Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Teen Blog

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

Category: Library Page 1 of 11

COVID-19 Update: All Teen Events Postponed

Hey there folks! This is just a quick update to let you know that the remainder of our events for Out On The Shelves have been postponed in response to today’s announcement that Wellington will be entering Alert Level 2 from 6.00pm tonight. Once we have found new dates for these events, we will make the announcement here and on our social media channels. The following events are affected:

  • Wednesday 23 June, He Matapihi Library — Rainbow Zine Workshop (new date t.b.a.)
  • Friday 25 June, Arapaki Library — Youth Night Quiz: Pride Edition (new date t.b.a.)
  • Saturday 26 June, Johnsonville Library — Youth Night Quiz: Pride Edition (new date t.b.a.)

In addition, Tūhura/The HIVE at Johnsonville Library will be closed until we return to Alert Level 1 — so no weaving, 3D printing, laser cutting, or booking of the music studio for now.

Stay safe, and remember to use the NZ Covid Tracer app whenever you’re out and about.

Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival 2021

Winter has arrived in Wellington, and the Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival is back again, in its fourth year,  during the week of the 11th to the 21st of June, and there’re heaps of exciting events happening in the Capital!

What is the Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival?

The Lōemis (pron. lew-mis) festival began in 2016 and is held annually in Wellington in the lead up to the winter solstice.

For eleven days, the Lōemis Winter Solstice Festival observes the longest nights of the year with a hearty mix of feasting, theatre, music, monstrous creatures and a fiery waterfront procession, based around the winter solstice, which falls on 22 June.

For more information on what events are on, check out the Lōemis website and Facebook page.

In the meantime, why not get into the “festival” season with:


image courtesy of syndeticsCelebrating the southern seasons : rituals for Aotearoa.

“Provides information and insight … of the customs, symbols, stories and meanings relating to the seasonal changes from both European and Maori perspectives … contents include the meeting point: the coming together of Aotearoa New Zealand’s two dominant cultures … an overview of seasonal celebrations, guidelines on how to structure seasonal rituals … a calendar for Aotearoa New Zealand, suggested rituals for Aotearoa New Zealand today, an overview of Celtic and Maori traditions” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsA year of festivals : how to have the time of your life.

“Takes you around the world in pursuit of festivals in all their flamboyant color and variety. Discover music, camel races, feats of endurance, manic street parties and monumental food fights. From the sublime (Venice’s Carnevale or India’s Krishna Janmastami) to the absurd (Finland’s Wife-Carrying Championships or Australia’s Beer Can Regatta), the best of the famous and little-known alike are represented here. Organized by month and week to help you to plan a great festival experience at any time of year. Country and Festival indexes allow you to also search by the destination of your next vacation, or by the name or theme of the festival you want to experience.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndetics50 festivals to blow your mind.

“Join the world’s biggest water fight in Thailand, become a reveller on Mexico’s Day of the Dead, and party at Rio’s world-famous carnival. Whatever you like to celebrate, you’ll find a gathering somewhere on the planet to suit. Lonely Planet collects the greatest, weirdest and most jaw-dropping festivals around the world to set your sights on” (Catalogue).


Also, why not join in on “the Lōemis workshop fun”,  in the comfort of your own home… or library by creating your masterpieces, (mask making, Mexican style treats, culinary goodness, puppetry and house building), with some help from the following books:

image courtesy of syndeticsPowermask : the power of masks.

“Since the 1990’s, Walter Van Beirendonck has been fascinated by masks. A mask changes your identity, raises a particular atmosphere and has instant impact. Artists like André Breton, Pablo Picasso or even Breughel were inspired. Power Mask – The Power of Masks goes deeper into the different facets of masks: the link between Western art and African masks, the supernatural and the rituals around masks, masks in fashion, masks like fetish, and more” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsLa Boca Loca : Mexican cooking for New Zealanders.

“Lucas Putnam and Marianne Elliott opened their Mexican restaurant, La Boca Loca in April 2011, with a clear goal: to bring the freshest flavours of Mexico to Wellington using fresh and locally available ingredients. Their customers loved the taste of their freshly prepared Mexican food and many wanted to learn to make it themselves at home, so this book makes it possible to recreate and share the taste of Lucas’s childhood.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


image courtesy of syndeticsPuppetry : how to do it.

