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.

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.

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)

Remembering Jonathan Mane-Wheoki

Artwork at entrance to Central LibraryA memorial is currently underway which remembers a well known Wellington figure Jonathan Mane-Wheoki. The project includes NZ artist Shannon Novak installing a small artwork in 10 locations around Wellington – 10 locations Jonathan frequented and supported. Wellington Central Library was identified as one of the locations, and the artwork is now installed on a glass panel in the Ground floor entrance area. The installation is called “Pieces at an Exhibition” (named after his favourite musical piece).

Jonathan Ngarimu Mane-Wheoki CNZM (8 December 1943 – 10 October 2014) was a New Zealand art historian, academic, and curator. Of Ngāpuhi, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī and English descent, he was a pioneer in the study of contemporary Māori and Pacific art history. Jonathan invested much of his time and energy into the arts community in Wellington, including a stint as Director of Art and Collection services at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in 2004.

The library also has available a copy of Colonial Gothic to Māori renaissance : essays in memory of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, edited by Conal McCarthy & Mark Stocker, which was recently launched by Victoria University Press.

Unwavering convictions – Latest Beliefs books

Holding steadfast to decisions characterises many of the books in this months new releases – even when those decisions were counter-cultural or unpopular, bringing personal cost.

Syndetics book coverMartin Luther : renegade and prophet, by Lyndal Roper.
2017 is a milestone 500 years since the emergence of Martin Luther as an influential change agent in the church. This is a full-blooded portrait of a revolutionary thinker who was, deeply flawed and full of contradictions. Distinguished Oxford University historian, Lyndal Roper looks inside the heart of this complex figure. The force of Luther’s personality, she argues, had enormous historical effects–both good and ill. “This is Luther in colour.” (The Times) “Anyone seriously interested in one of the most influential figures of the last half-millennium will need to make time to read this one.” (Literary Review) The library has also recently purchased Martin Luther : Catholic Dissident.

