Librarians’ favourite DVDs of the month

A wide range of movies & TV shows curated by our avid AV fans on staff for the first half of the year. We hope you find something new to enjoy.

Beauty and the beast.
Belle (Emma Watson), a bright, beautiful and independent young woman, is taken prisoner by a beast (Dan Stevens) in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the beast’s hideous exterior, recognising the kind heart and soul of the true prince that hides on the inside. Overall it was an interesting revamp of the original animated 1992 classic. I found there was more depth to the characters: Belle and the beast, and perhaps more of a back story as to how their background, experiences and personalities shaped the people that they came to be. As always, the story encourages viewers to look beyond the superficial and to be compassionate, curious, humble, and generous. This movie is a must see and has been worth the long wait. A film that the entire family can enjoy on a night out on the town– especially on a Saturday night! 9/10 all the way! (Katie)

The girl on the train.
Rachel (Emily Blunt), devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasising about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until one morning she sees something shocking happen there and becomes entangled in the mystery that unfolds. Solid adaptation of Paula Hawkins novel which, given it largely consisted of the main characters internal monologue, must have proven difficult to adapt. The location is changed to the States like High Fidelity, and like a spate of recent adaptations would probably have benefitted from being a BBC or ITV mini-series rather than a feature film. Probably, as with Gone Girl, more enjoyable if you haven’t yet read the book, but if you have it’s still an entertaining watch. (Mark)

I, Daniel Blake.
Always defending the socially vulnerable, Ken Loach’s career has spanned five decades and at the age of 80, he delivers one of his finest works. Obviously he is furious about the British welfare state and the heartless bureaucracy but with as little drama as possible, masterfully depicts the struggles of widowed carpenter Daniel Blake who has suffered a heart attack and a young single mother of two Katie. With the help of the excellent screenplay by his long-time collaborator Paul Laverty, there are lovely moments of humour and warmth in this harsh social realism drama and makes it even more memorable. A small triumph. (Shinji)

Finding Dory.
This movie is in a word, FANTASTIC! Finding Dory reunites the friendly but forgetful blue tang fish, Dory, along with her friends, Marlin and Nemo on an epic quest to find Dory’s family. The questions that hangs on everyone’s lips are what does she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak whale? Even the Pixar short film, Piper that was released alongside Finding Dory is beautiful and heart-warming. Two movies for the price of one, you can’t go wrong. Overall, I loved the film! It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it will make you want to watch it over and over again. It is truly unforgettable. A well-deserved 9/10. (Katie)

Sully.
Clint Eastwood helms this adaptation of the events of January 15, 2009, the Miracle on the Hudson, when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (played by Tom Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. It would be easy to downplay this as ‘solid’ or ‘straight-forward’ but after a recent span of bloated and overly arty biographical adaptations this 96 minutes is a perfect example of solid Hollywood film-making. If it seems underplayed or lacks that ‘larger than life’ factor of most biopics it’s a deliberate move, the no-nonsense storytelling a perfect match for the cool, collected nature of its subject. (Mark)

Captain Fantastic.
Ben, a father of 6, is raising his kids “off grid” and teaching them how to survive in the wild as well as feeding their amazing minds with his own home schooling techniques. Each child is unique and the viewer sees how Ben has tailored their learning to incorporate each one as well as “the whole”. When tragedy strikes he is forced to take them away from their known environment into the frightening modern world. The children’s grandparents disagree with the way he is raising his children and arguments ensue and lead him to question his beliefs. This movie made me laugh and cry and gave insights into modern child rearing and how it can be scary no matter where you bring your children up. 5 out of 5 stars. (Raewyn)

The man from U.N.C.L.E..
Set in the 60’s and at the height of the Cold War, a mysterious criminal organization plans to use nuclear weapons and technology to upset the fragile balance of power between the United States and Soviet Union. So in typical Superhero style, CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) are forced to put aside their hostilities and work together to stop the bad guys in their tracks. The duo’s only lead is the daughter of a missing German scientist, Gabby (Alicia Vikander), whom they must find soon to prevent a global catastrophe. In typical Ritchie fashion, there is plenty of fast moving (and perhaps violent) action sequences, memorable one liners, cameos by very famous actors and sporting figures (infamous cameo from David Beckham! – Whoohoo!), plenty of twists and turns that you don’t see coming. Overall a great film filled with action, comedy, romance and suspense. (Katie)

