Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Teen Blog

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

Author: Maiph

An exciting Out on the Shelves update!

Unlike what you may have heard, librarians are actually human. And as such, we do like to boast a bit when we win things. So on with the boasting!

Back in June was the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week (actually two weeks, but we’ll let that slide!). If you don’t know what that is then I’d definitely recommend having a poke around the Out on the Shelves website, or even reading this blog post about it that we put up in June.

Anyway.

There’s a Campaign Week, there’s a Display Competition, and we won some things!

There were three categories, each with a winner and a runner-up. One is for the Best School Library Display, which we aren’t eligible for, but congratulations to St Hilda’s Collegiate School, the winner, and to Northcote School, the runner-up! You can see their displays on the Out on the Shelves website.

The winner of the Most Creative Display, however, was very exciting for us here at Wellington City Libraries. This category was won by our very own Johnsonville Library!

Check out their fantastic (and award-winning!) display:
A collage of four pictures of the Johnsonville library display. Largest at the bottom is the whole display, a table covered with a selection of pride flag scarves, a sign across the from saying "Out on the Shelves”, rainbow-themed books on stands, then a large rainbow arch across the whole table. The second picture is a close-up of a group of colourful painted wooden figures holding a sign that says “Pride!”. The third picture is of two small wooden people holding a sign that says “Be Trans and throw hands” above two 3D printed penguins that are holding hands. The last picture is of a small wooden Bernie Sanders sitting on a chair in his famous mittens and mask pose. He is wearing all pink, except for his mittens and socks which are rainbow.
Johnsonville Library is lucky enough to house Tūhura – The HIVE, our makerspace. The HIVE is full of all sorts of exciting things, a loom, a laser-cutter, and several 3D printers, to name but a few. And this display has made excellent use of these exciting things. There are those fantastic 3D-printed penguins and wonderful rainbow arch. And what about those pride-flag scarves adorning the table? They were woven right there on the loom in the library by expert staff, interested passers-by, and by many keen queer kids who use the library. And do you see those laser-cut wooden figures of people waving flags and banners? Those were painted for this display by some of the young people at one of the recent Youth Nights. Ka pai e hoa mā!

The Most Creative runner-up was Martinborough Library in the Wairarapa who also did a great job. But of course we’re firmly behind our own here in Johnsonville.

The winner of the Best Community Space Display was Dunedin Public Libraries down in …Dunedin.

But the runner-up was Te Awe Library, our CBD branch just off Lambton Quay!

Have a look at the Te Awe displays:
A collage of four pictures of two displays, clockwise from the left they are: first the whole upstairs display around the corner that sticks out into the young adult area. A large picture of a bookshelf has been stuck to the wall, on these shelves are the heading “Out on the Shelves”, holders for bookmarks, and pictures of book covers. Along the top are real books on stands. Hanging from above are rainbow paper chains and pompoms in pride flag colours. The second picture is a close-up of the fake bookshelves. The third picture is of the second display in the downstairs area. There are rainbow paper chains along the top, then a colourful heading of “out on the shelves”. On the left side are pictures of book covers, on the right side are posters of the Out on the Shelves booklists. Between the two sides is a vertical line of pride flags. The last picture is a close-up of a bookmark holder on the first display.
Such excellent rainbow chains! And those shelves look almost real (Out on the Shelves, get it?). There’s pompoms and flags and bookmarks. So fun!

A whole bunch of our libraries had awesome displays as well — check out these from Karori Library and Arapaki Library on Manners Street!

A collage of two displays. Left: A rainbow pyramid of books at Karori Library, decorated with person-shaped cutouts in various colours. Right: A brightly-coloured display of books at Arapaki Library, decorated above with rainbow streamers and balloons.

So that’s our celebratory blog post! We’re very happy to have taken part in the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week, very proud of our displays, and very excited to have won things!

Help, I don’t know what to read next!

