Celebrate Chinese Language Week: 17-23 September

Chinese Language Week 2023

Chinese Language Week 2023Nihao/Neihou, Chinese Language Week is 17-23 September this year, celebrating Mandarin, Cantonese and other Chinese dialects! There are many ways to be involved in this exciting week – attend an event, read a book or an eBook, and learn a Chinese phrase! (网页中文简体版)(网页中文繁体版)

Resource: Chinese Corner books for learning Chinese

Read books from the Chinese Corner to help you learn Chinese. You are welcome to reserve and borrow both simplified and traditional text Chinese books.

Resource: Chinese books

You can find Chinese books in simplified and traditional scripts from any Wellington City Libraries branches or reserve a book for free to pick up from your nearest branches. Waitohi Johnsonville, Te Awe and Arapaki libraries also have Chinese books on display with beautiful Chinese themed decorations.

Continue reading “Celebrate Chinese Language Week: 17-23 September”

Spanish Language Day at Karori Library | 22 April

Hola a todos!

Have you heard of the legendary character, Don Quixote? He’s a hilarious and somewhat eccentric character who has made a significant impact on literature. Miguel Cervantes, the writer who created him, is honoured on April 22nd. That is the day we celebrate El día del idioma Español, Spanish Language Day.

Te Māhanga – Karori Library will celebrate Spanish Language Day with a family event that explores the fascinating world of Spanish language and culture. It is also a perfect opportunity to launch the Spanish Collection at Karori Library

Our celebration will include:

  • Family Story Time
  • Music and Dance Performances
  • Interactive language workshop featuring bilingual bingo
  • Test your knowledge of the languages around the world with a quiz.
  • E-library stand and various resources suitable for kids and language learners.

Mark your calendars and join us to celebrate the beauty of the Spanish language and the rich culture it represents.

Karori Library, Saturday 22, April 11am-1pm

Do you know any Spanish words or phrases? One phrase that I really love is “Me encanta!” It means more than “I like it,” and different from “I love it.” You can use it to describe something that’s delicious or anything that you really enjoy.

Check out some of our Spanish Language titles that “encantan”. They are also available in English on our catalogue:

Bartleby & Co / Vila-Matas, Enrique
“Marcelo, a clerk in a Barcelona office who might himself have emerged from a novel by Kafka, inhabits a world peopled by characters from literature. He once wrote a novel about the impossibility of love, but since then he has been able to write nothing, and a nervous breakdown has meant that he has not even been able to put pen to paper. He has, in short, become a “Bartleby”, so named after the scrivener in Herman Melville’s short story who, when asked to do anything, always replied, “I would prefer not to.”” (adapted from Catalogue)

Our share of night : a novel / Enriquez, Mariana
“In 1981, a young father and son set out on a road trip across Argentina, devastated by the mysterious death of the wife and mother they both loved. United in grief, the pair travels to her family home near Iguazú Falls, where they must confront the horrific legacy she has bequeathed. For the woman they are grieving came from a family like no other–a centuries-old secret society called the Order that pursues eternal life through ghastly rituals. For Gaspar, the son, this cult is his destiny. As Gaspar grows up he must learn to harness his developing supernatural powers, while struggling to understand what kind of man his mother wanted him to be. Meanwhile Gaspar’s father tries to protect his son from his wife’s violent family while still honoring the woman he loved so desperately”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The old gringo / Fuentes, Carlos
“The Old Gringo tells the story of Ambrose Bierce, the American author, soldier, and journalist, and of his last mysterious days in Mexico living among Pancho Villa’s soldiers – particularly his encounter with one of Villa’s generals, Tomas Arroyo, as well as with a spirited young American woman named Harriet Winslow. In the end, the incompatibility between Mexico and the United States (or paradoxically, their intimacy) claims both Bierce and Arroyo, in a novel that is, most of all, about the tragic history of these two cultures in conflict.”–Publisher description.” (Catalogue)

Berta Isla : una novela / Marías, Javier
“Berta Isla thought she knew what to expect from life. When she was a young girl she decided she had found her match in Tomás Nevinson–the dashing half-Spanish, half-English boy in her class with an extraordinary gift for languages–so she was even able to endure their time apart while Tomás studied at Oxford. But after his graduation, he returns to Madrid a changed man. Distracted, sullen, and anxious, Berta’s new husband has become a stranger to her, and she begins to suspect that his mysterious job at the Foreign Office is responsible. Berta Isla is a novel of love and truth, fear and secrecy, and the destinies we bring upon ourselves”–Provided by publisher.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Delirium : a novel / Restrepo, Laura
“Aguliar returns home after a four-day business trip to discover that his beloved wife has gone mad. Desperate to rescue Agustina from her sudden, devastating insanity, Aguliar delves back into her shadowy past. Other narratives are intertwined with his frantic search for the truth; that of Midas, a flamboyant drug-trafficker and Agustina’s former lover, and Agustina’s splintered memories of her own troubled childhood. The key to her madness lies buried deep in a Colombian story of money, power and corruption.” (Amazon.co.uk)