“A practical, accessible and inspiring guide to using puppetry in theatre — the perfect entry point for anyone looking to use puppets in their productions, to explore what puppets can do, or to develop their puppetry skills” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe econest home : designing & building a light straw clay house.

“An EcoNest is not just a home–it is a uniquely beautiful structure that nurtures health and embraces ecology. This complete practical guide explains how EcoNests combine light straw clay natural building techniques with the principles of Building Biology, provides fully-illustrated, step-by-step instructions for designing and building your own, and is packed with inspiring photos of completed projects” (Catalogue)


Keep warm and stay safe this winter!

Tūhono: It Lives!

Poets, readers, fellow champions of the written and spoken word — hark, and listen well. The day has finally come — Tūhono, our poetry journal for young Wellingtonians, has officially been released into the world as of the 11th of January 2021. And what a world it has arrived into — civil and political unrest overseas, the spectre of a global pandemic still haunting our every step; and yet, sunshine over the hitherto stormy seas of our fair town. Tūhono, I think, captures all of that and more. Read it now on OverDrive and Libby.

We are having physical copies printed as well, so soon you’ll be able to find Tūhono 2020 on the shelf at your local public or school library. We will also be 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. It’s big deal, yo.

A two-page spread from Tūhono, featuring work by Jasmine (16) and Lily (11).

As we say in the business, this is The Good Stuff.

There are some very important and cool people whom I would like to thank for their input — Stephanie Poulopoulos (my partner-in-crime, and the amazing librarian who buys all of the kids’ and teens’ books for our collection), Ligia Horta (who designed the book — what an amazing talent she is!), Monty Masseurs (who helped get everything set up online), Bridget Jennings (who wrote the catalogue record for the book, making sure you can actually find it online), and Celeste Mackintosh (who helped organise the online submissions throughout the month of November 2020). They are all very awesome librarians and we should all pay homage to their greatness and humility.

Friends, in this life, no one is 'just' a librarian.

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

Information Literacy and You: Part 3

Using trusted sites and books

The trick for information literacy skills from Gandalf is to keep reading, reading and reading.

And the follow-up skill for reading, is searching, searching and searching. Knowing how to do an information search is critical for accessing and disseminating the appropriate information. Having information needs, i.e. finding out who is in that music video you’re covering for a Music studies report or finding that one massive reference to use in your History essay can make the difference in your exams and assessments. It also helps you discover awesome things when you’re surfing the net or getting books out of the library. There are various reference collections for important areas of knowledge such as the Māori reference and loan collection, or the standard hard-copy dictionary or thesaurus, maps and atlases collection. Not all library’s have extensive access. but they are spread out over the branch’s for you to use.

the follow-up skill for reading, is searching, searching and searching

Doing Google searches for instance in a reference-style, is a great starting way of looking for sources and information. Using the Library catalogue is another search engine function where you can group together keywords, such as relevant subjects or authors you want to explore about. These searches will bring up a list of results, and then with the short blurbs displayed will give you an idea as to the relevancy of the material being resulted. The same principle is used to sort out Google search results and other search engines, such as those within the history archive Recollect from the library website.

The library has several services that you can use to gain reliable information, all with your library card! Just log into the eLibrary section of the Wellington City Library website and scroll down to More Resources, where you will find the section entitled Rauemi ā-ipurangi (the My Gateway online resources https://wcl.govt.nz/mygateway/).

Image of the database frontpage, showcasing the various subjects that databases are to be found within.

The library’s many databases collection. Find the subjects you are interested in today!

There is also available the WCL Recollect platform (https://wellington.recollect.co.nz/), which helps you history buffs access a treasure trove of information, curated by the Library’s resident historian Gábor Tóth. Remember to apply your Info Literacy skills to the search results to further expand your knowledge, also remember if it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. If it’s not relevant, then there’s no need to read it.

Image of the library's historical research database, Recollect.

Screenshot of the Recollect service offered by the library. Use this for historical research.

if it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t

Government-listed websites are also important sources of information, and can contain really useful information, such as on te taiao – the environment. Using places like DOC to find your information, it can make a difference to your understanding and the reports that you write. It also helps you to be a better Aotearoan.

