Make New Stories Beyond the Page in the July School Holidays!

Kia ora folks! We are so incredibly excited to announce that the hotly-anticipated Beyond the Page festival is returning this July!

During the school holidays, from the 9th to the 24th of July, libraries across the Wellington region are hosting over 100 awesome, FREE events for tamariki and their whānau, from puppetry, poetry, and costume design experiences through to VR experiences, nature walks, sculpting, and stop motion animation workshops!

There’s something on every day of the holidays, so join us to experience the ‘other’ side of libraries — the side that fizzes and pops, is creative, exciting, and adventurous!

Beyond the Page is a collaboration between Wellington City Libraries, Hutt City Libraries, Upper Hutt City Libraries, Kāpiti Coast District Libraries, and Masterton District Library. You can view the full event calendar and find out more about the festival and our wonderful presenters on the Beyond the Page website, or you can follow the festival on Facebook for regular updates.

Read on to find out about some of the excellent events happening in Wellington City Libraries branches:

Vivita X Beyond the Page: Graphic Novel Series

We’re partnering with Wellington innovation studio VIVITA Aotearoa to bring you the Graphic Novel Series — a group of three workshops focussed on bringing the characters and story of a graphic novel to life, from sculpture and miniatures through to cardboard costumes!

These events are suitable for tamariki aged 9-15, and registrations are required.

  • Cardboard Costumes | Miramar Library | Saturday 9 July, 10am – 12pm (Register here)
  • Serious Sculpting | Te Awe Library | Sunday 10 July, 10am – 12pm (Register here)
  • Miniature Modelling | Johnsonville Library | Sunday 17 July, 10am – 12pm (Register here)

Toro Pikopiko Tales

Have you ever wanted to become a puppeteer? Join the Toro Pikopiko Tales Roadshow to explore an interactive gallery of puppets – from traditionally carved kare-tao puppets, through to puppets inspired by Māori rock art, taniwha, and stories of the land. In this fun-filled workshop, you’ll become the puppeteer!

These events are suitable for tamariki aged 5+ with their caregivers, and registrations are required.

  • Karori Library | Tuesday 19 July, 10 – 11am (Register here)
  • Johnsonville Library | Tuesday 19 July, 2 – 3pm (Register here)
  • Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library | Thursday 21 July, 10 – 11am (Register here)
  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library | Friday 22 July, 10 – 11am (Register here)

Stories From Our Place with Zealandia

Listen to bilingual stories about our special Aotearoa plant life and animals, then discover more about them on a guided nature walk with a Zealandia educator! Tamariki registered for the first session can explore Zealandia with their whānau free of charge. At the Cummings Park Library session, we will instead be exploring the unique flora and fauna of the beautiful Cummings Park.

These events are suitable for tamariki of all ages with their caregivers, and registrations are required.

  • Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library | Tuesday 12 July, 2 – 3pm (Register here)
  • Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne | Tuesday 19 July, 1.30 – 3pm (Register here)
  • Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne | Tuesday 19 July, 3 – 4.30pm (Register here)

Poetry Workshop with Sara Hirsch

Have you always wanted to learn how to write poetry? Have you been writing for ages and would love the chance to get some tips and tricks? Whatever your background and experience, everyone is welcome at this inclusive workshop, from newbies to the poetry obsessed.

This event is suitable for tamariki aged 8-12 with their caregivers, and registrations are required.

  • Newtown Library | Friday 15 July, 2.30 – 4.30pm (Register here)

String Bean Puppets: Nan and Tuna

Nan and Tuna have been friends for 80 years and now it is time for one last adventure together. But before they leave they will need to find someone to care for the river. Join us for this special bilingual puppet show presented by Anna Bailey of String Bean Puppets!

This event is suitable for tamariki of all ages with their caregivers.

…and even more!

The holidays are going to be chocka with even more wonderful events, including Bricks and Giggles (LEGO® building galore!), Stop Motion Stories (fun and simple animation workshops!), Box Bonanza (what can you make armed with nothing but a cardboard box and your imagination?), Zine Machine (make your own mini-book!), and Experience VR (enter a whole new world of story through the magic of VR). Registrations are required for some of these events, so make sure you get in quick to secure your place!

