our libraries are so successful. Participants are multi-tasking; getting ready to add their bit to the discussion, listening to what others are saying and jotting down titles and authors mentioned for follow up. At our desks we notice an increase in requests when books have been favourably reviewed on the radio. The Good Word show on TV7 brought books to a television audience and now we have the Youtube version - video book reviews.
A new initiative from Martin Taylor, NZ internet guru, records and disseminates booktalks by three well-known, well-read and personable local booksellers. In a 3 minute video clip they give a sense of the story, a quick run down on the main characters and some reasons why that book is such a good read. The videos are available to everyone from the website BookTV, from Youtube and soon from The Reading Experience section of our very own website.
Here is an example

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Newsletter no. 21

July 2010

Animals in war… editorial by Hantie Braybrook*
War programmes are not usually my cup of tea but I plucked up the courage to watch the repeat broadcasting of Band of Brothers and from there The Pacific and now the Generation Kill series. Though it was difficult to watch at times - I still haven’t been able to pick up a book about personal war experiences or combat situations. What I have been able to read is stories about animals in war situations. Even in stories (real and fiction) animals seems to break past that wall of dread and fear and engage our emotions with their openness, loyalty and bravery. Dogs feature prominently in this kind of literature.
What is the appeal of this genre?
The strong bonds people form with animals are deeply emotional and are often a central theme in these stories. And then there is the animal’s unconditional love, non-judgemental acceptance, loyalty, bravery and protection beyond reason, comforting, giving their caretakers a reason to live for / hang on in desperate situations, respect earned and given.
The unknown outcome of everyone entering the war zone adds to the intensity. You experience the ‘adventure’, get to know about life during times of war– both those of soldiers and civilians. The personality of the animals and the mischief they and their companions get up to add charm to what could otherwise be a harrowing tale. Happy endings, when it happens, are especially satisfying. What is also fascinating is how the animals are trained and how they perform under the intense pressure of combat situations.

The subtitle on the cover of
The dog that saved my life sums it up: ‘Sacrifice. Loyalty. Love beyond all bounds.’ Those are the qualities that bring me back to this genre time and again.Dogs at war by Blythe Hamer; The four legged major by Graham Spencer;Caesar the Anzac dog by Patricia Stroud; From Baghdad with love by Jay Kopelman; Nubs by Brian Dennis et al;Freedom in the air by Hamish Ross; Silent heroes by Evelyn le Chene; Animal heroes by Anthony Hill.

* Hantie is Specialist Librarian – Information Services at Glenfield Library.

Best Reads…..
This month’s selection is from Patricia Kay.

As the earth turns silver : a novel by Alison Wong

The children's book by A. S. Byatt

Good to a fault by Marina Endicott

The elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

The housekeeper and the professor by Yoko Ogawa

An equal stillness by Francesca Kay

In hovering flight by Joyce Hinnefeld

Share your best reads … just send a list of titles to Ann

Monday, July 12, 2010

Children's author website

Kathy White, children's author and until recently the CATS Librarian at Devonport Library, has launched her brand new website. It has lots of information about Kathy and her writing and also has a very good page of links to webpages about writers and books., especially suitable for children and teens.
Have a look!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Newsletter no. 20

June 2010
Something our customers will love…..
If you haven’t already found this on the Reading Experience page of our website, then you definitely need to take a look.
By clicking on
fiction you will find lists have been compiled for the browsing reader. Thanks to Sarah Menzies – whose brainchild this was, we have a great resource for the reader, and a great reader’s advisory resource for us as a starting point for recommendations.
The beauty of these lists and links is that the browser can see the catalogue record, read a summary, read a review and most importantly, request the book …all from one site – fantastic!
Now it’s up to us to make sure our customers know about it…

This month’s editorial is by Sheryl Day* …..

In my role I take responsibility for the services provided by the Area Office as well as being part of the library team. Over the years I have built up knowledge of local government procedures and am able to provide customers with information on a wide range of services. If I do not know the answer then I will try to put the customer in touch with someone who does -customer service and the provision of information – skills that are also a large part of a librarian’s job. Communication, excellent service and follow up are keywords in both positions. Customers are not always happy with the council – taking payments is another part of the job - a smile and friendly greeting can often defuse a situation.
I am also responsible for displays showcasing different areas of the collection, encouraging readers to try something different – maybe non-fiction for a change or perhaps a new author in their preferred genre. My own reading is eclectic but my preference is for the red dots – the REAL red dots – a good psychological thriller with plenty of twists Jeffrey Deaver ,Michael Connelly , Lee Child, Tami Hoag, Linwood Barclay, Cody McFadyen and so many others, and this week, joy!.. A new writer, Noah Boyd . I think the reading experience should be a relaxed, enjoyable indulgence – time out for one’s self.
Now enough about me – this is cutting into my precious reading time!

* Sheryl is Council Services Librarian at Albany Village

Best Reads…..
This month’s selection is from Megan Grimshaw-Jones.

On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks

Mao's last dancer by Li Cunxin

Brooklyn : a novel by Colm Tóibín

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

American wife : a novel by Curtis Sittenfeld

The winner's bible : rewire your brain for permanent change by Kerry Spackman