Wellington City Libraries

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Teen Blog

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

Category: stuff to learn Page 1 of 2

How NOT to end up like Cruella de Vil

“I am woman, hear me roar!” Cruella comes to the big screen! Is evil born or (self) made?

The wonderful world of Disney comes to life, (literally) with the release of a prequel to the classic and entertaining film, 101 Dalmatians, released both in animation and in live action (who could forget Glenn Close is the staring role!), that focuses on the villainess you love to hate. None other than Cruella de Vil! However the question is who and how does she become Cruella de Vil? Is evil born or (self) made? Cruella’s film (or should I say story) focusses on Cruella when she was a teen then called Estella, played by Emma Stone (a far cry from her previous good girl roles) and her dream to become a fashion designer. Estella is gifted with talent, innovation, and ambition all in equal measures but cannot seem to achieve her goals. When a chance encounter vaults Estella into the world of the young rich and famous, however, she begins to question the existence she’s built for herself in London and wonders whether she might, indeed, be destined for more after all. But what is the cost of keeping up with the fast crowd- and is it a price Estella is willing to pay?

Is evil born or (self) made? Watch the film and find out.

This is one film to watch this coming winter. Check out the trailer down below.

Ladies, this is one movie (trailer) to to learn from. How to be talented, ambitious, and be successful… without ending up losing yourself and becoming known as a Disney villainess. However, if you want to unleash your inner Cruella without being evil and sacrificing poor, innocent Dalmatian puppies, then go down to your local library and read these books!

Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsHow to be a bawse : a guide to conquering life / Lilly Singh

“From the 2017 People’s Choice Award winner for Favourite YouTube Star comes the definitive guide to being a bawse: a person who exudes confidence, hustles relentlessly, and smiles genuinely because he or she has fought through it all and made it out the other side. Lilly Singh isn’t just a superstar. She’s Superwoman–which is also the name of her wildly popular YouTube channel. Funny, smart, and insightful, the actress and comedian covers topics ranging from relationships to career choices to everyday annoyances. It’s no wonder she’s garnered more than a billion views. But Lilly didn’t get to the top by being lucky–she had to work for it. Hard. Now Lilly wants to share the lessons she learned while taking the world by storm, and the tools she used to do it. How to Be a Bawse is the definitive guide to conquering life. Told in Lilly’s hilarious, bold voice and packed with photos and candid stories from her journey to the top, How to Be a Bawse will make you love your life and yourself–even more than you love Beyonce.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsEvery girl needs a plan / Bianca Chatfield

“Every Girl Needs a Plan gives you the tools, tricks and tips to make the small adjustments that will get you to where you really want to be. Contents include: Emotional fitness, Inner critics and tyre-kickers, Fear, Creating your own BOD (Board of Directors), Teamwork, Where are you heading?, Own it, Choose you, Make things happen. Topics include: The gratitude attitude, picturing success, the comparison game, the paradox of perfectionism, switch on to switch off, 20 seconds of courage, sleep, social media.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsWell, this is growing up / Megan Street.

“This book helps young women today go through some of the tough stuff that life sometimes throws at them. Includes sections on bullying, failing, drugs, boys, heartbreak, shyness, etc. This book will help you view life differently, more positively and help you to achieve what you and everyone truly wants. By reading you will become more confident, happy in your own skin and comfortable being your true self. Also included : Why people hate you! ; The one thing that instantly makes you more attractive ; The 4 characteristics that lead to success! ; How to make friends anywhere!” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsFeel good 101 / Emma Blackery

“‘Only you can take the steps you need to help yourself become the strong, independent, fearless person you dream of being. It took me a long time – and a lot of real lows, excruciating heartaches and countless mistakes – to get there. The sole purpose of this book’s existence is the hope that it may speed up that journey to happiness for you.’ YouTube’s most outspoken star Emma Blackery is finally putting pen to paper to (over)share all her hard-learned life lessons. From standing up to bullies and bad bosses to embracing body confidence and making peace with her brain, Emma speaks with her trademark honesty about the issues she’s faced – including her struggles with anxiety and depression. This is the book Emma wishes she’d had growing up… and she’s written it for you.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of sydneticsRelease your inner drive : everything you need to know about how to get good at stuff / Bradley Busch

