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Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Category: database highlight

Fighting off the boredom with PapersPast

Are you really, incredibly, horrendously and hyperbolically bored? I know. Me too. Lockdown is still, absolutely, the right thing to be doing but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or fun or not boring.

This is just a teeny blog post but the resource I’m highlighting here can provide hours of interesting scrolling. There is a site called PapersPast that anyone can access for FREE and it is a digitised and readable form of hundreds of the newspapers and magazines from Aotearoa/New Zealand’s past. It’s a resource from the National Library of New Zealand and is a great example of how informative and interesting archival material can be.

This site is for you if:

  • You want to learn more about local history.
  • You’ve got really hooked on researching genealogy, what with ancestry.com being available from home at the moment and all!
  • You want to read newspapers but are, sensibly, limiting yourself to current news intake as there is only so much news it is healthy to consume at this time.
  • You’re bored and want something to do.
  • You’ve become increasingly interested in news and the media and the role it plays in the world through seeing the impact that is has at a time like this.
  • You’re studying history at school and you need to find some primary sources for a project.

NOTE: Old school newspapers may not be quite what you expect. Back in the day they were such a foundational and unique resource that people and communities put all sorts of stuff in there. Sometimes they feel more like blogs or Facebook feeds than they do contemporary print media. If someone loses their favourite knitted beanie ...they probably didn’t call them beanies back then… where does the word beanie even come from?...  on Cuba street back in the early 1900s, everybody knows about it! That kinda thing. It’s weird and fascinating. We’re keen to see what kind of stuff you’re able to find!

Database highlight Bloomsbury Drama Online

We’ve got some amazing databases available at WCL and over the next few weeks I’ll be highlighted a few which I think are pretty awesome. You can access this particular database through the “Arts and Design” link on our online databases page. It’s pretty incredible, especially if you’re studying drama or (and!) Shakespeare. The blurb:

“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. Search for and sort plays and monologues using cast size, gender, roles, genre, period, author, setting and theme filters. There is plenty here to discover.”

I really enjoyed the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of Othello, Macbeth, and Titus Andronicus. It’s an amazing way to view Shakespeare performed by the best actors, in interesting and unique productions – sometimes you need something new to bring the Bard to life – and free, as well!