Celebrating 125 years of Women’s Suffrage

Political cartoon of suffragette looking at politicians
“The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal, 28 October 1893”; Cartoon by Ashley Hunter.

In September we will join in the celebrations of the 125 Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand. Some branches will display books to highlight this.

On the 19th September, at the Central Library
a) have fun experiencing the times with our photo booth from 10am – 2pm
b) try your hand at making a celebration camellia or badge from 10am – 2pm
c) write some messages about what being able to vote means to you.
d) watch a historical film on the First floor, screenings begin from 10am-2pm
e) chat to Electoral Commission staff who can help you register for the roll or answer your questions 12-2pm

During the two months between the Suffrage Bill passing and 1893 general election, women relished the potential power their vote would give them in deciding the next government. In this cartoon a woman, depicted as a fortune teller, invites leading Liberal politicians (humorously depicted as scared schoolboys), into her tent to have their political futures revealed. The central figure is Richard Seddon, clutching his arm is William Pember Reeves, crouching on the left is Joseph Ward and standing above him with a long beard is Robert Stout. Keep a watch out for the Urban Art footpath billboards around the CBD featuring more political cartoons like this from The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal.

We are proud to be a part of the Suffrage 125 national event programme.

 

My Discoveries Saved Lists and Tags

Person writing in notebook by laptopAs part of our ongoing programme to upgrade our catalogues, this is advance notice that My Discoveries will no longer be available after 23 December 2018. My Discoveries forms a part of the library’s Easyfind catalogue to allow you to create lists or tags and save links to items.

Many people have taken advantage of this service to create and save lists, and therefore we wanted to give notice of this change to provide time to note and transfer titles. Regretfully we have not been able to establish an ‘export’ option to extract saved lists, tags or reviews easily. However, links and text can be copied and pasted to save in another document.

We have decided to make this step because My Discoveries was not continuing to be developed by the supplier (so over time it would not display on newer browsers and screens and cannot be transferred to a new mobile friendly catalogue search). In addition, our new Catalogue (which is continuing to be actively developed and improved) includes many of the features of My Discoveries.

We also strongly recommend that if you have compiled links within your lists to individual items in the EasyFind catalogue, that you take the opportunity to change those links to point to our new Catalogue. If you’re not sure how to create lists or save searches in the new Catalogue, please note this option or ask a library staff member.

Customer Survey Results 2018

small thank you heartThank you very much to all customers who provided feedback and filled out our annual customer survey. This was sent to a group randomly selected from our adult registered members who had given us their email contact addresses. Just over 4000 responses were received back. We always are keen to learn from you what your priorities are for improving what we do. Here are the full survey results. [1.4 MB, PDF]

Some results we’ve noted
– Overall satisfaction ratings of our services and staff are consistent with last year.
– Satisfaction with eBooks increased from 80% in 2017 to 86% this year. We continue to add new titles, both fiction and non-fiction, as publishers make them available for us to purchase.
– Overall you are satisfied with the range and variety of the physical collections (86%). Each year, we add close to 100,000 new items to the collection, and this remains one of our top priorities. Satisfaction is highest for the children’s collections, at 95%.
– Satisfaction with wifi increased from 84% in 2017 to 87% this year after a big programme to increase it across branch libraries.
– Nearly half of the respondents (47%) would like more space devoted to casual seating.
– 70% of customers prefer printed fiction (over eBook), and it was similar for non-fiction, with 71% preferring the printed format. We weren’t sure if the type of material made a difference, so this information will be used to plan our collections.
– Our monthly newsletter was the most favoured option to hear about library news or activities. If you haven’t already, subscribe to this free enewsletter called Your Library, or read the latest edition here.

We really value the time and consideration you give to us when making this feedback. Thank you for helping us keep in step with your expectations. We continue to use the customer survey throughout the year as we review services and plan team work.

People of Faith: Recent Beliefs Picks

This latest edition features biographies on seekers, to well seasoned spiritual believers. Some life experiences have raised deep questions whilst others have strengthened their commitment.