“A book of infographics that shows teenagers how they can excel at school and in life. This book will enable all teenagers to improve their mindset, performance under pressure, motivation and learning. We now know more than ever about the science of learning. The research explains why some people flourish and others never truly fulfil their potential.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe ultimate survival guide to being a girl : on love, body image, school, and making it through life / Christina de Witte

“Navigating young adulthood can seem impossible: social media, body image, high school…. De Witte provides humorous and relatable advice on topics such as bullying, and dealing with (and loving!) your body.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsGirl mogul : dream it, do it, change the world / Tiffany Pham

“No matter who you are or where you come from, this book can help you define success, envision it, and make it happen–in school, in your personal life, and at work. Get ready to awaken all the awesomeness that is already inside of you.” (Catalogue)

Rotuman Language Week 2021

Noaʻia ʻe mḁuri gagaj ʻatakoa! Hey everyone!

Last week was Rotuman Language Week! Gasav Ne Fäeag Rotuạm Ta!

Ministry for Pacific Peoples poster for Rotuman language week

New Zealand is the only country in the world where the languages and culture of our Pasifika cousins are celebrated. Fäeag Rotuạm, the Rotuman language, is the first of nine Pasifika language weeks this year, and it ran from the 9th May – 15th May 2021. Rotuma Day itself as on the 13th of May, and we marked the occasion with a beautiful display and a special family storytime sharing legends from the isle of Rotuma at Johnsonville Library.

Where is Rotuma you ask? Well the main island of Rotuma is about 13km by 4km and is  about 580km from Fiji’s capital, Suva. Rotuma is a dependency of Fiji, so Rotumans will usually speak Fijian and English too! There are about 2000 Rotumans living on the island, and 10,000 living in mainland Fiji and globally.

This year’s theme for Gasav Ne Fäeag Rotuạm Ta is Tutur häk ne måür lelei – the four pillars of life and wellbeing:

  1. Måür Fak’ata = represents our spiritual pillar – a place of solace that gives meaning to life.
  2. Måür Fakforo = represents our physical pillar – living life in all its fullness
  3. ‘Os A’häe = represents our psychological pillar- steers our presence and place in life
  4. Hạikạinagaga = represents our social pillar – our connection with people

Tutur häk ne måür lelei, is very similar to the Whare tapa whā model in te ao Māori, where reverence is given to the four sides of our holistic wellbeing: whānau, tinana, hinengaro and wairua. The theme of Tutur häk ne måür lelei acknowledges the strength and resilience of our Pasifika communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So how do you speak Rotuman? [Row-too-man] Well, Rotumans roll their ‘R’s and pronounce ‘G’ with a smooth ‘ing’ sound, similar to how Māori pronounce ‘ng’.

Here are some key phrases in Rotuman.

  • Noa’ia [Noah-e-yah]= Hello, greetings.
  • Ka ‘äe tapen? [Car eh tar-pen] = How are you?
  • Gou lelei fḁiåksia [Ngou leh-lay for-yak-see-yah] = I am well thank you.
  • Figalelei [Fee-nga-leh-lay] = Please
  • Fḁiåksia [Foyak-see-yah] = Thank you
  • Hanis ma röt’åk [Hah-niece mah röt-ack] = Sorry
  • La’ ma ḁlalum [Lah mah aw-lah-loom] = Goodbye (only to those leaving)
  • Fu’ ma ḁlalum [Foo mah aw-lah-loom] = Goodbye (only to those staying)

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples, provides great resources and information about our Pasifika languages and cultural events. Visit the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ website for more information about Rotuman Language Week 2021!