Visit the links above to see all the details, or view the whole schedule on the Beyond the Page website. We can’t wait to see you there!

Rainbow Storytimes with Erika and CoCo Flash!

Soon, from 13-27 June, we will be taking part in Out On The Shelves, a special celebration of LGBTQIA+ stories in libraries and schools across New Zealand. To help us get in the festive mood, before Out On The Shelves begins, why not come along to one of our fabulous rainbow events at your local library on the 9th and 10th of June?

Join Erika and CoCo Flash for magical Rainbow Storytimes at your local library!

Rainbow Storytimes

Taranaki icons Erika and CoCo Flash, fully clad in glitter and sequins, are coming out to He Matapihi, Miramar, and Cummings Park Libraries to bring us some special rainbow storytimes. These glamorous and colourful queens will be leading interactive games and reading stories to our tamariki all about acceptance, inclusion, and having confidence in yourself. Embracing sequins, colours, and all things rainbow, expect to have an electric storytelling experience like no other!

Children of all ages are welcome to attend with their caregivers — deck yourself our in your rainbow regalia, bring your teddies or unicorn plushies, and get ready to have a super awesome time!

Where and When?

Join us — we’d love to see you there, glitter and all!

Rainbow Living Library

If you’re especially keen to learn more, Erika and CoCo are also hosting a glitzy and glamorous Rainbow Living Library at Johnsonville Library on Friday 10 June, 3.30pm. Aimed at the curious and the fun-loving, the Living Library is a storytelling, lip-syncing, and singing interactive performance just for you! Bring along your friends and your questions, and join us for a fun and glitter-filled frolic. No question is taboo as Erika and CoCo educate you on LGBTQIA+ and drag culture, and promote the importance of being allies to the rainbow community.

The Living Library event is targeted mainly at teens and adults, but curious tamariki are more than welcome to come along as well, with your caregivers in tow!

Where and When?

If you’d like more information about these events, or would like to know how else you can get involved in Out On The Shelves, please contact the Children’s and Youth Services Librarian. Keep an eye out on our blog and on social media for more rainbow goodness to come!

Children’s Programmes Returning at Orange!

Warning: this post is intended to be read by parents and other adults. Kids read on at your peril!

Kia ora koutou! We are so excited to let you know that next week, from the 7th of June, some of our popular children’s programmes are returning to our libraries! It’s been some time since we have been able to run these events in a consistent way for you all, so we thought we’d lay out the current schedule for you below. We can’t wait to see you there!

With COVID -19 still in the community, please remember that all of these days and times are subject to staff availability, and we may need to change them from time to time. The library’s event calendar will always have the right days and times!

We’re so excited to be welcoming back our Storytimes and other events for tamariki and their whānau!


What’s on and where?

Here is the current programmes schedule for Wellington City Libraries. We’ll be adding to this over the coming weeks, so keep checking back or subscribe to our eNewsletter for the most up-to-date info:

Cummings Park Library

  • Code Club Level 1 — Every Thursday during term-time, 3.30 – 4.30pm. Registrations required.

He Matapihi (Molesworth St) Library

  • Code Club Level 1 — Every Wednesday during term-time, 3.45 – 4.45pm. Registrations required.

Johnsonville Library

Karori Library

Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library

Newtown Library

  • Code Club Level 1 — Every Monday during term-time, 3.45 – 4.45pm. Registrations required.

Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library

Te Awe (Brandon St) Library

Wadestown Library


Frequently-Asked Questions

Do I need to wear a mask while attending an event at the library?

Yes — if you are over 12 years of age, you must wear a mask while visiting one of our libraries, including while you are attending a library event. Our staff will also remain masked. For more information, please visit our COVID-19 FAQs page.

Why haven’t you restarted every programme you used to run pre-COVID?

We do aim to bring our wonderful programmes back across the whole library network, but we’ve chosen to restart at our larger branches first so that we can take the opportunity to give newer staff some valuable experience working with their colleagues before they take that knowledge back to their home library to share with their community. Keep an eye on our event calendar and social media platforms to keep up to date with programmes resuming at our other locations.