The spiritual Mandela : faith and religion in the life of Nelson Mandela, by Dennis Cruywagen.
“In the first book of its kind, an acclaimed South African journalist and former parliamentary spokesperson for the ANC shares how Nelson Mandela balanced his Christian faith with his political views, exploring how the beloved leader reconciled his own beliefs with the hard truth that religion had often been used as a tool to oppress his people.” (Catalogue)

Born with wings : the spiritual journey of a modern Muslim woman, by Daisy Khan.
“Khan details her faith journey, beginning with the strong guidance of her supportive family in her native Kashmir, where religious practices were deeply felt. But after she moves to the U.S., questions and doubts began to surface for Khan. Finding Sufism renewed her and served as a starting point for her activism. Khan’s extensive research on her faith led to one of her core beliefs: that, despite perceptions to the contrary, Islam elevates the status of women. Today, she is the executive director of the Women’s Islamic Initiative for Spirituality and Equality… A thought-provoking read.” (Booklist, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWhy I am a Hindu, by Shashi Tharoor.
“Opening with a frank and touching reflection on his personal beliefs, he lays out Hinduism’s origins and its key philosophical concepts…. Tharoor is unsparing in his criticism of extremism and unequivocal in his belief that what makes India a distinctive nation with a unique culture will be imperilled if Hindu ‘fundamentalists’, the proponents of ‘Hindutva’, or politicised Hinduism, seize the high ground. … Written in Tharoor’s captivating prose, [this] is a revelatory and original contribution to our understanding of religion in the modern era.” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Paul : a biography, by N.T. Wright.
The details of Paul’s life are scant at best, and while Wright presents plenty of historical background material, he bases much of his insights on the picture revealed by Paul’s writings. In this very readable account, Wright is careful to acknowledge that his thoughts are calculated probabilities, but speculations none the less, as he tries to understand the man most responsible for spreading Christianity across the Gentile world.

Stalking God : my unorthodox search for something to believe in, by Anjali Kumar.
“Anjali Kumar, a pragmatic lawyer for Google, was part of a rapidly growing population in America: highly spiritual but religiously uncommitted. But when her daughter was born, she became compelled to find God – or at least some kind of enlightenment. Convinced that traditional religions were not a fit for her, and knowing that she couldn’t simply Google an answer to ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Kumar set out on a spiritual pilgrimage, looking for answers… Narrated from the open-minded perspective of a spiritual seeker rather than a religious scholar, Kumar offers an honest account of some of the less than mainstream spiritual practices that are followed by millions of people in the world today. Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Shunned : how I lost my religion and found myself, by Linda A Curtis.
“Linda Curtis was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and is an unquestioning true believer who has knocked on doors from the time she was nine years old… Then one day, at age thirty-three, she knocks on a door – and a coworker she deeply respects answers the door. To their mutual consternation she launches into her usual spiel, but this time, for the first time ever, the message sounds hollow. Curtis tries hard to overcome the doubts that spring from that doorstep encounter, …but ultimately, unable to reconcile her incredulity, she leaves her religion and divorces her Witness husband – a choice for which she is shunned by the entire community, including all members of her immediate family. Shunned follows Linda as she steps into a world she was taught to fear and discovers what is possible when we stay true to our hearts, even when it means disappointing those we love.” (Catalogue)

An explorer’s guide to Julian of Norwich, by Veronica Rolf.
Medieval scholar Rolf introduces us to Christian theologian and mystic Julian of Norwich as the first woman to write a book (let alone a spiritual autobiography) in the English language. Julian was probably a member of the merchant class, rather than a nun which is commonly assumed. Rolf places Julian in her social context as she prays alongside the Hundred Years’ War, and the Great Plague’s destruction of one-third of human life.

Holy rover : journeys in search of mystery, miracles and God, by Lori Erickson.
Erickson travels the world as a writer specializing in holy sites – journeys that led her on an ever-deepening spiritual quest. Her pilgrimages have taken her to several continents : Martin Luther sites in Germany, Machu Picchu in Peru, Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, and The Temple of Artemis and House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus, Turkey to name a few.