Happy Death Day, William Shakespeare!

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Well, that was certainly the case during William Shakespeare’s life. This year marks Shakespeare’s, or the Bard of Avon, (assumed) 457th birthday on the 26th of April and 405th death anniversary on the 23rd April.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

And pray tell, who was William Shakespeare?

Well, he was an English poet, playwright and actor who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. People all over the world have come to recognise the image of William Shakespeare and would heard of his plays, but what do we know about the man himself, or even what went on behind the scenes during the performance of his plays, or even who his plays were being performed for?

How dost thou celebrate?

In addition to the traditional birthday party, cake and presents, why not read all about his life, from his early and humble beginnings in Stratford upon Avon, England to conquering the stage in Queen Elizabeth’s court and the Globe Theatre.

image courtesy of syndetics30-second Shakespeare : 50 key aspects of his works, life and legacy, each explained in half a minute.

’30-second Shakespeare’ features 50 of the key moments, works and lasting influences of the Bard, all explained clearly and without the clutter. Each entry is summarized in just 3 seconds – using nothing more than two pages, 300 words and one picture. Leading Shakespeare scholars present an expert guide to his life and works.

image courtesy of syndeticsWill in the world : how Shakespeare became Shakespeare.

Read all about the real-world sources of Shakespeare’s language – of his fantasies, passions, fears, and desires – lie outside the scope of these earlier books. Will in the World will set out to recover the links between Shakespeare and his world and with them to construct a full and vital portrait of the man.


image courtesy of syndeticsShakespeare : the world as stage.

Bill Bryson explores the life and work of Shakespeare as a travelogue of sorts, narrating his quest for the Bard: his conversations with Shakespearean actors, with the curator of Shakespeare’s birthplace, with academics who have dedicated their lives to studying the plays and poems, and of course, reporting on his own exploits in Stratford-upon-Avon.

image courtesy of syndeticsA year in the life of William Shakespeare.

In 1599, an epochal year for Shakespeare and England, Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays while Elizabethans sent off an army to crush an Irish rebellion, weathered an Armada threat from Spain, and gambled on a fledgling East India Company. Shapiro brings together the news and the intrigue of the times in this gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.

Also search our catalogue for more biographies about Shakespeare and his remarkable life.


Read Shakespeare’s plays… and novels based on Shakespeare’s plays!

image courtesy of syndeticsThe plays of Shakespeare : a thematic guide.

Read and relive your favourite Shakespeare plays. Wellington City Libraries holds a huge array of plays and teen novels adapted from Shakespeare’s plays. Identifies the core topics of Shakespeare’s plays and allows students to compare and contrast the thematic connections that recur throughout the canon.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe complete works by William Shakespeare.

A compact edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare. It combines impeccable scholarship with beautifully written editorial material and a user-friendly layout of the text. Also included is a foreword, list of contents, general introduction, essay on language, contemporary allusions to Shakespeare, glossary, consolidated bibliography and index of first lines of Sonnets.

Plays from the Royal Shakespeare Company

This Shakespeare series has titles such as Much ado about Nothing, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to excite Shakespearian fans of all ages. This exciting series, produced in partnership with the RSC, is designed to introduce students to Shakespeare’s plays. Using trusted and established RSC approaches and vibrant RSC performance photographs, the series brings Shakespeare’s plays to life in the classroom and establishes a deeper understanding and lasting appreciation of his work.
image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics

Plays from the Cambridge School Shakespeare

image courtesy of syndeticsHamlet.

A new edition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in accordance with the work of the Shakespeare and Schools Project and the national curriculum for English.

image courtesy of syndeticsRomeo and Juliet.

A new edition of Romeo and Juliet in the Cambridge School Shakepeare series.

image courtesy of syndeticsOthello.

A prose retelling of Shakespeare’s play in which a jealous general is duped into thinking that his wife has been unfaithful, with tragic consequences.