I’m sure you know the feeling. You’ve just finished reading the last page, last paragraph, last word of a fantastic book. You close it, put it down, and are struck with that itchy feeling, that need to just keep reading. But what? It’s going to have to be something good to live up to the book you’ve just put down. Will the next book you pick up have a character quite as lovable as that one hero you grew so attached to? Or will it have someone quite as chilling as that other character that was so ambiguous you couldn’t figure out if they were a hero or a villain (but you were so invested in them nonetheless)? And what about that ending?! And the way it tied so well back into that chapter where there was that confrontation that made you question everything you’d thought about where the book was heading. How are you going to find another book as good as that one?

Maybe though, this wasn’t the feeling you got when you finished your last book. Maybe you slogged through it. Getting slowly through page after page of foolish characters doing foolish things over and over and over and over. Maybe none of the characters were particularly good people and you dragged yourself through chapter after chapter of them all making each other unhappy with their poor decisions, hoping that maybe once, just once one of them would do something redeemable, but they never do. Maybe the characters aren’t even that bad, but the combined mix of foolish decisions and self-interest just put you off them entirely. Maybe the author’s writing style just didn’t catch you. Perhaps they included too many descriptions of food, of oatfarls and elderflower cream and shrimp and hotroot soup and acorn scones and dandelion tea (I’m looking at you Brian Jacques!), or not enough descriptions of food and too much dialogue! If you’ve been reading a book that you really struggled to get to the end of (but still persevered through to the last page) you might be left with a bad taste in your mind and the need to consume something actually good, or at least better suited to your tastes.

Whether or not you enjoyed the last book you read, upon closing its cover for the final time you will be, I am very sure, be beginning to ponder over the question “But what will I read next?”

And that’s what I’m here to help with! So sit back, pour yourself a glass of dandelion tea, and ready yourself for wall of text I’m about to present you with.

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Out on the Shelves at Your Libraries

Hello friends!

This week the Out on the Shelves Campaign Week begins, and when they say week, they really mean two weeks. This Campaign Week is a time for libraries (amongst others) to really highlight Out on the Shelves, to make some colourful displays, and to run some awesome events.

Now, I’m sure you’re getting super excited already, but you might not even know what Out on the Shelves is! Well, let me explain.

Out on the Shelves is an online reading resource created by InsideOUT to help rainbow young people find, read, and recommend positive and affirming stories with good representation in them. We’ve had enough of “Bury your Gays“, thank you very much! If you want to know a bit more, then check out this video:

If you’re looking for your next book to read, then check out the booklists. If you’ve read a wonderfully queer book recently and don’t see it on any of the Out on the Shelves booklists, then you can go ahead and make a submission!

If you’re a writer you can enter the writing competition, or if you want to try your hand at Zine making you can create a page for the 2021 Rainbow Zine.

But wait, there’s more!

Do you like books? Do you like movies? Do you like quizzes? Do you like hanging out at the library with a bunch of other Cool Kids and some extra cool (if I do say so myself) librarians? Do you remember how I said earlier that the Campaign Week is a great time for libraries to run awesome events?

If you do, you’re in luck! We’ll be running a range of events at four different libraries across the city.

Youth Movie Night: Pride Edition
To celebrate Out on the Shelves 2021, Wellington City Libraries are hosting a YA movie night. The film will be LGBT+ themed, but otherwise it is a complete secret! Venture to a late-night library screening near you for popcorn, pals and a pride-fuelled time. For ages 13-18.

Join us at 6.00pm to get settled down with some snacks, and we’ll start the movie at 6.30pm.

Rainbow Zine Workshops
Join us for the zine-making afternoons for young adults and try your hand at writing, poetry or art! Enter the Out On The Shelves writing competition, write a book review for the official 2021 Rainbow Zine, or check out our LGBTQI+ book collection.

Youth Quiz Night: Pride Edition
To celebrate Out on the Shelves 2021, Wellington City Libraries are hosting a Pride quiz extravaganza! There will be pizza, prizes, and plenty of quizzical challenges. Coming to a library near you! For ages 13-18.

Show up and grab a table with your team, or just show up and we can help you find a team!

So come along, make new friends, grab a bookmark booklist, and have fun!