Syndetics book coverThe souls of China : the return of religion after Mao, by Ian Johnson.
“From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a revelatory portrait of religion in China today–its history, the spiritual traditions of its Eastern and Western faiths, and the ways in which it is influencing China’s future. China is now filled with new temples, churches, and mosques–as well as cults, sects, and politicians trying to harness religion for their own ends. Driving this explosion of faith is uncertainty–over what it means to be Chinese and how to live an ethical life in a country that discarded traditional morality a century ago and is searching for new guideposts.” (drawn from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEverything is workable : a Zen approach to conflict resolution, by Diane Musho Hamilton.
“Conflict is going to be part of your life–as long as you have relationships, hold down a job, or have dry cleaning to be picked up. Bracing yourself against it won’t make it go away, but if you approach it consciously, you can navigate it in a way that not only honours everyone involved but makes it a source of deep insight as well. Seasoned mediator Diane Hamilton provides the skill set you need to engage conflict with wisdom and compassion, and even–sometimes–to be grateful for it.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA nun’s story : the deeply moving true story of giving up a life of love and luxury in a single irresistible moment, by Sister Agatha, with Richard Newman.
“One happy day, in the midst of writing to her fiancee, her hand stopped writing unbidden; then it continued by itself, etching the words which would change her life forever: “. . . but there’s no point now, as I am going to be a nun.” That bolt from the blue set events in motion that caused Shirley to lose her mother and sisters, her husband to be, her horses, her parties and life of ease. Within months, Shirley had become Sister Agatha. But her faith in her choice never faltered, …. Now 85, she looks back on an incredible life of love, loss, and belief. …. Sister Agatha’s momentous life will touch and inspire, while reminding us that it is perhaps better to accept that not everything in the world is yet explained.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSecular Buddhism : imagining the Dharma in an uncertain world, by Stephen Batchelor.
The practice of mindfulness is more common in mainstream Western culture, although many have little interest in the religious aspects of Buddhism. Is it possible to recover from the Buddhist teachings a vision of human flourishing that is secular rather than religious without compromising the integrity of the tradition? Batchelor explores the complex implications of Buddhism’s secularization and offers a detailed picture of contemporary Buddhism and its attempt to find a voice in the modern world. (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSalafi-jihadism : the history of an idea, by Shiraz Maher.
“While much has been said about the way jihadists behave, their ideology remains poorly understood. As the Levant has imploded and millenarian radicals claim to have revived a Caliphate based on the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, the need for a nuanced and accurate understanding of jihadist beliefs has never been greater. Shiraz Maher charts the intellectual underpinnings of salafi-jihadism from its origins in the mountains of the Hindu Kush to the jihadist insurgencies of the 1990s and the 9/11 wars. What emerges is the story of a pragmatic but resilient warrior doctrine that often struggles … to consolidate the idealism of theory with the reality of practice.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnwavering convictions : Gao Zhisheng’s ten-year torture and faith in China’s future, by Gao Zhisheng.
“Gao Zhisheng was one of Beijing’s most successful lawyers. Self-taught and brought up in poverty, he came to prominence through his defense of individuals persecuted by the Chinese government for their religion and practice of Falun Gong, before being detained, tortured, and imprisoned himself by the same regime. These pages are not an easy read, because they detail the regime’s attempts to break one of the greatest spirits of our time. Despite this, Gao Zhisheng’s unwavering convictions, profound beliefs, and commitment to humanity shine through.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hidden school : return of the peaceful warrior, by Dan Millman.
“In the long-awaited conclusion to the international bestselling Peaceful Warrior saga, Dan Millman takes readers on an epic spiritual quest across the world as he searches for the link between everyday life and transcendent possibility. Continuing his journey from Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Dan moves from Honolulu to the Mojave Desert, and from a bustling Asian city to a secluded forest, until he uncovers the mystery of The Hidden School. While traversing continents, he uncovers lessons of life hidden in plain sight–insights pointing the way to an inspired life in the eternal present.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDays? or ages? : the Genesis question : a layman looks at Creation’s calendar, by Jerry Harmon.
“This work summarizes a thorough examination of Genesis 1, including relevant passages from other parts of the Bible, all in plain, straightforward language. … it draws from a wealth of scholarly works by some of the world’s leading theologians and other learned professionals. Whatever one’s opinion might be, this thesis will be informative reading and a significant resource to help clear away some of the clouds of mystery surrounding one of the Bible’s most challenging subjects.” (Syndetics summary)

Thank you for your feedback

iStock_000027421656_500pxThank you to all customers who gave their time recently to complete 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. We always are keen to see the results and learn from you how we can improve.

Here are the 2017 Annual Survey Results. [1 MB]

Some key results we’ve noted
– overall, you are satisfied with our new self-check machines. There are still some remaining concerns, especially around paying fees, and we are working with our supplier to make this process smoother when borrowing DVDs etc. There was also an increase in satisfaction with staff being available to help.
– new titles and resources are added to our eLibrary each month. We would like to add kindle titles but as yet, NZ public libraries do not have digital rights to buy these.
– overall you are satisfied with the range and variety of the collection. Each year, we add close to 100,000 new items to the collection, and this remains one of our top priorities.
– more customers are borrowing books from us for their study or work (up to 44%)
– The types of spaces that are important for us to retain and increase if possible were collection areas, casual seating and quiet spaces. Demand for group learning spaces was comparatively lower.

Thank you again for this valuable information which we will be continuing to go back to throughout the year as we review services.

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.

Women and faith – Recent Beliefs arrivals

A strong feminine focus is featured in this month’s selections, but from widely different viewpoints. Read about Dominican sisters in NZ, the life of Buddhist nun Freda Bedi, or the latest title by best-selling author Ann Voskamp.