Novels adapted from Shakespeare’s Plays

image courtesy of syndeticsThe diary of William Shakespeare, gentleman.

Part comedy, part love story, this book threads together Shakespeare’s life drawn from his plays. Could the world’s greatest writer truly put down his pen forever to become a gentleman? Based on new documentary evidence, as well as textual examination of his plays, this fascinating book gives a tantalising glimpse at what might have been: the other hands that helped craft those plays, the secrets that must ever be hidden but – just possibly – may now be told.

image courtesy of syndeticsHamlet.

This wonderful book, by one of Australia’s most loved and most read writers, takes Shakespeare’s famous play and makes it into a moving and full-blooded novel. John Marsden follows the contours of the original but powerfully re-imagines its characters and story lines, rather as Shakespeare treated his sources. We are aware not only of the strength of Marsden’s own writing but the sensitivity of his insight into Shakespeare. Hamlet, A Novel will be adored by adults whether young or old.

image courtesy of syndeticsThird Witch.

A searing story of passion, betrayal, battles and love, this is Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ stripped of superstition, and its power and beauty refined into fewer words where good balances the evil and there is a happy ending – for some. Following on from OPHELIA, QUEEN OF DENMARK and I AM JULIET, this is the third title in the series for young people that focuses on the reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s classic and enduring plays.

image courtesy of syndeticsThese Violent Delights.

A retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1926 Shanghai, China. Eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and her first love-turned-rival Roma Montagov, leader of the White Flowers, must work together when mysterious deaths threaten their city.– Provided by Publisher.

OMG Shakespeare!

image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics


Also search our catalogue for more plays.


Ace your exams and homework!

Read the CliffsNotes on Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets that will help ease your homework headaches and help you score high on exams. Check out the following CliffNotes which includes As You Like it, Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet:

image courtesy of syndetics

image courtesy of syndetics

image courtesy of syndetics


You can search our catalogue for more CliffNotes. Also, check out more Shakespeare on the CliffNotes website.


Watch movies inspired by Shakespeare’s plays:

A midsummer night’s dream.

image courtesy of amazon.com

When two pairs of star-crossed lovers, a feuding pair of supernatural sprites and a love potion gone awry all come together in an enchanted moonlit forest, the result is a delightful mix of merriment and magic. Shakespeare’s romantic comedy is brought to life.

Hamlet.

image courtesy of amazon.com

In this first-ever full-text film of William Shakespeare’s work, the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet, returns home to find his father murdered and his mother remarrying the murderer. Meanwhile, war is brewing.

Love Labour’s Lost.

image courtesy of amazon.com

The King of Navarre (Alessandro Nivola) and his friends think that they cannot love again. When the Princess of France (Alicia Silverstone) and her attendants arrive for a visit, their plans are completely turned upside down in this 1930s-musical-style version of Shakespeare’s comedy featuring Berlin, Gershwin, Kern, and Porter song numbers.

Double dose of Much ado about Nothing (1993) and Much ado about Nothing (2013).

image courtesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com

Two different retellings of  Shakespeare’s classic comedy about the story of sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick offers a sensual, tragic and occasionally absurd view of the intricate game that is love.

image courtesy of amazon.com image courtesy of amazon.com

Double dose of Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Romeo and Juliet (1996) .

Two different retellings of Shakespeare’s classic of star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. The 1996 version staring a very young and impressionable Leonardo Dicaprio is a modern adaptation of the classic love story, moved to the futuristic urban backdrop of Verona Beach.

Also search our catalogue for more DVDs adapted from Shakespeare’s plays. 


Where to find more information?

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!

Making Sense of the World Around Us

Well, we’re a fortnight into 2021 and hoo mama what a time it has been.  It’s full on for anybody right now looking around at what is going on in the world, particularly in America, and trying to just understand what on earth it all means.  In times like these, I turn books to get answers, but I know there are so many dry and dull books out there that just make the whole topic all that more confusing!  So I thought I’d put together a bit of a list of some that are interesting and topical to help you get some answers and perspective on the events of the world around us.