I feel uncomfortable visiting if I know there is going to be a large group of people there. What are you doing to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19?

At all times we are adhering to New Zealand Government guidelines for the running of events in public venues. We will be continuing, as far as possible, to encourage physical distancing between groups of attendees; we will continue to require the use of facemasks for those visiting our libraries; and we will be carefully cleaning spaces and equipment used for our public programmes between sessions. You can help too, by ensuring that you stay at home if you or your child are feeling unwell or have recently been in contact with a COVID-positive person. If we all work together, we can continue to keep our community safe!

I still don’t think I will come to storytime in person just yet. Is there some way our whānau can still participate in library activities without physically coming to a library?

You’re in luck! On our YouTube channel, thanks to the generosity of New Zealand publishers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find playlists of special storytimes and Baby Rock and Rhyme sessions to keep your whānau entertained without needing to come to the library. Also, the Johnsonville Library Facebook page is a great place to find videos for sensory activities, and musical and crafty sessions to keep your little ones engaged.

I would like some more information about a programme at my local library. Who should I ask?

You can always get directly in touch with your local library by giving them a call or by emailing us. Alternatively, you are welcome to get in touch with the Children’s and Youth Services Coordinator directly with your queries.

Understanding Ukraine and Russia: A Guide for Kids and their Adults

Wellington is home to thousands of people of Ukrainian and Russian descent, as well as people from Polish, Belarusian, and other Eastern or Central-Eastern European backgrounds. The current conflict between Ukraine and Russia means that people who have moved here from those countries, or who have family there, are probably feeling pretty anxious, scared, or upset right now. And of course, whenever there is conflict happening somewhere in the world, it tends to find its way into our everyday lives — through the news, through TV or internet content, or through our friends or teachers at school talking about it — and it’s completely normal for that to make us feel a bit scared or anxious as well.

A man in Ukrainian cultural dress, including a tall fur cap and an elaborately-knotted brocade, is holding a small child in front of a festival stall which is decorated with sunflowers.

The Ukrainian stall at the Palmerston North Festival of Cultures in 2018. Note the Ukrainian flag in the background, as well as all the sunflowers — the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. Image courtesy of Palmerston North City Library, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

One way that we can help ourselves, and others, is by learning as much as we can about the history and culture of those places, and how news gets created and reported. If we learn about that, we can understand more about what’s going on at the moment in Ukraine and Russia — which means we’ll be more aware of, and better able to process, what’s being reported in the media and what our friends, whānau, and the wider community are talking about.

The good news is that the library has a whole heap of resources — books and other things — to help you learn more about Ukraine, Russia, international conflict, and the media more generally. Read on to find out how the library can help you understand what’s going on in the world at the moment.


HINT: Many of the links in this blog go to the Encyclopaedia Britannica for Kids. This is accessible to all Wellington City Libraries patrons. But to access this wonderful resource, and the others mentioned in this blog, you’ll need to login using your library card number (on the back of your card) and 4 digit pin (last FOUR numbers of the phone number listed on your library account), and the link will take you straight there.


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Tūhono 2021 is Live!

The day has finally come — Tūhono 2021, the latest volume in our poetry journal for (and by) young Wellingtonians, has officially been released into the world as of the 1st of March 2022. Over 200 young poets aged 5-18 contributed this time around, so we decided to split the book into two volumes — one containing the poems written by kids, and the other containing those written by teens. Head on over to OverDrive or Libby to check out the kids’ version — you can find the teens’ one here.

We are having physical copies printed as well, so soon you’ll be able to find Tūhono 2021 on the shelf at your local public or school library. We’re also giving two copies to the National Library of New Zealand, where they will be preserved for the rest of time (the legal term is ‘in perpetuity’) as part of the cultural heritage of this country. We think that’s an awesome achievement for all of you who wrote poems for the book. Congratulations on being published!

We think that this year’s colour palette is particularly beautiful.