The savage detectives / Bolaño, Roberto
“Bolano traces the hidden connection between literature and violence in a world where national boundaries are fluid and death lurks in the shadow of the avant-garde. “The Savage Detectives” is a dazzling original, the first great Latin American novel of the 21st century.” (Catalogue)

The discreet hero / Vargas Llosa, Mario
“The Discreet Hero, follows two fascinating characters whose lives are destined to intersect: neat, endearing Felícito Yanaqué, a small businessman in Piura, Peru, who finds himself the victim of blackmail; and Ismael Carrera, a successful owner of an insurance company in Lima, who cooks up a plan to avenge himself against the two lazy sons who want him dead. Vargas Llosa sketches Piura and Lima vividly–and the cities become not merely physical spaces but realms of the imagination populated by his vivid characters” — provided by publisher.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Chilean poet : a novel / Zambra, Alejandro
“Nine years after their bewildering breakup, aspiring poet Gonzalo reunites with his high school girlfriend, Carla, now the mother of a six-year-old son, Vicente. Soon the three form a happy sort-of family–a stepfamily, though no such word exists in their language. After a few years, their ambitions pull the lovers in different directions, but traces of Gonzalo remain: Vicente inherits his love of poetry. When, at eighteen, he meets Pru, an American journalist literally and figuratively lost in Santiago, he encourages her to write about Chilean poets–not the famous, dead kind, your Nerudas or Mistrals or Bolaos, but rather the living, everyday poets, who are also a kind of family. By the time Pru’s article is published, Gonzalo has returned to Chile. But will he and Vicente find their way back to one another?” (Catalogue)

The shadow of the wind / Ruiz Zafón, Carlos
“Barcelona, 1945–just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Love in the time of cholera / García Márquez, Gabriel
“‘It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love’
Fifty-one years, nine months and four days have passed since Fermina Daza rebuffed hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza’s impassioned advances and married Dr Juvenal Urbino instead. During that half-century, Florentino has fallen into the arms of many delighted women, but has loved none but Fermina. When Fermina’s husband is killed trying to retrieve his pet parrot from a mango tree, Florentino seizes his chance to declare his enduring love. But can young love find new life in the twilight of their lives?” (adpted from Amazon.co.uk)

These and more titles you can find in the amazing Spanish Language Collection of our Wellington City Libraries.

Los esperamos!

**Update:** Now cancelled. Painter, raconteur, cultural icon: Melvin Day talk at Johnsonville Library

Melvin Day Art

**Update:** Very sadly due to unexpected circumstances we have had to cancel this event.

We are hoping to be able to reschedule it to a future date. Please keep an eye on our various social media platforms for information on any rescheduled date.

Join us for a very special event. Contemporary Art Curator Mark Hutchins-Pond presents a talk on Melvin Day, the creator of some of the most intellectually astute and visceral paintings in New Zealand art history.

Melvin Day Art

"Piano Accordion 1955 by Melvin Day"
“Piano Accordion 1955 – Melvin Day”

Melvin Day produced some of the most intellectually astute and visceral paintings in New Zealand art history. Day’s life is a colourful and fascinating one, from studying at the Elam School of Art at the age of eleven, to graduating from the Courtauld Institute of Art after serving in World War Two. Considered a radical, a traditionalist, a painter and an art historian; Day had an illustrious career which included being appointed the director of the National Art Gallery of New Zealand.  His works are to be found in many national and international public and private collections including Te Papa Tongarewa, The Dowse Art Museum, the Rotorua Museum of Art & History, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, the Auckland Art Gallery, and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. For anyone interested in the evolution of modern art in New Zealand, this talk promises to be unmissable. You can register your interest in attending this event over at our Melvin Day Facebook event.

Melvin Day, artist / O’Brien, Gregory
“There were many Melvin Days, but the term `Artist’ encompasses all of them. During a career spanning seven decades, he produced some of the most intellectually astute, yet often visceral, paintings in New Zealand art history. Born in Hamilton in 1923, Day was a radical-but also a great believer in tradition. In recent years, his early Cubist-inclined paintings have reinstated him-alongside John Weeks, Charles Tole and Louise Henderson–as a key figure in mid-20th century New Zealand art. In London during the 1960s, he was a vital and talented figure in an ex-patriate scene which also included Ralph Hotere, Ted Bullmore, Don Peebles and John Drawbridge. By later that decade he had become the most highly-qualified art historian in New Zealand and had returned home to spend a turbulent, but creatively rich, decade as director of the National Art Gallery. It was a past he never put behind him. From the late 1970s until his death in 2016, his investigations into still life, landscape and art history continued with undiminished fervour. Melvin Day-Artist is one of the great hitherto-untold stories of New Zealand art and its history. With essays by five writers who knew and understood Day-Vincent O’Sullivan, Tony Mackle, Gregory O’Brien, Mark Hutchins-Pond and Julia Waite-this book brings to light a wide-ranging yet intensely focussed life’s work.” (Catalogue)