Why the Oxford English Dictionary is actually super cool

Let me introduce you to the wonder that is the Oxford English Dictionary Online. And I mean that! The OED online really is a thing of wonder, a remarkable resource, a superb site, and you have full access to it through us here at Wellington City Libraries!

To get into the OED online, just go to the eLibrary tab at the top of our website, select ‘By name’, then look under ‘O’ for ‘Oxford’. Or you could just click here.

Now you’re in, but maybe you’re not sure how it works. Luckily, that’s what I’m here for.

One of the simplest uses for the OED online is to look up a word you don’t know how to pronounce.

You know how it is, you’re reading a book, you learn a new word, you’ve never heard it said aloud, and English can be an awful language for guessing the proper pronunciation. How are you meant to know how it’s said?

Ah, how could I forget the hilarity that ensued when one of my friends foolishly and confidently and in front of me mispronounced the word ‘entrepreneurs’. She said ‘on-tray-pruners’, I laughed, and I have never forgotten it. But you can avoid such foolishness by going to the OED, searching this new addition to your vocabulary, and listening to the handy recording the OED provides for every word. See, here’s the entry for ‘entrepreneur’, with several handy blue play buttons that you can click on to listen to and never embarrass yourself with foolish pronunciation again!

Screenshot of the OED entry for Entrepreneur. It reads: Title: entrepreneur, n. Then pronunciation each with an IPA transcription and blue play button for each different pronunciaiton.Origin: a borrowing from French. Etymology" French entrepreneur person who owns a business.

Another really rad thing about the OED online is all the historical and etymological information they provide. If you’re a word nerd or just like knowing cool facts about cool stuff it can be fascinating to read through the entries and discover how meanings have changed over the years.

Did-you-know-for-example that the work ‘lemony’ used to have another meaning in NZ slang? See, it’s all written here with several examples of this older usage:

Screenshot of a dictionary entry. Text reads b. Australian and New Zealand slang. Irritated, angry, esp. in to go lemony at: to become angry with (someone).

If, like me, you ever find yourself in ferocious debate with your friends over the meaning, etymology, or older spelling of a word then this is the place to go to get your proof. And hopefully your friend won’t go lemony at you when you prove them wrong!

There are other cool things to explore too, such as this interactive explanation of how a word enters the OED, or you can discover which words are the same age as you, or even submit your own word!

You can search for certain words, or browse by the date a word was added, or search for words that originated in a certain location, or look through all the sources the OED uses for historical evidence of what words used to mean. If you think any of this could be useful for a project at school then they do have a page with a bit more information on it for you.

If not for the OED online I would never have been looking through quotations from my old favourite Beowulf and I would never have discovered that Beowulf has the first recorded evidence of the word ‘blonk’! A blonk is, of course, one of those four-legged animals that goes ‘neigh’. Now, alas, this word is obsolete and we use another word to refer to this animal. But ‘elf’ was also first used in Beowulf, and we still use that word!

Anyway, I hope I’ve managed to get you even just a little bit excited in the Oxford English Dictionary Online. Now you have all you need to go and learn all about archaic meanings, obsolete words, and much more!

It’s Seaweek!

The sea. There’s a lot of it. There are many things in it. Some things, unfortunately, should not really be in there. And there are many things lurking deep down that we only have the slightest inkling of. Which is pretty cool when you think about it!

But anyway, you may be wondering why I am writing about the deep, dark, insurmountable ocean that encircles and embraces our tiny islands down here at the bottom of the world. That’s easy to answer. It’s Seaweek!

Seaweek is an annual week-long celebration of marine science, of sustainable practices (check out our very own page on the environment), and (of course!) the sea. There are a whole lot of exciting events being run all over the country this week, and you’re encouraged to get out there and do your own thing as well.

You could go check out a marine ecology lab, organise your own beach clean-up, or just take some time out of your week to go connect with the sea.

It may now be officially autumn, but only just! I’d advise you to take advantage of what sun we have left to dive off one of the pontoons at Oriental Bay or just swim at your local beach. Or, you know, a not so local beach would do as well. And there are quite a few scattered around the Wellington coast.