Arrival.
When mysterious spacecraft’s touch down across the globe, an elite team, led by expert codebreaker Louise Banks (Amy Adams), is brought together to investigate. As various countries respond differently to the situation an ‘attack’ on the new invaders seems immanent, as Banks and the team (Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker) race against time to crack a way of communicating with the aliens to learn just what their purpose in coming to Earth is. Marketed as a sci-fi film, it’s more philosophical in nature, similar to Jodie Foster’s ‘Contact’, Solaris or the recent wave of films like Ex-Machina or Coherence that focus more on the cerebral rather than spectacle. Perhaps not for everyone, but definitely different than the usual Hollywood approach. (Mark)

Indignation.
This directorial debut of James Schamus, who is well known as a producer particularly for Ang Lee’s works, is a faithful adaptation of Philip Roth’s late novel of the same title. Set in the 50s, it’s a bitter coming of age tale about the intelligent but complex Jewish student Marcus (Logan Lerman). Schamus transformed it into a solid, sophisticated work which features some impressive acting, including a16-minute-long verbal spar scene between Dean and Marcus. Apparently Roth was pleased with the film. It’s a relief for the director and the audience alike. (Shinji) Continue reading “Librarians’ favourite DVDs of the month”

Law for Lunch this August!

Law for Lunch is back this year with a range of free talks, presented every Wednesday during August, from 12 – 1pm at Wellington City Libraries. This series of talks, covering popular law topics, is presented by guest speakers in partnership with Community Law Centre.
Come along and hear accurate current information and practical advice during these seminars.  There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

The programme this year includes the following topics:

Wednesday, 2 August – Central Library
Equal Pay – presented by Steph Dyhrberg (Employment Lawyer) and John Ryall (E Tu union)

Wednesday, 9 August – Central Library
Earthquakes & Insurance – presented by Chris Boys (Incurance Lawyer)

Wednesday, 16 August – Central Library
Credit and Debt – presented by Commerce Commission and Budget advisors

Wednesday, 23 August – Newtown Library
WINZ Entitlements – presented by Tony McGurk (Welfare Lawyer) and Kay Brereton (Benefit Advocate)

Wednesday, 30 August – Johnsonville Library
Enduring Powers of Attorney – presented by Sheila Reid (Age Concern) and Elder Law

More information about each talk is available on the library event calendar.

All welcome!

wcl.govt.nz has had a makeover

You might notice our website looks updated, but it is a lot more than a fresh coat of paint. The catalogue search box remains a focal point – it’s the most popular area.

It’s now easier to view and use on a smartphone, tablet or other devices. More information and news will display up front, and the calendar will list selected events for your convenience. But all your favourite sections are still there – heritage, online databases, eLibrary, library services or branch locations and events.

Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback and ideas on the post-it note boards and forms in our libraries. We really appreciated your input.

Drama Online & BWB Texts now available!

The library has purchased two new online tools for you to use through our website – Bloomsbury Drama Online and BWB Text Collection.  Both can be found on our Mygateway page (the home of our online resources) and can be accessed either at home or in the library.

Firstly, Drama Online is a one stop shop for anyone with an interest in drama.   This award winning database features over 1,200 classic and contemporary play texts, including the complete works of Shakespeare. Background to the plays are provided through critical scholarly works, theory and practical “how to” guides. There is also streaming video of live performances from Shakespeare’s Globe and professional audio recordings from L.A. Theatre Works. You can search for and sort plays and monologues using cast size, gender, roles, genre, period, author, setting and theme filters.

Feedback from the talented thespians on staff is that it should have real appeal to students, drama teachers and those involved in community theatre.  Dive straight in and have a play (haha) or check out this overview below.

The second online tool is from Bridget Williams, the BWB Text Collection.  Bridget Williams Books is a well-known local publisher of New Zealand print books and recently they have also developed an ebook platform. We previously purchased the BWB Treaty of Waitangi Collection and have now added the Texts Collection to our offerings.

The BWB Texts Collection brings together a diverse group of short ebooks on the big issues facing New Zealand by some of the country’s best writers and commentators. Topics covered include: the housing crisis, climate change, child poverty, inequality, the 1981 Springbox tour and public health.

One of the big positives for us all is that they are so easy to use – titles are meant to be read in the web browser, and this can be any web browser on any device.  There’s no downloading involved, just click on the title and read!   And the number of users are unlimited.

Need audio equipment for a gig, or for recording music?

Libraries are no longer just places to get books. Need a PA system for a party, a speaking engagement, or a wedding? Playing a live or studio gig? Need to do some recording in the field, or hook up some gear to your laptop and make a new album at home? The new Library Music Equipment collection has what you need. We love Wellington music at Wellington City Libraries and we are here to help you make it.