Farewell to the library bees

beekeeper Cenna checking the beesIt is with heavy hearts that we advise that the Central rooftop is no longer home to our bees and their hives. Council reluctantly had to make this decision due to the forthcoming extensive building works in Te Ngākau Civic Square which will probably extend across years rather than a few months due to earthquake strengthening. This move will be for the foreseeable future, at least until the environment is more settled.

We have loved having the bees and working with Cenna Lloyd (professional beekeeper from Local Flavour Urban Honey company) who has been visiting and caring for the bees while they were part of our team!

If you are thinking of exploring adding bees to your property, here are some titles to browse:


Practical beekeeping in New Zealand, by Andrew Matheson.
This is a classic title which has just been updated in its 5th edition. This is the main local guide to keeping bees in New Zealand, and is suitable for both amateur and professional beekeepers but also the interested general reader with information about many beekeeping subjects, not only hive management.

The rooftop beekeeper : a scrappy guide to keeping urban honeybees, Megan Paska,
“This explores the ease and charm of keeping bees in an urban environment. Its approach is a practical manual – but is well illustrated, with checklists and plenty of tips and good advice. Covering all aspects of urban beekeeping, this book also includes plenty of sweet recipes for delicious treats, tonics, and beauty products to make with your honey.

Keeping bees in towns & cities, by Luke Dixon.
Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities features everything an urbanite needs to know to start keeping bees: how to select the perfect hive, how to buy bees, how to care for a colony, how to harvest honey, and what to do in the winter. Urban beekeeping has particular challenges and needs, and this book highlights the challenges and presents practices that are safe, legal, and neighbour-friendly. The text is rounded out with profiles of urban beekeepers from all over the world.” (Catalogue)

Save the bees with natural backyard hives : the easy and treatment-free way to attract and keep healthy bees, by Rob McFarland
Save the Bees offers different, easy and healthier ways to keep your own hive. Their approach is fresh, modern and easy for anyone to do. Learn step-by-step how to acquire a colony, care for it and reap the reward – that incredibly delicious, all-natural, chemical-free, unprocessed, honey.

Ways of looking: Recent beliefs picks

2018’s first beliefs list includes discussions on the latest scientific research on wellbeing and spiritual activities, how NZ has been shaped by church, and a comparison on Buddhism and western psychotherapy.

Syndetics book coverEinstein and the rabbi : searching for the soul, by Naomi Levy.
The great Einstein once wrote to distressed rabbi Robert S. Marcus, a decorated battlefield chaplain in WWII, when his 11 year old son died. Rabbi Levy enters this intense human drama that draws on her own experience when she suddenly felt the spiritual presence of her murdered father beside her, guiding her. This is the story of an inspiring journey of discovery.

Syndetics book coverSeven ways of looking at religion : the major narratives, by Benjamin Schewel.
Schewel organizes and evaluates the main narratives of religious history which have been used by scholars and argues that debates can be viewed according to seven central themes: subtraction, renewal, transsecular, postnaturalist, construct, perennial, and developmental. Examining the basic logic, insights, and limitations of each of these narratives, Schewel offers an original philosophical perspective on religion today.

Syndetics book coverUncomfortable : the awkward and essential challenge of Christian community, by Brett McCracken.
The modern trend of Christians shopping around for a church to fit their needs is under McCracken’s microscope. “What if the biblical approach is actually that we should fit ourselves into the life and mission of the local church, adapting ourselves to the family and filling gaps where needed?” he writes. Each chapter tackles a different topic with suggestions about how to let go of personal preferences in light of Biblical teaching.

Syndetics book coverScience and spiritual practices, by Rupert Sheldrake.
Many recent studies have shown that religious and spiritual practices generally make people happier and healthier. Sheldrake summarizes the latest scientific research on what happens when we take part in these practices – Meditation – Gratitude – Connecting with nature – Relating to plants – Rituals – Singing and chanting – Pilgrimage and holy places. This is a book for anyone who has a sneaking suspicion that in the drive towards all-pervading secularism, something valuable has been left behind.