Syndetics book coverFighting hislam : women, faith and sexism, by Susan Carland.
Between the extremes often portrayed in western media, there is a group of Muslim women who have chosen to fight sexism from within, committed to this fight and their faith. “Here, Carland talks with Muslim women about how they are making a stand for their sex, while holding fast to their faith. At a time when the media trumpets scandalous revelations about life for women from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, Muslim women are always spoken about and over, never with. In Fighting Hislam, that ends.” (publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverThe revolutionary life of Freda Bedi : British feminist, Indian nationalist, Buddhist nun, by Vicki MacKenzie, foreword by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo.
Freda Bedi (1911-1977) was an English woman who become both a revolutionary in the fight for Indian independence and then a Buddhist icon. She was the first Western woman to become a Tibetan Buddhist nun and broke the rules of gender, race, and religion–in many cases before it was thought that the rules were ready to be challenged, and counted among her friends, and teachers Mohandas Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and many others. (Drawn from publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverWindows on a women’s world : the Dominican Sisters of Aotearoa New Zealand, by Susannah Grant.
10 Dominican sisters arrived in Dunedin in 1871, and for the first 100 years here the sisters were teaching nuns, living in large enclosed convents cut off from the outside world. But when the Second Vatican Council ushered in a period of radical change, they moved into small homes in local neighbourhoods, with new roles in education, social justice, pastoral care and spirituality. Grant completed a large number of oral histories with the sisters, and describes this transformation. (based on publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverThe religion of tomorrow : a vision for the future of the great traditions : more inclusive, more comprehensive, more complete, by Ken Wilber.
To be relevant to contemporary society, spiritual traditions need to take account of recent scientific discoveries about the mind, brain and emotions. Using Buddhism as an example, Wilber discusses his comprehensive Integral Approach — and shows how we can apply this to our own spiritual practice. “This is a call for wholeness, inclusiveness, and unity in the religions of tomorrow.” (Drawn from publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverGrace without God : the search for meaning, purpose, and belonging in a secular age, by Katherine Ozment.
Journalist Katherine Ozment guides us to understand the trends and impacts of the western flight from organized religion. Yet studies show that religion makes us happier, healthier and more giving, connecting us to our past and creating tight communal bonds. Spirituality & Health Magazine Best Book of 2016.

Syndetics book coverThe broken way : a daring path into the abundant life, by Ann Voskamp.
Best-selling author Ann Voskamp contemplates her own brokenness and asks: Is it really possible to live abundantly? Can we be whole? “This one’s for the busted ones who are ready to bust free, the ones ready to break molds, break chains, break measuring sticks, and break all this bad brokenness with an unlikely good brokenness. You could be one of the Beloved who is broken — and still lets yourself be loved.” (publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverGod’s generals : the military lives of Moses, Buddha, and Muhammad, by Richard A. Gabriel.
One of the more startling facts of religious history is that the founders of three of the four “greats” were also accomplished military generals with considerable battle experience. Muhammad, fought eight battles and was wounded twice, while Siddhartha Gautama (later, the Buddha), suffered from post-battle collapse, and Moses led his people to new lands, defeating the occupants. Where did the influence of militarism and religion end and begin in their lives?

Syndetics book coverLove hurts : Buddhist advice for the heartbroken, by Lodro Rinzler.
Lodro Rinzler has good news for those suffering heartbreak: the 2,500-year-old teachings of the Buddha have much to say about emotional pain. “In this short and compact first-aid kit for a broken heart, he walks you through the cause and cure of suffering, with much practical advice for self-care as you work to survive a breakup.” (publisher)

Syndetics book coverGrace, not perfection : embracing simplicity, celebrating joy, by Emily Ley.
“When Ley realized she could not do it all, at least not well – she began to simplify her life and prioritize her goals. Instead of holding herself to a picture-perfect standard, the author extended grace to herself and was able to give mental and physical space to those ambitions which mattered most. In a friend-to-friend tone, she advises investing in oneself, surrendering control, and cultivating contentment and gratitude. Simple exercises and response blanks follow each chapter. VERDICT A powerful antidote to society’s pressure to have all and be all to everyone.” (Library Journal, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverWomen who knew Jesus, by Bonnie Ring.
Women were seen as low status citizens whose testimony couldn’t be trusted in court. The author paints a picture of Jesus interacting with women – becoming friends, and healing or teaching them. This mixes anecdotes, biblical commentary and short meditations to help readers engage with the stories.