Image of the Department of Conservation website, front page

Screenshot of the official Department of Conservation website.

So, now you have the skills to analyse greater amounts of knowledge specifically, and to withstand misinformation in its many guises. Don’t be fooled by the media and unlimited access to ‘information’, always read beyond the page and think critically about what is being said.

Waitohi Youth Nights Return!

Now that we’re all done with that business of emerging, blinking, into the sunlight following the national lockdown, a lot of our regular events and programmes are getting back underway. Happily, this includes our regular Youth Nights at Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Community Hub!

‘What is Youth Night?’ I hear you plaintively ask. ‘Why would I spend my Saturday night in a library of all places?’ Well, friends. Perhaps a more apt question is ‘what isn’t Youth Night?’ We play games, we make music, we watch movies, we debate the ins and outs of LGBTQ+ representation in contemporary media (this one is optional), we try to beat each other’s high scores in Beat Saber, we laugh, we cry, we rank the characters of the classic 1990s cartoon Gargoyles in order of hotness (Goliath and Demona come in at joint first place, obviously, with everyone else trailing a distant second), and most importantly, we eat pizza.

Our Youth Nights are totally free (pizza included!), but you do need to be 13+ in order to come, so please bring your student ID. Once you’re in, our spaces are all yours. Youth Nights are on the first Saturday of every month, from 5.00-8.00pm. The first one since lockdown is this Saturday, the 1st of August. See you there!

The central library closing

By now you’ve probably heard the news that the Central Library building has closed. This will be rough for a lot of people; many (myself included) have been going there since we were kids. It’s a place to get books, sure, but also a meeting place and a chill out zone. This blog’s been pretty quiet while everyone’s getting settled. Hopefully normal service should resume soon!

Anyway, here’s everything you need to know about the library closing. Check out our social media pages for more.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA map of days, Ransom Riggs

Having defeated the monstrous threat that nearly destroyed the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back where his story began, in Florida. Except now Miss Peregrine, Emma, and their peculiar friends are with him, and doing their best to blend in. But carefree days of beach visits and normalling lessons are soon interrupted by a discovery–a subterranean bunker that belonged to Jacob’s grandfather, Abe. Clues to Abe’s double-life as a peculiar operative start to emerge, secrets long hidden in plain sight. And Jacob begins to learn about the dangerous legacy he has inherited–truths that were part of him long before he walked into Miss Peregrine’s time loop. Now, the stakes are higher than ever as Jacob and his friends are thrust into the untamed landscape of American peculiardom–a world with few ymbrynes, or rules–that none of them understand. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOne of us is lying, Karen M. McManus

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal , is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete , is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast , is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWe’ll always have summer, Jenny Han

Can Belly make a final choice between Jeremiah and Conrad? Find out in the conclusion of the New York Times bestselling The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy from the author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Belly has only ever been in love with two boys, both with the last name Fisher. And after being with Jeremiah for the last two years, she’s almost positive he is her soul mate. Almost. Conrad has not gotten over the mistake he made when he let Belly go even as Jeremiah has always known that Belly is the girl for him. So when Belly and Jeremiah decide to make things forever, Conrad realizes that it’s now or never–tell Belly he loves her, or lose her for good. Belly will have to confront her feelings for Jeremiah and Conrad and face a truth she has possibly always known: she will have to break one of their hearts. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe iron flower, Laurie Forest

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs when they rescued a Selkie and freed a military dragon. The last thing they expected was to be thrust into a realm-wide underground resistance against Gardnerian conquest. While the Resistance struggles to fight back against the harsh rulings of the Mage Council, more and more Gardnerian soldiers descend upon the University…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the nearby military base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to tie himself to her, still convinced that she is the heir to the power of the Black Witch, a legacy of magic that will decide the future of all Erthia. As his own magic calls out to her, seeking to awaken a dark force within, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed. Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsToil and trouble: 15 tales of women and witchcraft, edited by Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe

History is filled with stories of women accused of witchcraft, of fearsome girls with arcane knowledge. Toil & Trouble features fifteen stories of girls embracing their power, reclaiming their destinies and using their magic to create, to curse, to cure—and to kill. young witch uses social media to connect with her astrology clients—and with a NASA-loving girl as cute as she is skeptical. A priestess of death investigates a ritualized murder. A bruja who cures lovesickness might need the remedy herself when she falls in love with an altar boy. A theater production is turned upside down by a visiting churel. In Reconstruction-era Texas, a water witch uses her magic to survive the soldiers who have invaded her desert oasis. And in the near future, a group of girls accused of witchcraft must find their collective power in order to destroy their captors. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe assassination of Brangwain Spurge, M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom — from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years. Brangwain’s host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them — and war for their nations. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLet me list the ways, Sarah White

Mackenzie Clark has been best friends with Nolan Walker for as long as she can remember. She’s shared everything with him, from adventures with their families and days lounging at the beach to long talks about their friends and her journey with type 1 diabetes. The only thing she hasn’t shared is the fact that she is in love with him. Now in their senior year of high school, Mackenzie and Nolan know that in a few short months everything will change as they head off to different colleges. Determined to make the most of the time they still have left, they come up with a list of things they want to do together before graduation. But as they make their way through everything from toilet papering the school bully’s house to having a backyard camp-out like the ones they had when they were kids, Mackenzie can’t help feeling that she’s left the most important thing off the list: telling Nolan how she feels. Confessing her love could jeopardize the incredible relationship they already have. Is honesty really the best policy? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHere to stay, Sara Farizan

Bijan Majidi is: Shy around girls, really into comics, decent at basketball. Bijan Majidi is not: A terrorist. What happens when a kid who’s flown under the radar for most of high school gets pulled off the bench to make the winning basket in a varsity playoff game? If his name is Bijan Majidi, life is suddenly high fives in the hallways and invitations to exclusive parties–along with an anonymous photo sent by a school cyberbully that makes Bijan look like a terrorist. The administration says they’ll find and punish the culprit. Bijan wants to pretend it never happened. He’s not ashamed of his Middle Eastern heritage; he just doesn’t want to be a poster child for Islamophobia. Lots of classmates rally around Bijan. Others make it clear they don’t want him or anybody who looks like him at their school. But it’s not always easy to tell your enemies from your friends (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThings I’d rather do than die, Christine Hurley Deriso

When Jade Fulton and Ethan Garrett, the two most mismatched seniors at Walt Whitman High School, find themselves locked in an aerobics room overnight, their confinement forces them to push past the labels they’ve given each other. Amid hours of arguing, philosophizing, and silly game playing, Ethan and Jade learn there’s a lot more to the other person than meets the eye.But after their night in confinement, they return to their comfort zones-Ethan’s football prowess and long-standing romance with the school beauty, and Jade’s cerebral pursuits and close friendship with the quirky Gia. Still, they find themselves inexorably pulled back to the connection they formed that night, a bond they increasingly value as Jade struggles with her dad’s cancer diagnosis and Ethan tries to distance himself from his alcoholic father. (Publisher summary)

In the bleak midwinter…

…is actually a Christmas carol but Wellington’s certainly feeling it. Lots of rain and very cold! So what can you do to warm yourself up and keep the winter blues at bay?

Book cover courtesy of Syndetics1) Start a new book series.

I’m really enjoying Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I’m so excited that there will be more, it’s an amazing read. Want, by Cindy Pon, is a rather topical cyberpunk novel set in a futuristic Taipei. Scythe by Neil Shusterman is another book that deals with a dystopia but a very fresh take on a genre that’s getting slightly top heavy.

Book cover courtesy of Syndetics2) Re-read some old favourites.

The Book of Dust is the latest book set in Phillip Pullman’s Northern Light trilogy’s universe. But it might be worth picking up the original books first. Mortal Engines is another old series, but it’s getting a movie adaptation (trailer here), so well worth picking up. Lumberjanes is one of my favourite comic book series, and its summer setting is a comforting read when the weather outside is awful.

Book cover courtesy of Syndetics3) Binge a series

Avatar: the last Airbender is amazing; despite being released in 2005 it hasn’t dated and is still one of the most interesting, intelligent, and funny animated series ever. If you like your mysteries, we have Pretty Little Liars. If you like supernatural, then there’s The Vampire Diaries. We’ve also got movie franchises such as Marvel, DC and Star Wars.