Syndetics book coverAdvice not given : a guide to getting over yourself, by Mark Epstein.
Epstein reveals how Buddhism and Western psychotherapy, two different traditions that developed in entirely different times, both identify the ego as the limiting factor in our well-being. Our ego claims to have our best interests at heart, but its consuming pursuit for attention, sabotage our true goals and cause suffering. When we release it, we are free.

Syndetics book coverThe rise and fall of Adam and Eve, Stephen Greenblatt.
Drawing on recent archaeological discoveries, Greenblatt compares the powerful Genesis narrative to the ancient Gilgamesh legend and recent discoveries Nag Hammadi, Egypt. He tracks the way they have acted as creative muses and catalysts over the centuries – a psalm of creation and a powerful dark allegory of accountability and pain at the same time. This story remains a signpost, not for an explanation of the scientific nature of things, but rather a deep encounter with primal challenges that continue to fascinate.

Syndetics book coverSunday best : how the church shaped New Zealand and New Zealand shaped the church, by Peter Lineham.
The inter-relationship of church and society has been complex from the early arrival of the missionaries. Historian Peter Lineham asks: If faiths aimed to influence the development of New Zealand society, how did NZ change those faiths? Who shaped whom?

Syndetics book coverJudgment detox : release the beliefs that hold you back from living a better life, by Gabrielle Bernstein.
Motivational speaker Bernstein shares a 6 step process to release the judgmental beliefs that hold you back from living a better life. Pettiness disappears in the face of renewed priorities, freedom and compassion. But it does take commitment to healing.

Syndetics book coverWhat the Qurʼan meant and why it matters, by Garry Wills.
Pulitzer Prize-winning religious scholar Wills draws on his background as a devout Catholic and historian as he presents his unique understanding of what the Qur’an says, relying on commentaries rather than an in-depth knowledge of Arabic language or culture. He identified the social and political barriers that he and other American non-Muslims will have to address, before expounding on various aspects including Islamic prophets, caring for the community, Jihad, Sharia, and women and the veil. This is an encouragement to follow the author in reading further.

Catalogue changes coming soon

Our Classic Catalogue, which has been our mainstay since 2002, will shortly be retired. It was no longer being developed. Our new Catalogue, introduced in mid December is produced by the same company The Library Corporation and offers more features.

New catalogue home screen
It’s smartphone-friendly and presents a lot more information to help you choose what you want to borrow. It still has all the main searches – by title, author, or subject, but it’s easier to see if the book (or DVD etc) is available in the library. Once you’re logged in, you can save your favourite searches, share results on Facebook, or even opt in to save your borrowing history.

Similarly, Kids’ Cat has been replaced with a new version, and the previous version will also be shortly retired.

Please speak with a library staff member if you would like to find out more about the new catalogues and how they work.

A Fresh Kids’ Catalogue

home page of new kids catAs part of our catalogue upgrade, our Kids’ Cat, which has served us very well for the last 15 years, has also been transformed. Fresh out of the box, it’s now ready to sample, along with your other festive goodies.

It’s easier to find books in series in the new Kids’ Cat, and like our new main catalogue, is designed to be viewed equally well on a smartphone or PC. Like the current Kids’ Cat, the search results are limited to books (plus eBooks and DVDs etc) in the children’s collection areas.

Our librarians are working hard on adding more New Zealand topics to our book-lists in time for the beginning of the school year in 2018.

Our new catalogue has landed!

catalogue home pageWe’re delighted to introduce you to our catalogue, please give it a try.

Supplied by the same company as our Classic Catalogue, it’s smartphone-friendly and presents a lot more information to help you choose what you want to borrow. It still has all the main searches – by title, author, or subject, but it’s easier to see if the book (or DVD etc) is available in the library.

Once you’re logged in, you can save your favourite searches, make lists (for your summer holiday reading), or even opt in to save your borrowing history.

Shortly it will be available from our home page, but in the meantime, you can find the link on our main catalogue search page or you can bookmark http://catalogue.wcl.govt.nz.

Cultivating compassion: recent beliefs books

November’s list of recent books kicks off with a highly readable spotlight on Norse mythology, and an important exploration of animism, as well as including several books on creating space for happiness.