Recent Religion picks for March

Fresh off the printing press is a guide-book to Martin Luther’s Reformation locations, an introduction to a Buddhist approach to economics, and two books of special interest to Jewish readers.

Syndetics book coverMuslim integration : pluralism and multiculturalism in New Zealand and Australia, edited by Erich Kolig and Malcolm Voyce.
This collection discusses the future of religio-cultural pluralism, multicultural policies, and the growing demands for greater emphasis on assimilation. Contributors examine issues such as parallel societies, Islamophobia, radicalization, tolerance, adaptation and mutual adjustment, legal pluralism, the role of mosque architecture, and media depictions of Muslims are examined. (Drawn from publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Islamic Jesus : how the King of the Jews became a prophet of the Muslims, by Mustafa Akyol.
“Akyol exposes an extraordinary historical connection between Judaism, Jewish Christianity and Islam–a major mystery unexplored by academia. From Jesus’ Jewish followers to the Nazarenes and Ebionites to the Qu’ran’s stories of Mary and Jesus, The Islamic Jesus will reveal links between religions that seem so contrary today.” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuddhist economics : an enlightened approach to the dismal science, by Clair Brown.
Traditional economics measures the ways in which we spend our income, but doesn’t attribute worth to the crucial human interactions that give our lives meaning. Clair Brown, an economics professor at U.C. Berkeley and a practicing Buddhist, has developed a holistic model, which emphasises interdependence, shared prosperity, and happiness into her vision for a sustainable and compassionate world. This leads us to think mindfully as we go about our daily activities, and offers a way to appreciate how our actions affect the well-being of those around us.

Syndetics book coverAn atheist and a Christian walk into a bar… : talking about God, the universe, and everything, by Randal Rauser and Justin Schieber.
“Theology professor Rouser and YouTube personality Schieber offer complex, rigorous arguments that will challenge the thinking of believers and atheists alike…. They argue about whether testimony is valid evidence, what the major theological disagreements between religions suggest, what the creator’s seeming hostility to the universe means, whether the neat mathematical pattern of the universe proves intentional design, and how to best explain the problem of human suffering…” (From Publisher Weekly courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe story of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert.
Although found in the language section, this book will be of interest to religious scholars. It shares the history of the development of the Hebrew language until modern times, as well as how religions have imbued it with rich symbolic power.

Syndetics book coverThe genius of Judaism, by Bernard-Henri Lévy ; translated by Steven B. Kennedy.
Chapter headings include : The strength of the Jews ; Jewish France ; How modern Judaism abolished the idea of revolution ; The temptation of Nineveh. What does it mean to be a Chosen People? ; Thus spake Jonah ; The Ninevites of Ukraine and Libya ; Does God arrive as an idea or through faith?

Syndetics book coverMaking sense of God : an invitation to the skeptical, by Timothy Keller.
Timothy Keller invites skeptics to consider that as human beings, we cannot live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, justice, and hope. Christianity provides us with unsurpassed resources to meet these needs. Written for both the ardent believer and the skeptic, Making Sense of God shines a light on the profound value and importance of Christianity in our lives. (Drawn from the publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverMartin Luther’s travel guide : 500 years of the ninety-five theses : on the trail of the Reformation in Germany, by Cornelia Dömer.
It’s often quite fun to set yourself a mission when travelling. If you’re planning a European trip, here’s an opportunity to make that mission places connected to Martin Luther – each town, castle, and church where the famed German preached, spoke ….. or fought. Travelers will find information on the historic towns of Dresden, Eisleben, Erfurt, Gotha, Leipzig, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Weimar, and Worms. Also includes stories about Luther’s life and work as well as maps, and timelines.

Syndetics book coverLive better : a book of spiritual guidance, by Sophie Golding.
“Your spiritual journey can take many forms, and it’s important to choose the path that’s right for you. This handbook will introduce you to traditions and practices with the power to open your heart and broaden your mind. Along with practical tips and enlightening quotes, the insights here are stepping stones towards a better life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAtlas of Christian history, by Tim Dowley ; cartographer, Nick Rowland.
“Concise, helpful text, written by acknowledged authorities, guide the experience and interpret the visuals. … The atlas is broken into five primary parts that correspond well to most major introductions to the topic. The final section on the modern era pays significant attention to the growth of Christianity as a global religion. Extensive maps are provided that illuminate Christianity in Asian, African, and Latin American contexts.” (drawn from the Publisher’s description).