Go swimming, or walk along a beach and count the seagulls, or collect a handful of seashells then realise that you have no reason to keep them and leave them behind on the sand. Take a kayak out, go sit on a rock along the south coast and watch the waves, or channel your inner artist and draw, write, or create something inspired by the ocean.

If you’d rather just sit inside away from the blustery sea-breeze (plenty of those in Wellington!) then here are some sea-themed titles to inspire you:

Children of the Sea / Daisuke Igarashi 

“Three sea-touched children are the only ones who can understand the strange message the oceans are sending.

When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea that she does. Ruka’s dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the ocean’s fish.” (Catalogue)

Ingo Series / Helen Dunmore  

“As they search for their missing father near their Cornwall home, Sapphy and her brother Conor learn about their family’s connection to the domains of air and of water.” (Catalogue)

Alone on a wide, wide sea / Michael Morpurgo  

“How far would you go to find yourself? When Arthur is shipped to Australia after WWII he loses his sister and his home, but he is saved by his love of the sea. Years later, Arthur’s daughter Allie has a boat her father built her that will take her back to England to search for her long-lost aunt. The lyrical, life-affirming new novel from the bestselling author of Private Peaceful.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Into the Drowning Deep / Mira Grant  

“Seven years ago Atagaris set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost. Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves.” (Catalogue)

The Tricksters / Margaret Mahy  

“The Hamiltons look forward to their annual Christmas holiday on the New Zealand coast. Jack and Naomi, their five children and their guests are settling in to the chaotic family atmosphere at the sprawling home known as Carnival’s Hide when the world is thrown out of order by the unexpected arrival of three visitors. Charming, enigmatic and sinister, the three brothers have come to stay. Only 17-year-old Harry questions their strange ways, but even she isn’t sure what is real anymore: are they really related to Teddy Carnival, said to have drowned on that beach many years ago, or are they tricksters – conjured by her overactive imagination? This will be a Christmas to be remembered, where long-buried secrets will be revealed and no one will ever be quite the same.” (Catalogue)

Red Rocks / Rachael King  

“While holidaying at his father’s house, Jake explores Wellington’s wild south coast, with its high cliffs, biting winds, and its fierce seals. When he stumbles upon a perfectly preserved sealskin, hidden in a crevice at Red Rocks, he’s compelled to take it home and hide it under his bed, setting off a chain of events that threatens to destroy his family. Red Rocks takes the Celtic myth of the selkies, or seal people, and transplants it into the New Zealand landscape, throwing an ordinary boy into an adventure tinged with magic.” (Catalogue)

Looms, flags, and a lot of (queer) yarn

If you’ve visited Johnsonville Library recently then hopefully you’ll know that we have a space downstairs that’s packed with all kinds of exciting stuff. It’s called Tūhura/The HIVE, and it’s a makerspace full of tech and toys, lasers and Lego, robots and recording equipment, and, most excitingly (or so I think, but I may be biased), a loom!

Since we opened the new Johnsonville Library we’ve tried to keep the loom warped up so anyone can come in and try their hand at weaving a few rows. We’ve had almost everyone, local Johnsonvillians, a Paralympian, even the WCC Chief Executive, come in and have a go. And just last week I took the latest scarf off the loom and tied up the ends in tassels.A newly finished scarf lies folded on the small loom in the Johnsonville makerspace. The stripes on the scarf go (from left to right) blue, pink, white, pink, blue.

Isn’t it beautiful? Admittedly, we did strategically fold it to only show the neatest end of the weaving, but it’s still beautiful when unfolded and laid out. Look at those warped stripes! The lovely colours! Wait a minute, those colours look familiar. Could that be the Transgender Pride Flag?

Why yes, yes it is!

Claude, a grey, green, and yellow caterpillar is sitting on a cushion crocheting the last row of a scarf. The stripes of the scarf are, in order, yellow, white, purple, and the last one is black.

And that’s not all! Claude, our favourite crocheted caterpillar, was so inspired after seeing this scarf come off the loom that they decided to crochet a creative scarf of their own. Is that colourful close-to-completed scarf there another Pride Flag? Of course! It’s the Non-binary Pride Flag.