Syndetics book coverNorse mythology, by Neil Gaiman.
Read about Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, blood brother to Odin and a trickster. Gaiman has written these ancient stories with his deft novelist touch that makes for easy and accessible reading. These gods emerge with fierce competitive battles, propensity for calculation and manipulation, and a passion which drives their decision-making.

Syndetics book coverLearning to live well together : case studies in interfaith diversity, by Tom Wilson and Riaz Ravat.
“From celebrating cultural events, to considering how the police should interact with members of the public from different faith communities, this book highlights the ways in which all members of society can engage constructively with diversity. This is an excellent resource for anyone wishing to understand the issues of religion and belief that may arise at local and national levels, and develop appropriate attitudes and actions for peaceful resolution.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnimism : respecting the living world, by Graham Harvey.
“Animism’ is now an important term for describing ways in which some people understand and engage respectfully with the larger-than-human world. Its central theme is our relationship with our other-than-human neighbours, such as animals, plants, rocks, and kettles, rooted in the understanding that the term ‘person’ includes more than humans. Graham Harvey explores the animist cultures of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians and eco-Pagans, introducing their diversity and considering the linguistic, performative, ecological and activist implications of these different animisms.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe skeptic and the rabbi : falling in love with faith : a memoir, by Judy Gruen.
Gruen speaks with refreshing honesty about what it means to remain authentic to yourself while charting a new yet ancient spiritual path at odds with the surrounding culture. Judy Gruen began her Orthodox Jewish future with her marriage, a faith very different to her open liberal upbringing. Gruen brings the reader right along for the ride in this touching and humorous memoir.

Syndetics book coverThe book of joy, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams.
How do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering? Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships – or, as they would say, because of them – they are two of the most joyful people on the planet. Here they share personal stories and spiritual practices revealing how to joyfully.

Syndetics book coverHappiness is a state of mind : how to create space for happiness in your life, by His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa ; with Kate Adams.
“His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa reveals that the secret to happiness lies in the mind. Exploring the simple ways we can train our minds to recognise a happiness that is already there, he gives us the tools to embrace an appreciation for life as it is, rather than as we feel it should be, and helps us flourish as individuals, and as part of the wider world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe one life we’re given : finding the wisdom that waits in your heart, by Mark Nepo.
“Mark Nepo has been called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time,” “a consummate storyteller,” and “an eloquent spiritual teacher.” ‘In order to fully live the one life we’re given,’ Nepo writes, “we each must affirm how precious this one life is and open ourselves to loving whatever life puts before us. Whether that is suffering, pain, fear or loss, or surprise, beauty, love or wonder, we work to stay in touch with our hearts in order to make sense of our experience.” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSacred histories in secular New Zealand, edited by Geoffrey Troughton and Stuart Lange.
“Despite recent declines in church attendance, the persistence of religious tolerance, spiritual belief and celebration of Christian festivals and ideals suggests that Christianity plays a more enduring and significant role in New Zealand life than the country’s secular reputation would indicate. Sacred Histories in Secular New Zealand examines some often neglected aspects of New Zealand’s history – from missionaries and Christian Maori to charismatic preachers and puritan novelists, from sectarian conflict and competition to increased co-operation and unity. Together these highlight the interweaving of Christianity with culture, and the interplay of sacred and secular throughout New Zealand’s history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTen tales from Tibet : cultivating compassion, by Lama Lhakpa Yeshe.
“A collection of poetic re-tellings distilled from ancient oral tradition, the stories have been specially chosen by Lama Lhakpa Yeshe because they demonstrate a beautiful wisdom in a simple, yet profound way, and teach us how to nurture the singular human quality that defines us all.Introduced by global peace and environment campaigner, Satish Kumar, a pupil of Lama Lhakpa Yeshe, and illustrated with photography by fellow Buddhist Matthieu Ricard, this is a beautifully crafted book and unique guide to opening our hearts and minds by cultivating compassion–helping others and ourselves–to find joy, peace, and happiness.” (Syndetics summary)