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 (RBdigital), 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

Beliefs books : January edition

If you’re looking for inspiration, challenge, or reflection, there’s some great holiday reading to begin the year. Two important recommended titles to note are The Little History Of Religion, and the latest biography of Samuel Marsden.

Syndetics book coverThe world, the flesh & the Devil : the life and opinions of Samuel Marsden in England and the Antipodes, 1765-1838, by Andrew Sharp.
“By diving deeply into key moments – the voyage out, the disputes with Macquarie, the founding of missions – Sharp gets us to reimagine the world as Marsden saw it: always under threat from the Prince of Darkness, in need of ‘a bold reprover of vice’, a world written in the words of the King James Bible. Andrew Sharp takes us back into the nineteenth-century world, and an evangelical mind, to reveal the past as truly a foreign country”–Publisher information.

Syndetics book coverTalking God : philosophers on belief, edited by Gary Gutting.
Where does belief come from? This book features conversations with twelve skeptics, atheists, agnostics, and believers including challenges from evolution, cutting-edge physics and cosmology, and meditations on the value of secular humanism. Insights on Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, as well as Judaism and Christianity are offered.

Syndetics book coverA little history of religion, by Richard Holloway.
Richard Holloway begins at the dawn of religious belief and retells, quite succinctly, the history of religion to the twenty-first century. Suitable for those with faith and those without, he accentuates tolerance, mystery, and calmly restores a sense of the value of faith. The discussion covers all of the major religions, and is simple without being simplistic. Evil done in the name of religion is not overlooked. This is an important snapshot to aid understanding different beliefs.

Syndetics book coverAwakening from the daydream : reimagining the Buddha’s wheel of life, by David Nichtern.
“Although traditionally thought of as modes of reincarnation, Nichtern describes the realms as mental states that we move between, sometimes quite rapidly. He clearly and briefly describes how each blocks our path towards enlightenment but also contain unique possibilities. He also provides concise and easily implemented meditation practices for coping with the negative effects of each and includes a basic guide to karma and advice for finding a spiritual guide. …this is a clear, and current introduction to Buddhist thought and practice.” (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics).

Syndetics book coverThe great good thing : a secular Jew comes to faith in Christ, by Andrew Klavan.
Klavan shares his own story – growing up Jewish in New York, and his eventual conversion to Christianity, at the end of a long search, through university and professional help. But he was gifted to receive an encounter with the living Christ, the Jewish Messiah, which brought him to a sure knowledge of his place in the cosmos and God’s kingdom. God’s answer to his prayer was “wildly generous, an act of extravagant grace.”

Syndetics book coverAngels on Earth : inspiring stories of fate, friendship, and the power of connections, by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski.
An inspiring book about the incredible impact that acts of kindness from strangers can have – impacting not only the receiver but also the giver. Schroff’s own journey has deepened her belief that angels (those sent by God) are all around us.

Syndetics book coverA Jewish guide in the Holy Land : how Christian pilgrims made me Israeli, by Jackie Feldman.
Jackie Feldman (born into an Orthodox Jewish family in New York) reflects on his work guiding many groups of Christian pilgrims – “counterintuitive work” for more than 30 years. The writing style is a mix of memoir and sociological study, which also documents his personal journey across this time.

Syndetics book coverThe universe has your back : transform fear to faith, by Gabrielle Bernstein.
“New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein teaches readers how to transform their fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life. Each story and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to what they most long for: happiness, security and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom.” (drawn from the publisher’s description).