Talk and draw with Tara Black in discussion with Dylan Horrocks – Saturday 17 April

If you’re a graphic artist, zine creator or comic book fan, this event is a must-see! Come along to hear Tara Black in conversation with Dylan Horrocks. Part workshop, part overview, part discussion — join us for what promises to be a fabulous, informative, and entertaining event.

Facebook Event Link

What? Talk and draw with Tara Black in discussion with Dylan Horrocks

When? Saturday 17 April, 1-2pm

Where? Johnsonville Library, 34 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville

Picture of Tara Black, link to her websiteTara Black is one of the most distinctive and unique graphic artists working in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Alongside her excellent webcomics (we’re particularly partial to The Blue Fury, in which the ghosts of Janet Frame and Katherine Mansfield get their kicks out of haunting a first-year English teacher), Tara is known for doing live illustrations of events around Wellington City. Tara’s work appears in Booknotes, The Sapling and Stasis Journal. Her first book of graphic works This Is Not A Pipe was published in November 2020 by VUP.

Picture of Dylan Horrocks, link to his websiteThe Eisner Award-winning Dylan Horrocks, of course, is one of the most talented and versatile cartoonists working in the scene today. His works range from the meta-comic tour-de-force that is Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen (VUP, 2014) to the iconic Hicksville (Black Eye Comics, 1998), which we  believe draws some inspiration from  Hastings, which may have been briefly known as Hicksville in the early 1870s, with a healthy dose of work on the Batman and Batgirl comics in the early-mid 2000s.

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Verb Wellington 2019: Librarians’ Choice!

When it began life in 2014, Verb Wellington (then LitCrawl) featured 15 literary events across a single night in November. Six years on, things have changed! This highlight of the capital’s creative calendar runs for a full four days, with writers from Aotearoa and around the world packing into shops, bars, libraries, galleries and more to listen to–and take part in–a range of exciting literary events.

To help you navigate these authorial riches, we’ve put together a librarians’ choice of Verb Wellington events. And if you need to do some reading before heading along, never fear–we’ve got links to the books associated with each event as well! So whether you like discovering the luxurious yet desolate apartments of post-recession Iceland or Tinakori Road in the ’60s–or anything else!–Verb Wellington has got you covered. (And for bonus reading, check out our curated list of Verb Wellington eBooks here!)

Monty’s Pick:

Going to Custard: High Tea with Danielle Hawkins and Catherine Robertson.

The pair of best-selling Aotearoa writers sit down and tuck in to talk about how they draw upon life to spin into stories for their beautifully Kiwi pages.

When it all went to custard / Hawkins, Danielle
“The news of Jenny’s husband’s infidelity comes as a nasty shock to the part-time building control officer and full-time mother – even though, to her surprise, her first reaction is relief. What really hurts is her children’s unhappiness at the break-up, and the growing realisation that she may lose the family farm. This is the story of the year after Jenny’s old life falls apart; of family and farming, pet lambs and geriatric dogs, choko-bearing tenants and Springsteen-esque neighbours. And of getting a second chance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What you wish for / Robertson, Catherine
“Dr Ashwin Ghadavi, the newly imported GP, is trying hard to fit into Gabriel’s Bay. His challenges include the immoveable force of his office manager, Mac, the ambiguities of the Kiwi idiom and his unrequited attraction to Mac’s daughter, Emma. Having returned home, Emma is on a mission to right eco wrongs, and her targets include local farmer Vic Halsworth, who’s already neck deep in the proverbial and, to make matters worse, seems to be having visions of moose.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fiona’s Pick:

Val McDermid: Queen of Crime with Val McDermid and Noelle McCarthy.

Val joins RNZ’s Noelle McCarthy for a discussion about her latest books: the beautiful My Scotland, an ode to the Scotland in her stories and what those places mean to her, and the rather more bloody, How the Dead Speak.