Eyes wide open : going behind the environmental headlines / Fleischman, Paul

This book is an excellent explainer for the position we find our world in environmentally.  It takes a deep dive into capitalism, world politics, consumerism and our everyday lives to look at just how we got here, and how we can think about moving forward.

Hope was here / Bauer, Joan

A powerful story about a young woman finding her place in a new society and how her everyday choices draw her further into local politics.

 

 

Legacy / Hereaka, Whiti

“Seventeen-year-old Riki is worried about school and the future, but mostly about his girlfriend, Gemma, who has suddenly stopped seeing or texting him. But on his way to see her, hes hit by a bus and his life radically changes. Riki wakes up one hundred years earlier in Egypt, in 1915, and finds hes living through his great-great-grandfathers experiences in the Maori Contingent. At the same time that Riki tries to make sense of whats happening and find a way home, we go back in time and read transcripts of interviews Rikis great-great-grandfather gave in 1975 about his experiences in this war and its impact on their family. Gradually we realise the fates of Riki and his great-great-grandfather are intertwined.” (Catalogue)

Saints and misfits : a novel / Ali, S. K

Janna divides the world around her into three categories – saints, misfits and monsters, to try to make sense of the events happening in her life.  She is trying to fit into her community and deal with a recent traumatic event that she has been through.

 

The tyrant’s daughter / Carleson, J. C.

“When her father is killed in a coup, Laila and her mother and brother leave their war-torn homeland for a fresh start in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. At her new high school, Laila makes mistakes, makes friends, and even meets a boy who catches her eye. But this new life brings unsettling facts to light. The American newspapers call her father a brutal dictator and suggest that her family’s privilege came at the expense of innocent lives. Meanwhile, her mother would like nothing more than to avenge his death, and she’ll go to great lengths to regain their position of power. As an international crisis takes shape around her, Laila is pulled in one direction, then another, but there’s no time to sort out her feelings. She has to pick a side now, and her decision will affect not just her own life, but countless others. . . . Inspired by the author’s experience as a CIA officer in Iraq and Syria, this book is as timely as it is relevant.” (Catalogue)

The dharma punks / Sang, Anthony

“Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. A group of anarchist punks have hatched a plan to sabotage the opening of a multi-national fast-food restaurant by blowing it sky-high come opening day. Chopstick has been given the unenviable task of setting the bomb in the restaurant the night before the opening, but when he is separated from his accomplice, Tracy, the night takes the first of many unexpected turns. Chance encounters and events from his past conspire against him, forcing Chopstick to deal with more than just the mission at hand. Still reeling after the death of a close friend, and struggling to reconcile his spiritual path with his political actions, Chopstick’s journey is a meditation on life, love, friendship and blowing things up!” (Catalogue)

Bernie Sanders guide to political revolution / Sanders, Bernard

“Adapted for young readers from Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, from political revolutionary and cultural icon Bernie Sanders comes an inspiring teen guide to engaging with and shaping the world–a perfect gift and an important read. Adapted for young readers from “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, ” this inspiring teen guide to engaging with and shaping the world is from political revolutionary and cultural icon Senator Sanders.” (Catalogue)

She takes a stand : 16 fearless activists who have changed the world / Ross, Michael Elsohn

“She Takes a Stand offers a realistic look at the game-changing decisions, high stakes, and bold actions of women and girls around the world working to improve their personal situations and the lives of others.