We have five new Music Kits for people to borrow as part of our new Equipment Lending Service:


AudioBox KIT:
• 1x Rode NT1-A Microphone
• 1x SM6 Shock mount & pop filter
• 1x Dust Cover
• 1x Rode 6m XLR cable
• 1x Presonus Audiobox iTwo
• 1x USB cable
$30 for 4 days/Overdue charge: $10 per day
Continue reading “Need audio equipment for a gig, or for recording music?”

Playstation trial at the library

Exciting news for fans of gaming! We are trialing some Playstation gaming at these libraries – Karori, Johnsonville, Cummings Park, Miramar and Kilbirnie. Some of the reasons we chose to try this at Wellington City Libraries include:

  • Play of all types is critical to the learning and development of children.
  • In moderation, gaming has been associated with higher intelligence, doing well at school and getting on well with peers.
  • Gaming encourages problem solving, strategic thinking, and creativity. As a shared experience, it encourages collaboration, community building and communication.
  • There is scientific evidence that gaming can physically increase parts of the brain related to memory, spatial navigation, and fine motor function.
  • It can also improve eyesight for the visually impaired, and improve a person’s sense of wellbeing.
  • We believe games can attract non-readers into the library and enable us to expose them to a reading culture and promote related library services.
  • Cost is a barrier to aspects of digital media literacy for some. Libraries can remove this barrier and foster community inclusiveness.
  • Most games involve elaborate storytelling and tie-in with other items held at the library. Read the book, watch the movie, listen to the CD and play the game!
  • Gaming adds a strand to existing library creative learning resources such as board games, puzzles, Lego and library makerspaces.
  • The NZ Physical Activity Guidelines (Ministry of Health) suggest up to 2hrs per day of recreational screen time is acceptable (in addition to school screen time) for children.
  • Other New Zealand libraries have been successfully running Playstation gaming sessions for over 10 years.

Parents are welcome to play with their children. Parental permission and supervision is required for children. Noise control is managed by the use of headsets.

We are offering it for a few hours per week only – not all the time, so please check with your nearest participating library as to which games they have available and when games can be played.

Magazines are free to borrow in March


All magazines except Bestsellers will be free to borrow in March. This includes adults and children’s magazines from both Central and the branch libraries.

This only applies to the standard issue fee, and not to other related fees such as out-of-towner, reserves or overdues.

So come on in and try some extra titles from our extensive range in cooking, sport, social comment, current affairs, DIY/home, arts and crafts, fashion, hobbies, and entertainment.

We have tablets available to borrow!

Customer tablet with booksIf your New Year’s resolution is to try out more digital services or borrow an eBook, read on!

Adult customers are now able to borrow iPad minis for 3 weeks from the Second Floor desk at the Central Library. These are for customers who would like to become more familiar with the library’s eResources such as free eBooks (Overdrive), newspapers (PressReader), magazines (Zinio for libraries), and other online resources.

Loans are $5, and community card discounts will apply.

Please make your booking, and a staff member will contact you to confirm your tablet pickup time. Tablets will be reset between each customer.

(Depending on the results of the trial, this service may be extended to other branches.)

tablet in front of bookshelf

Central Library update

2016-central2ndfloordeskThe Central Library’s Second Floor will remain closed to customers for at least the next week. The public areas such as the Travel, History and Local Heritage sections are in excellent condition, but many bays in the magazines storage room at the northern end were damaged.  These have now been cleared and the stack magazines put into storage. That stack space will be used to accommodate some teams of Council staff from the Council’s Civic Administration Building which is being assessed further.  As soon as noisy interior works are completed for this temporary change, this quiet reading zone will open again to customers.

In the meantime, current newspapers are available from the First floor, and library staff there are very happy to retrieve books or library items normally located on the Second floor public areas.  Staff are also available to show library members how to access travel, history or NZ eBooks from our Overdrive and Borrowbox collections  or use PressReader (hundreds of current international newspapers) via www.wcl.govt.nz/pressreader.

Holiday hours 2016/2017

Summer snowmanA warm seasons greetings to all our library borrowers and visitors with best wishes for a happy holiday season. Here are the opening hours across all our libraries from Saturday 24 December 2016 to Wednesday 4 January 2017. Click on the table for a larger view or follow this link. Please note all our libraries will be closed the statutory public holidays from 25-27 December and also 1-3 January. Brooklyn, Khandallah and Wadestown libraries will also be closed 24 and 31 December. Our libraries resume regular opening hours on Wednesday 4 January. 1617holidayhours-small Of course our eLibrary isn’t going on holiday: we have eBooks, eMagazines & eAudio to keep you entertained, along with daily newspapers & eMagazines in PressReader. Happy holidays everyone!