There are some wonderful people who work for the library who need to be thanked for their efforts in creating this year’s edition of TūhonoStephanie (my partner-in-crime, and the amazing librarian who buy all the kids’ books for the library), Ligia (she designed the book — what an amazing talent she has!), Maggie (she helped collect and format your poems), Joseph (he helped with editing), Monty (he makes it possible for us to publish stuff online), Bridget (who writes the catalogue records that make it possible to find stuff at the library) and Celeste (who looks after our website). Hats off and a round of applause for these talented librarians who are helping to make our dream of publishing our very own poetry journal a reality!

Go forth and read! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and maybe — just maybe — you’ll feel a connection, a sense of tūhono, with everyone else who put a little something of themselves into this incredible book.


Tūhono: A journal of poetry by Wellington children / 2021
“Whakaata : reflection. This theme links all of the poems in this second edition of Tūhono, which were contributed by young Wellington poets aged 5-12 and collected by Wellington City Libraries throughout October and November 2021. Poems by writers aged 13-18 are collected in a separate volume.

The year 2021 provided us all with plenty of opportunities to reflect. What’s really important? What falls by the wayside when times are tough? What do you see looking back at you when you gain the courage to hold the mirror up to the light? Anxious, loving, hopeful, angry, quirky, imagistic, insular, exuberant – these poems are a kaleidoscope. At one end we put in our certainties and our questions, our need to understand and to express. As for what we see at the other end? Well, you’re reading it.

WCL would like to thank Kimi Ora School for generously providing beautiful artworks created by their students to accompany their poems.” (Catalogue)

Announcing the Summer Reading Adventure 2021-22 Champions!

The day is finally here! You’ve waited very patiently, and now it’s time for us to announce the Grand Prize Winners of the 2021-22 Summer Reading Adventure.

Of course, everyone who took part is a winner in some way — whether you won badges, books, stationery, vouchers, or just the eternal respect and admiration of your peers, your fearless ventures into the Land of Literature have not gone unrewarded. In fact, during the Summer Reading Adventure, our librarians gave out 3,578 prizes to intrepid word explorers across our fair city.

Some of these prizes came along with another, hidden prize — the opportunity to put your name in the hat to win one of the four Grand Prizes. When all was said and done, we had nearly 10,000 names in the four Grand Prize hats. Out of those honourable 10,000, the following lucky four names were drawn:


Grand Prize #1 — Into the Wild

Winner: Charlotte, age 8, from Redwood School and Tawa Library

Prizes:

  • 1x Family Pass to Zealandia
  • 1x Family Pass to Wellington Zoo
  • Assorted goodies, including books and chocolate!


Grand Prize #2 — Science and Wonder

Winner: Sophia, age 6, from Sacred Heart Cathedral School and Johnsonville Library

Prizes:

  • 1x Family Pass to the Space Place
  • 1x Capital E voucher
  • Assorted goodies, including books and chocolate!


Grand Prize #3 — Artistic Aspirations

Winner: Felix, age 9, from Seatoun School and Miramar Library

Prizes:

  • 1x Family Pass to Hilma af Klimt: The Secret Paintings at the City Gallery
  • A selection of high-quality artistic stationery from Gordon Harris
  • Assorted goodies, including books and chocolate


Grand Prize #4 — Books, Movies and More

Winner: Pia, age 10, from Wa Ora Montessori School and Karori Library

Prizes:

  • 5x tickets to Light House Cinemas
  • $50 Unity Books voucher
  • Assorted goodies, including books and chocolate

Massive congratulations to all our winners!

But most of all, congratulations to everyone who took part! As we’ve noted before, you have positively blown our socks off and we couldn’t be prouder of the kids of Wellington and your incredible reading prowess. See you for the next Adventure!

Sophia, age 6, proudly holding her bag full of prizes in front of the main desk at Johnsonville Library

Sophia from Sacred Heart Cathedral School and Johnsonville Library

Charlotte, age 8, standing with a broad smile and a bag full of prizes in front of a row of colourful shelves containing children's books.

Charlotte from Redwood School and Tawa Library


Pia, age 10, standing next to a staff member at Karori Library, proudly holding her bag full of prizes

Pia from Wa Ora Montessori School and Karori Library

The Summer Reading Adventure is Finished!

