Online biography resources can be found at mygateway.info. Check out the Biography portal page for databases such as Biography Resource Center and the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, for example, contains over 3,000 biographies of famous New Zealanders (it does not, however, include people who are alive).
Biographies can also be found on many of our other databases for particular subject areas including arts, music, and business. Ask at any library enquiries desk if you need help with these resources:
Searching the catalogue
Looking for a particular person?
When looking for titles on a particular person, the best approach is from the Basic Search screen, choose the "search type" Subjects in the dropdown menu, enter the word "biography" and as much of the individual's name as is known - then click 'Search'. If this doesn't return any titles, or not as many as expected, repeat the search with just the individual's name i.e. leave out the word "biography".
Looking for a particular occupation?
To find titles about people in a particular occupation, also choose the Subjects search type, and enter the word "biography" and the job e.g. 'biography politicians'.
Looking for biographies about people from a particular country?
To find titles about people from a particular country, also choose the Subjects search type, and enter the word "biography" and the name of the country e.g. 'biography Russia'.
To find all our biographies...
To simply see all our available titles in the adult Biography collection, choose the 'Call Number browse' search type, and enter the word "biography". This will take you to an alphabetical list of all the titles catalogued as 'biography'. This search will not return the latest biographies first, so if you wish to only check the latest biographies, use our All new biographies quicksearch.
Each library has a dedicated, sign-posted area for biographical books. In the Central Library this area is at the south end of the 1st Floor, on the Victoria Street side. The Children's and Young Adult sections of each library branch also have collections of biographies aimed at younger readers.
Biographies on individuals:
Biographies on individuals have a spine label of 'B', followed by the first 3 letters of the subject's surname e.g. biographies of Robert Muldoon will be labelled B MUL. Members of royal families however are labelled according to their first names i.e. books on Queen Elizabeth's I and II will both be found at B ELI.
Biographies on more than one person have a spine label of Bc, followed by the first 3 letters of either the title or author of the book. Check the catalogue to confirm in each case. These collected biographies are shelved in the same general area as, but apart from, the other biographies.
@ the Central Library:
The Central Library has a Biography Reference section at the south end of the 1st Floor. This includes a good range of New Zealand and international Who's Who and similar titles. There is other reference only material on the 2nd Floor in the New Zealand and Maori collections.
Other places to look:
In addition to the Biography sections, there are books about some individuals shelved along with titles on the subject for which they became known. Books about popular, jazz and classical music musicians and composers are shelved in the subject area rather than with biographies. Though new books about artists, architects, photographers, actors and sports people are shelved in the biography section, older titles can be found with the relevant books in the main non-fiction sequence. You'll find some of these call numbers listed in the table below.
|Biographies of:||Dewey number:|
|Classical music composers & performers||789 & 789.2|
|Popular music & jazz artists||786.9|
|Rugby & league players||796.33092|
eBooks and eAudiobooks
You can also borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks to read or listen to on computers and mobile devices.
- NZ Edge.com
Biographies of some great New Zealand achievers.
- From the BBC - Historic figures
Selected biographies of historic figures from the BBC - an A-Z index.
- Who's alive and who's dead
A website dedicated to helping you find out which of the noted celebrities of our time are with us, and which ones have died.
- Brainy History
Check out reviews of newly released biographies in magazines held in the Arts, Music and Literature section at Central Library.
- Bookmarks : for everyone who hasn't read everything
- Good reading
- Literary review
- New Zealand Books
- TLS, the Times literary supplement
This page is written and maintained by library staff. Our aim is to keep you informed about the Biographies section of the library and to highlight parts of the collection which may interest you. We would be pleased to hear from you about this page, contact us with any feedback firstname.lastname@example.org.