Syndetics book coverMaking life easy : a simple guide to a divinely inspired life, by Christiane Northrup, M.D.
“Dr. Northrup explores the essential truth that has guided her ever since medical school: Our bodies, minds, and souls are profoundly intertwined. Feeling your best is about far more than physical health; it’s also about having a healthy emotional life and a robust spiritual life… You will learn to: – Untie the knots of blame and guilt that harm your health – Use sexual energy consciously to increase vitality – Balance your microbiome through healthy eating – Cultivate a healthy ego that serves you (not vice versa) – Communicate directly with the Divine.” (drawn from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPreaching : communicating faith in an age of skepticism, by Timothy Keller.
“We can discern at least three levels of “Word ministry” in the Bible. … Every Christian should be able to give both teaching (didaskalia, the ordinary word for instruction) and admonition (noutheo — a common word for strong, life-changing counsel) that convey to others the teachings of the Bible. This must be done carefully, though informally, in conversations that are usually one on one.”(drawn from chapter 1)

Trail of Light

 

Mural by Rhondda Greig, a tribute to the Trail of Light women
Mural by Rhondda Greig, featuring Trail of Light women

We are delighted to advise that the three volumes of the Trail of Light have been digitised and are now accessible. This has been a joint project with The Landmarks Project Celebrating Women Trust and Zonta Wellington. The Trail of Light series is currently housed in the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul and features short biographical profiles of 80 New Zealand women which celebrates their social, economic, or cultural contribution to Aotearoa New Zealand. The ‘Trail’ places on record women who have made a tangible difference to the status and well-being of women in New Zealand. They have given outstanding service to others, some have inspired through their vision and courage, and some have worked quietly and effectively without public recognition.

The original printed volumes were a direct outcome of the successful Suffrage Centennial Year celebrations, 1991 — 1994. They were compiled and written by Barbara Mabbett, while the book design, and artwork of the accompanying mural (illustrating this post) were accomplished by Rhondda Greig.

There are three Tribute books:
•the first book records the biographical summaries of the women selected for the ‘Trail of Light’ of the original fifty women.
•the second book provides a brief summary of each Landmark
•the third book, called ‘Trail of Light Continues’ contains biographical summaries of 30 additional women.

Learn more about Publishing your Masterpiece – Central Library, 16 November 6pm

typewriter small
To celebrate the art of writing during this Writing Month and to inspire those of us who are taking part in this year’s Nanowrimo challenge, but also all of us who are curious about the process of writing and want to know more about what comes next for writers and sometimes takes many years before we can find those labours of love on our library shelves, we have invited author and 2017 Burns Fellow Craig Cliff together with Makaro Press publisher and author Mary McCallum to join us on Wednesday 16 November at 6pm at the Central Library. They will be discussing the editing and publishing process works and what it’s like as a writer to go through that process.

indexindexCraig Cliff, author of A Man Melting: Short stories and The Mannequin Makers  will be the Robert Burns Fellow at Otago University in 2017. He hopes to be as prolific as he was in 2008, when he set himself the goal of writing a million words in a year (and blogged about it at www.yearofamillionwords.blogspot.com). He only wrote 800,767 words in the end, some of which can be found in his short story collection, A Man Melting, which won Best First Book in the 2011 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. His novel, The Mannequin Makers (2013), has been translated into Romanian and will come out in the U.S. next year.

index3index2Mary McCallum has worked as a freelance feature writer, book reviewer, broadcast journalist and television presenter. Her award-winning novel, The Blue, was published in 2007, reprinted twice in 2008 and translated into Hebrew in 2009. The Blue won the New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book Award for Fiction, and the Readers’ Choice Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. She has won and been nominated for key awards and bursaries, and has published fiction and poetry in literary journals. She has been a book reviewer for Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon programme since 2002, and for TVNZ’s Good Morning show in 2007. She has also worked as a news and current affairs journalist in New Zealand and Europe, and as the presenter for the television arts show The Edge (1994-5).

Her children’s novel, Dappled Annie and the Tigrish, illustrated by Annie Hayward, was published in 2014 by Gecko Press.

index4Eastbourne: 100 years was published in 2006 and includes one of McCallum’s essays.