My Scotland / McDermid, Val
“In My Scotland, number one bestselling author Val McDermid takes readers to the landscapes where she has lived all her life, and the places where her stories and characters reside. Accompanied by over 100 stunning photographs, this remarkable book uncovers Val’s own Scotland in all its glory – from the iconic Isle of Skye to the majestic streets of Edinburgh; from the undiscovered hideaways of the Highlands to the wild and untamed Jura.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How the dead speak / McDermid, Val
“After an explosive case that forced Tony Hill and Carol Jordan to reassess everything they thought they knew about right and wrong, both are dealing with the fallout in their own separate ways. While Tony must pay the price for his actions, Carol is conducting investigations into suspected miscarriages of justice. But when a shocking discovery is made on a construction site, Tony and Carol are brought into each other’s orbit once again…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cathy’s Pick:

Lit-Sync For Your Life 2019 curated by Chris Tse.

Six of Wellington’s most dynamic and fearless drag performers will shablam the house down in a literary drag show celebrating New Zealand books and writers.

He’s so MASC / Tse, Chris
He’s So MASC confronts a contemporary world of self-loathing poets and compulsive liars, of youth and sexual identity, and of the author as character–pop star, actor, hitman, and much more. These are poems that delve into worlds of hyper-masculine romanticism and dancing alone in night clubs. With it’s many modes and influences, He’s So MASC is an acerbic, acid-bright, yet unapologetically sentimental and personal reflection on what it means to perform and dissect identity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to be dead in a year of snakes / Tse, Chris
“In 1905, white supremacist Lionel Terry murdered the Cantonese gold prospector Joe Kum Yung to draw attention to his crusade to rid New Zealand of Chinese and other east Asian immigrants. Author Chris Tse uses this story–and its reenactment for a documentary a hundred years later–to reflect on the experiences of Chinese migrants of the period, their wishes and hopes, their estrangement and alienation, their ghostly reverberation through a white-majority culture.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Neil’s Pick:

For the Love of the Library with Laurinda Thomas, Bee Trudgeon, Jackson Nieuwland and Elizabeth Knox.

Three librarians discuss, with Elizabeth Knox, what they value most about their work, their workplace and how they see the libraries of the future for Aotearoa.

The absolute book / Knox, Elizabeth
“Taryn Cornick believes that the past is behind her – her sister’s death by violence, and her own ill-concieved revenge. She has chosen to live a life more professional than personal. She has written a book about the things that threaten libraries – insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring. The book is a success, but not all of the attention it brings her is good. There are questions about a fire in the library at Princes Gate, her grandparents’ house, and about an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wake / Knox, Elizabeth
“One sunny spring morning the Tasman Bay settlement of Kahukura is overwhelmed by a mysterious mass insanity. A handful of survivors find themselves cut off from the world, and surrounded by the dead. As they try to take care of one another, and survive in ever more difficult circumstances, it becomes apparent that this isn’t the first time that this has happened, and that they aren’t all survivors and victims—two of them are something quite other.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Paul’s Pick:

Growing up Wāhine Māori with Nadine Anne Hura, Patricia Grace and Tayi Tibble.

Nadine Anne Hura talks with one of our greatest writers Patricia Grace, and powerhouse of poetry, Tayi Tibble, about the ways that being a Māori woman has influenced their written worlds.

Chappy / Grace, Patricia
“Uprooted from his privileged European life and sent to New Zealand to sort himself out, 21-year-old Daniel pieces together the history of his Maori family. As his relatives revisit their past, Daniel learns of a remarkable love story between his Maori grandmother Oriwia and his Japanese grandfather Chappy. The more Daniel hears about his deceased grandfather, the more intriguing and elusive Chappy becomes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Poūkahangatus / Tibble, Tayi
“This collection speaks about beauty, activism, power and popular culture with compelling guile, a darkness, a deep understanding and sensuality. It dives through noir, whakama and kitsch and emerges dripping with colour and liquor. There’s whakapapa, funk (in all its connotations) and fetishisation. The poems map colonisation of many kinds through intergenerational, indigenous domesticity, sex, image and disjunction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Queer Stories – Library Event

Discovering LGBTQI+ History at the Library


Join us at Newtown Library on Friday 14 June from 5:30 to 7:45pm for an event highlighting queer resources available through Wellington City Libraries. There are snacks to get you through to dinner time and a movie from the queer vaults free to view from around 6pm.

Delving through the WCL collection, we will be focussing on queer culture and history. Our book collection, both print and ebook, features local and far flung icons, authors of fiction and factual material that tell stories of a diverse community that has faced challenges, lived in hiding and spoken it’s truth.


The electronic resource, Gale Archives of Gender and Sexuality has a wealth of material to offer those interested in the social, political, health and legal aspects affecting gender and sexuality around the world.

Wellington City Libraries is currently the only public library in the world to provide access to Gale’s third collection: The Archives of Sexuality & Gender: Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century which offers over 400 years of fascinating historical material, providing multiple perspectives on the study of sex, sexuality and gender. From early queer posters and playwriting to gender exploration, these historical documents detail a compelling and diverse world.  All this and more on Friday 14 June at Newtown Library.