Well, folks, here we are. The Summer Reading Adventure is finally over! You’ve absolutely blown us away with what you’ve achieved — congratulations to everyone who took part. Here are some of the numbers:

  • You read 16,863 books over December and January — that’s 527 books a day, or a book every 5 minutes!
  • You wrote, drew, or filmed 5,044 book reviews. Many of you loved using emojis to tell us about the books you read!
  • You completed 2,625 quests, from exploring and mapping the land to building forts, conducting science experiments to creating beautiful and original works of art.
  • You earned 3,536 prizes, including badges, books, pens, pencils and notebooks, vouchers from our wonderful friends at Ben & Jerry’s and Unity Books, and other goodies!

So many of you have picked up prizes already. From today, you can still come in to pick up prizes, but only while stocks last as we’re starting to run out of books and other goodies! Check out some of our 3,000+ prizewinners below:

Adelaide from Karori Library

Marcy from Karori Library


Harper from Khandallah Library

Kenta from Tawa Library


Mikio from Tawa Library

Senri from Tawa Library


Charlie and William from Te Awe Library


Even though the Summer Reading Adventure is officially over, that doesn’t mean that your reading journey needs to end. You can still use our Beanstack website to log your reading, get personalised book recommendations, write or draw reviews, and earn digital achievements. Awesome stuff!

Keep your eyes peeled for more announcements about the Summer Reading Adventure, including our Grand Prize Winners — your name may just be on that list! But for now, we’re going to take a quick break, wipe the sweat from our brow, and start getting ready for the next adventure. See you there!

Kids’ Activities Under Red Settings

To keep our young people and vulnerable communities safe under Red settings, we’re moving most of our programmes for children under the age of 12 and their families online! This is because even though our libraries are open, lots of our kids’ programmes, like CRAFTerschool, Code Club, and Baby Rock and Rhyme, involve lots of people getting very close together, and it’s just too tricky to provide the required social distancing for young people who can’t yet be vaccinated.

Soon, we will be starting up a whole bunch of activities and programmes, some of which you can do online, and some of which you will be able to do in a contactless way in the library, but in the meantime we thought it would be a good idea to remind you about all the awesome online resources and activities you can do with us online. If you love stories, arts and crafts, music, movies, and fun activities to do with your family, we’ve got you covered!

We have so many really cool resources available in our eLibrary! If you want to have a browse yourself you can check our our Kids’ Guide or have a look through what’s available on our Kids’ Home Page, or just read on… Continue reading

Summer Reading Tips: The Community Reading Goal

Kia ora! The Summer Reading Adventure is now in full swing, and hundreds of you have already started logging your reading, writing or drawing book reviews, and completing quests in the name of honour and glory. Hurrah!

You might have noticed that on the Summer Reading Adventure website, if you scroll down just a little bit, you’ll see a live counter that looks a little like this:

A live ticker on the Summer Reading Adventure website, with a progress bar that is 20% full and text saying "It's dangerous to go alone! Let's work together to reach this community reading goal."

Did you catch the reference to The Legend of Zelda games? There are classic gaming references hidden everywhere on the Summer Reading Adventure website — can you find them all?

This counter tells us how many books the kids of Wellington have read so far on their Summer Reading Adventures. We have set a goal for us to read 5,000 books together before the 31st of January — and yes, you read that correctly, we’ve already read over 1,000 books! After just one week! Ka pai tō mahi, that is amazing!

What happens when we reach our Community Reading Goal? Well, the text on the left will change, for one thing. So that’s cute. But as for other effects, you’ll just have to wait and see!

The Summer Reading Adventure starts today — 1 December!

Read books, explore the city, win prizes!

The Summer Reading Adventure runs from 1 December 2021 – 31 January 2022 for children aged 5-13. Read books; write, draw or film reviews; and complete quests to earn all kinds of awesome goodies — and you’ll still be home in time for tea!

Summer Reading Adventure website link - 1 December to 31 January

Pick up the Adventurer’s Guide from your local library and visit our Summer Reading Adventure website to register and start logging your reading and adventures today.

Read on to find out more!

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