 

 

 

Free Film Screenings in August

Syndetics book coverFor August 2016, join us at the Central Library for a ‘laugh in the dark’ with a selection of fantastic comedies each Thursday.

Sessions begin at 6pm on the Ground Floor of the Central Library. These screenings are free to attend. To avoid disappointment reserve your seat by telephoning 801-4068 during library opening hours.

We will now also be hosting family friendly film screenings at Newtown library on the first Friday of each month! Phone (04) 389 2830 to book those, and for more details about the upcoming film, screening on Friday 5th August.

Remember: We have special permission to screen these films for free in public libraries as long as we don’t advertise the film name online (plus other conditions). Please call the information desk (801-4068) to get more details.
Note: reservations not taken up by the starting time at 6pm may be reallocated to customers waiting, as numbers are limited.

Thursday evening film screenings at Central

4bfcaa38966f1dfc177aeeb1cbfba5a4For July 2016, the films screened will be drawn from past favourites at the NZ International Film Festival in Wellington.

Our ‘Taste of the Festival’ line-up includes a documentary about a legendary movie star, a lovely animated feature, and a classic film noir. We have many DVDs showcased from past festivals. Check them out here, grouped by the year they were shown at the festival.

6ae438ad4538a7da681de9dd723c4ddeSessions begin at 6pm on the Ground Floor of the Central Library. These screenings are free to attend. To avoid disappointment reserve your seat by telephoning 801-4068 during library opening hours.

Remember: We have special permission to screen these films for free in public libraries as long as we don’t advertise the film name online (plus other conditions). Please call the information desk (801-4068) to get more details.
Note: reservations not taken up by the starting time at 6pm may be reallocated to customers waiting, as numbers are limited.

Customer Survey Results for 2016

iStock_000027421656_500px Thank 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 2000 responses were received back. We always are keen to learn from you what your priorities are for improving what we do.

Here are the results. [1.24 MB]

Some results we’ve noted
– this was the first year we asked you about online tutorials, so we were pleased to see that users are 86% satisfied with those (3,500 tutorials).
– there was a particular improvement in satisfaction with online databases and magazines. We will continue to add new titles to Zinio as the publisher makes them available for us to purchase.
– overall you are satisfied with the range and variety of the physical collections. Each year, we add close to 100,000 new items to the collection, and this remains one of our top priorities. The collection team uses the results from this survey to feed into their budget allocations across subjects.
– although 89% are satisfied with the ease of getting around within libraries, 9% of customers rated this only average.
– finding a quiet place to study or read had one of the lower satisfaction ratings (20% less than satisfied) so we’ll be working on improving that.
– 15% of people were less than satisfied with staff’s availability when needed. One of the great benefits of the new issuing system is that once it is fully installed, more staff will be available to help with your enquiries.
– nearly two-thirds of our customers use Facebook at least once a week, so we’ll be continuing to keep our Facebook account updated with news and events.

Thank you again taking the time to share your feedback and insights. We continue to use the customer survey throughout the year as we review services and plan team work.

We will be at the Better Home & Living Show

interior decoration illustration
Come along to the Westpac Stadium on 6-8 May from 10-5pm and meet the library team. Learn about how we can help with free ideas for your DIY projects, renovations, interior design and garden makeovers. Don’t forget that the library is your place for inspiration. We’ll also be sharing about eMagazine titles which have been added to our Zinio range, such as Country Living, plus the new features on the Zinio for Libraries app, e.g. direct links to check out new magazines.

Paid internet service changes

From 21 February 2016, Wellington community services, leisure and gold card holders will receive a discount for our paid internet service. Customers need to show their community services, leisure or gold card to obtain this discount for internet time.

iStock_000004470271XSmallThe fees are :
15 mins = 80 cents
30 mins = $1.50
45 mins = $2.30
1 hour = $3
1 hr 15 mins = $3.80 etc
This only applies to internet time, and not to any other related customer PC service such as printing or scanning.

Remember that all New Zealand web-sites are free to use for all customers. For example *.co.nz, *.school.nz. This is no change.