This inspiring collection of short biographies features the stories of extraordinary figures past and present who have dedicated their lives to fighting for human rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, reproductive rights, and world peace. Budding activists will be inspired by antilynching crusader and writerIda B. Wells, birth control educator and activist Margaret Sanger, girls-education activist Malala Yousafzai, Gulabi Gang founder Sampat Pal Devi, who fights violence against Indian women, Dana Edell, who works against the sexualization of women and girls in the media, and many others.” (Catalogue)

Dawn Raid / Smith, Pauline

“Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofia’s main worries are how to get some groovy go-go boots, and how not to die of embarrassment giving a speech at school! But when her older brother Lenny starts talking about marches and protests and overstayers, and how Pacific Islanders are being bullied by the police for their passports and papers, a shadow is cast over Sofia’s sunny teenage days. Through her heartfelt diary entries, we witness the terror of being dawn-raided and gain an insight into the courageous and tireless work of the Polynesian Panthers in the 1970s as they encourage immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their rights.” (Catalogue)

The rise of the Nazis / Tonge, Neil

Learn about the Nazi occupation through visually stimulating primary sources taken from the War era; readers will be engaged as they discover authentic newspapers, broadcasts, propaganda, letters, and diary entries.

 

Persepolis / Satrapi, Marjane

“The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Amidst the tragedy, Marjane’s child’s eye view adds immediacy and humour, and her story of a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary, beset by the unthinkable and yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family, is immensely moving. It is also very beautiful; Satrapi’s drawings have the power of the very best woodcuts.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hindsight : pivotal moments in New Zealand history / Hager, Mandy

Hindsight is a good look at four key moments in New Zealand history and how they affected our society as a nation.

 

Te Taiao – The Environment and Your Future

In this age of global climate change, and amongst the deniers, te taiao – the environment, is ever-changing and ever-important. It has recently come to the fore in a hugely political movement, globalised since the first speech of Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg. This blog series will look at three aspects of climate change. Firstly, the scoop on global climate change issues, secondly on local or Aotearoa-based climate issues and thirdly, how yourselves as rangatahi can enact change against the climate crisis.

Firstly, the global picture

Acidification of our oceans

Drivers of hypoxia and acidification in our oceans

Factors showing the driving of acidification in our oceans.

Due to the vastly industrialised world, and the ever-increasing pollution from factories and car exhausts, our oceans are becoming acidified. This is because the oceans absorb 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide released from land use and emissions (Ocean Service, 2020). It means we have less organisms in the sea, and people’s livelihoods will be affected. The behaviour of non-calcifying creatures are also affected, leading to different catchments being available. It affects directly the coral reefs, which provide amazing habitats for many sea-going creatures, and the acidic waters are actually dissolving some sea creatures shells right now (Bennett, 2020).

Salinity of water bodies i.e. lakes

Due to the salination effects on waterways from climate change, the waterways have increased in temperature about 2-4 degrees since the 1960s (Cheng L. et al. 2020). This has meant an ever-increasing salination rate, causing widespread damage to local aquatic and marine populations. What this means is that areas will become drier than before, eliminating vital habitat for various creatures, and a lessening of resources for humans to consume.

Read More

What’s your Marae?

Kia ora e hoa!

Recently I have been reading the library’s copy of Marae: te tatau pounamu, giving an insight into Māori custom, and how rangitahi and kauheke come together in these special places.

I am lucky to call two marae to be important places for me. The first is Te Herenga Waka, at Victoria University Wellington.

I recently was welcomed there as being a student, and as part of my library work. It holds a poupou of my Iwi’s shared tipuna Kahungunu, a  mighty chief. The marae is a very welcoming space for all students, and its name means ‘The Hitching-post of Waka’, a fitting testament to the many tribes coming together at the university.

The image is of the marae of Victoria University Wellington, called Te Herenga Waka

Te Herenga Waka, the marae of Victoria University Wellington

The second marae is now called Takitimu. Its original name was Te Wai-hirere after the small mountain where Māui’s canoe, Tama-Rereti, rested when snagging the North Island with his fishing hook, on the East Coast Hawke’s Bay area.

Image of Takitimu marae, named after the spot where Māui grounded his waka

The Takitimu marae, at Wairoa, was originally named after the spot where Māui grounded his waka.