Book cover courtesy of Syndetics4) Cook something delicious

Our YA collection is bursting with awesome cookbooks. Sam Stern is one of my favourites; his books are easy and accessible and I still use them.

5) Check out our digital resources

Not only do we have two awesome e-library resources where you can get both audiobooks and e-books – Borrowbox and Overdrive – we’ve got a ton of other cool sites for you to look at. Lynda.com is full of courses where you can learn things like digital photography and building websites. ComicsPlus has, surprisingly, an amazing collection of comics for you to peruse. Head over to my gateway to see more.

Treat yourself: Booksale 2018

Just as NCEA exams end we’re having our booksale: from the 5th of December come in and pick up some cheap, awesome books for your summer reading!

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMoxie, Jennifer Mathieu

Vivian Carter is fed up with a high school administration that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv is fed up with always following the rules. Her mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution. (Publisher summary)

First lines: My English teacher, Mr. Davies, rubs a hand over his military buzz cut. There’s sweat beading at his hairline, and he puffs out his ruddy cheeks. He looks like a drunk porcupine. The drunk part may be true. Even if it is before lunch on a Tuesday.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe warrior, Joseph Delaney

This is the third exhilarating installment in the Arena 13 series by Joseph Delaney, author of The Spook’s Apprentice. After everything Leif has been through in Arena 13, it’s finally time for him to fulfill his destiny and accompany his father’s people beyond the barrier that imprisons all mankind. Meanwhile, Kwin, the girl he loves, is making waves in the arena as the first woman ever to grace its fighting floor. In their own ways, each of them is fighting to bring down the superhuman monsters that threaten the last people on earth. They might have picked fights they can’t win. But freedom could be something worth dying for. (Publisher summary)

First lines: When Math glimpsed the west bank of the River Medie, his heart soared. He was almost home. Ahead, in the far distance, was the Barrier that enclosed Midgard, a black mass of cloud and mist that reached from the ground high into the sky, writhing and churning as if it were alive.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe arsonist, Stephanie Oakes

Molly Mavity doesn’t believe her mother killed herself three years ago– or that her father is about to be executed for his crimes. Pepper Yusef is a Kuwaiti immigrant with a seizure dog, and is about to fail out of school. They are tasked with solving the decades-old murder of Ava Dryman, an East German teenager resistance fighter whose death led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Dear Pepper,
Do you have any idea how depressing it is in this room right now> Your dad can’t look at you for longer than a couple of minutes before falling into tears. You’re not breathing on your own, and I can’t see your bandaged head without remembering you were recently punched in the brain by the bottom of a swimming pool. They say you might never wake up.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInvictus, Ryan Graudin

Farway Gaius McCarthy is the son of a time traveler from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in ancient Rome. His very existence defies the laws of nature. All he’s ever wanted was to explore history for himself, but after failing his entrance exam into the government program, Far will have to settle for a position on the black market: captaining a time-traveling crew to steal valuables from the past. During a routine heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl named Eliot who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Eliot has secrets and, armed with the knowledge that history is not as steady as it seems, she leads Far and his team on a race through time to set things right before the clock runs out. (Publisher summary)

First lines: Recorder Empra McCarthy sat in the bleachers of the Ampitheatrum Flavium, her pregnant belly as round as a globe under her indigo stola. The Colosseum -not that it was called that, not yet – was a frenzy of life around her. Nearly fifty thousand souls had come to watch the day’s bloodbath, filling the seats with earth toned togas, popping salted peas and chunks of bread into their mouths, screaming last-minute bets and Latin slang as the gladiators marched through the Porta Sanavivaria into the arena below.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsJane, unlimited, Kristin Cashore

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia–an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions. Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash–a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price. (Publisher summary)

First lines: The house on the cliff looks like a ship disappearing into fog. The spire a mast, the trees whipping against its base, the waves of a ravening sea. Or maybe Jane just has ships on the brain, seeing as she’s inside one that’s doing all it can to consume her attention. A wave rolls the yacht, catches her off balance, and she sits down, triumphantly landing in the general vicinity of where she aimed.

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