Talking about the Treaty

Display stand at the Takapuna LibraryTalk Treaty : Kōrerotia Te Tiriti is a display which features series of short video clips of well-known New Zealanders sharing their views about the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications.
This will be available in the Central, Miramar and Tawa libraries from 1 February, and Cummings Park branch from 9th February. Those stands will then travel to Kaori, Johnsonville and Newtown libraries in Mid March.
Topics covered include identity, te reo, coming to a greater understanding (between Māori and Pakeha), and cultural differences.
More info.

Free library loans Saturday 21st November 2015

Customer holding DVDsHelp us celebrate Libris 175 – our anniversary! On Saturday 21st November 2015 there will be no fees to borrow library items from any Wellington City library.
This applies to all types of items including magazines, DVDs, CDs, bestsellers.
Please issue your items via a staff member, not at the self-check machines.
This special free offer only applies to the issue fee – other fees such as reserves, renewals, out of town, overdues, will apply if they are relevant.

Have your say on the future of the Central Library

central-library-night
In 2016, the Central Library building will be 25 years old and it’s time to consider refreshing it. The library landscape is changing rapidly now. We want to ensure that we remain a high performing library for our customers.

Wellington City Council is keen to hear from the community, their ideas, opinions and feedback on refreshing the internal design of the building.

People can provide their feedback by either
a) filling in an online feedback form
b) complete one of the printed feedback forms at any Wellington city library
c) attend one of the following public meetings:
Saturday 28 November 12-2pm,
Wednesday 2 December from 7pm or
Thursday 3 December 12-2pm and from 7pm.

These will all be held at the Mezzanine meeting room, Central Library.

To be included as part of this first feedback phase, please make your comments by 11 December 2015. Thank you. We really appreciate your input into this initial phase to prepare a design brief.

 

central library building

Thursday night films: True tales

Syndetics book coverFor September 2015, we will be featuring a series we’re calling ‘True tales: Stories about people’s lives’, focusing on biographical films.

Sessions begin at 6pm on the Ground Floor of the Central Library. These screenings are free to attend. To avoid disappointment reserve your seat by telephoning 801-4068 during library opening hours.

Remember: We have special permission to screen these films for free in public libraries as long as we don’t advertise the film name online (plus other conditions). Please call the Information desk (801-4068) to get more details.
Note : reservations not taken up by the starting time at 6pm may be reallocated to customers waiting, as numbers are limited.

Korean collection @ Central

koreancollection

The Korean collection, kindly donated by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Wellington, has an excellent range of books on Korean language and culture at the Central library.

Syndetics book coverKijŏk ŭl irun nara, kippŭm ŭl irŭn nara = Korea, the impossible country, by Taniel T’yudŏ chiŭm ; No Chŏng-t’ae omgim.
Details South Korea’s amazing rise from the ashes: the inside story of an economic, political, and cultural phenomenon. Includes interviews with many of the people of modern South Korea including: Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul, Shin Joong-hyun, the ‘Godfather of Korean Rock’, Soyeon Yi, Korea’s first astronaut and Hong Myung-bo, captain of Korea’s 2002 FIFA World Cup team. Tudor examines Korea’s cultural foundations, and the Korean character while touching on diverse topics such as shamanism, North Korea, or myths about doing business in Korea.

Syndetics book coverEssential Korean : speak Korean with confidence, compiled by Soyeung Koh & Gene Baik.
Designed as a portable guide for business people or tourist traveling to Korea, this has a “point to” feature which allows you to simply point to a Korean phrase without knowing any Korean. The sentences are practical for everyday use, with over 2000 terms and expressions, plus Korean grammar tips and pronunciation. It also includes modern vocab such as for smart phones, or social media. This assumes you haven’t got time to attend a course, but will set you well on your way to get the most of your time when interacting with Koreans.

Syndetics book coverKorean through English. Book 1, by Sang-Oak Lee et al..
The top guideline of this excellent introduction for those learning Korean is that it had to be easy! Another key benefit of this course is that it introduces important aspects of Korean culture, and is suitable for self-study rather than a classroom environment. Revised edition of an earlier edition under the same title.