But I digress.

When we warp up the loom (attach the vertical threads to the loom. There are two yarn components you use when weaving. The warp goes up and down. The weft goes from the weft to the wight. Yes, I know that’s bad), we get to choose what pattern we put on. And if we want to show our support for trans people then we will damn well do that! And write a blog post about it too.

Now, I hope that this particularly excellent scarf shows you that knitting, weaving, crocheting – fibrecraft in general – is pretty cool. And there are so many cool things you can do! There are more things to create than these (undeniably amazing) scarves. Crochet your own Claude! Knit a political hat! There are so many free patterns available online, not to mention the books available through your local library. You could try your hand at some Subversive Cross Stitch, or create yourself some Literary Knits. Literary crocheting is also available.

OR you could get into something a bit bigger and a bit more public. Have you ever heard of yarn bombing? If you haven’t, then you are in for a treat! Yarn bombing, guerrilla knitting, knitted graffiti, whatever you want to call it, is when you create a carefully crafted cover for something out in public. It could be for a pipe, a tree, a statue, or whatever you feel would benefit from a bit of beautification. We’ve got a few books about yarn bombing, or you could just wander around Wellington and keep an eye out for artfully decorated bollards and poles.

A picture taken looking down the street towards the Tawa Community Centre entrance. It is a sunny day. Lining up with the left side of the picture is a pipe attached to the building, that has is wearing a rainbow cover.There’s a particularly fine example of yarn-bombing outside the Tawa Community Centre, just around the corner from the Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library. Yes it’s a rainbow. Did you really think I would let go of the queer thread weaving this post together?

Speaking of queer threads, that wonderfully proud scarf that you may remember is now on display in the HIVE at Johnsonville Library. And speaking of the HIVE, I can highly recommend dropping in there on a Friday evening for our fibrecraft HIVE 101. If you ever feel like learning a bit more about weaving, talking to someone about knitting, or just settling down for an evening with some crochet, come on by!

What do you say?/Was sagst du?/He aha tō whakaaro?

You’re back at school now, you might be learning a language, you might not be learning a language, you might want to learn a language… Well! For any of you interested in starting, or brushing up on a language you started a while ago, or trying to launch yourself to the top of the class, we’ve got some tools to help you with that! And these online tools that we offer do not come with a threatening and eerie owl that accosts and harangues you until you meet your language goals (even though ominous owls are something I’m particularly interested in, it’s best to be safe in these circumstances).

Anyway. The two resources I’m writing about are LanguageNut and Mango Languages, which can be found on our language resources page. Both are free for you to use, all you have to do is plug in your library card number and your pin and you’re away.

Mango Languages has many languages for you to choose, from Greek (Ancient) to Greek (Modern), from Bengali to Yiddish, from Irish to Tamil, there’ll be something to interest you. You can even learn to talk like a pirate, or insult someone the way Shakespeare would have!

A screenshot taken from Unit 1, Chapter 1, Lesson 2 of the Pirate language course. The phrase in English is "Stop your messing around and quickly align the ship with the wind!". In Pirate the phrase is "Belay yer carousin' and haul wind smartly!" A screenshot taken from Unit 1, Chapter 1, Lesson 8 of the English (Shakespearean) language course. The phrase in English is "No, as they dare. I will give them the finger; which is an insult, if they take it.". In English (Shakespearean) the phrase is "Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace, if they bear it."

LanguageNut has fewer languages, but they’ve got a fun selection of games and activities to help you revise before you test yourself. And they’ve got a good selection of Pasifika languages, including Māori!

So what language will you choose? You could learn Spanish, German, Japanese, and Hebrew to catch up with Natalie Portman, or Greek, Spanish, and French to catch up with Tom Hiddleston. Seriously. Some friends of mine started teaching themselves German in high school because of a German pop rock band. And they still remember some of the language that they managed to teach themselves in that eight month period! What have you got to lose?

And we’d love to hear from you, in whatever language you’d like to use. Get in touch with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram and give us your best Shakespearean insult, your most carousin’ piratical expression, or just let us know what you’ve been up to during the lockdown!