Takitimu marae entrance, looking from the roadside

Takitimu marae entrance, looking from the roadside

Image of Patrick John Cosgrove, aged about 34, he is my tipuna.

Patrick John Cosgrove, my tipuna (ancestor).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the place where my tipuna, Patrick John Cosgrove was a prominent young Māori, in Wairoa during the late 1800s. He was Christian, and the relationship between local Māori and the church helped construction of the marae due to the assistance of Māori during the Easter festival the year before. It has many ancestral panels and is highly decorated. It is a place of mana for many. My tipuna also married a chieftain’s granddaughter, the niece of the first Native minister Sir James Carroll.

The whakatara, or challenge, to you is to look into your local marae and tell us about them! They can be your marae, or the ones in your area that you want to get to know.

Kia kaha in your journey through te ao Māori! 🙂

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.

Information Literacy and You: Part 2

Information overload is what we are trying to avoid, and by growing up with digital experiences, you are well on your way to interpreting the right information from the wrong or misleading.

Information literacy can be paired with Visual literacy skills. It is part of a process called Paratextual reading. Paratextual means accompanying the text with other forms of literacy, or texts. For instance, a mixed media approach to books could be aligning renditions of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies graphic novel with the original novel format.

Relatable Content

Paratextual reading is about utilising any known facet of literature, or media and comparing and analysing the information together. It is about relatable themes, pulling out the best bits of each work (whether a music video, podcast or book) and integrating that relatable content with the thing you’re writing about now.

It’s about relatable themes, pulling out the best bits of each work

An example is a book review about Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Most of you know the story before, and in your book review or report you can relate the content of the book with the movie adaption featuring Kiera Knightley (2005) for instance. Or using the beloved BBC TV series adaptation featuring the extremely likeable Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Or in fact, you can cross-reference the adaptation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies book (all of these items are in the library FYI).

But what about visual literacy?

Yes, this too can be intertwined in information literacy skills. Mixed media approaches to understanding information are key to any scholarly report, or school subject. Being critical of graphic and illustrative examples of works is a great way to show breadth and depth of understanding. It also highlights the critical nature of understanding texts. Film critics rely heavily on these skills to understand the emotion of a film, its historical accuracy and the music which ties in the ultimate rendition of the text being portrayed. It can really make or break a film as to the message it is trying to convey through story-telling.

Visual literacy is about reading, with your senses – mostly your eyes, it is the visual clues within a text (be it video, book or game) that allows you to pick up on the right information and to interpret the results appropriately. It conveys the message of the text, and can be instrumental in ordering how you understand a text and how you use a text.

It is the visual clues within a text that allows you to pick up on the right information

This includes the colour of the book, its font, the illustrations used or not used, and the layout of the text – even across movies, these factors determine your understanding and comprehension. It allows us to be lulled into a false impression of the information it contains, by being advertised as wholesome or eye-catching. Some colours represent shock and awe, such as most military books, or lighter tones for cooking books. This breathes an intimacy of trust to a text and it helps you determine what is trustworthy information and where it is to be avoided.

Read (and watch) more

Test out your newfound visual and paratextual literacy skills today with the complete Pride and Prejudice Info Lit Bundle™ below:

Pride and prejudice / Austen, Jane

The OG classic in all its glory.


Pride & prejudice (2005)

Let your visual exploration of this text begin here. Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen await!


Pride and prejudice (1995)

The famous BBC adaptation. Look Colin Firth in the eyes and tell him you aren’t going to watch it. Can’t do it? Yeah. We thought so.


Pride and prejudice and zombies : the classic Regency romance — now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem / Grahame-Smith, Seth

I mean it pretty much does what it says on the tin.


Information Literacy and You: Part 1

Image shows the wizard Gandalf with the text: Gandalf reads and so can you! The right books = Knowledge (and a little bit of magic)

Inspirational memes for hard-studying teens

Information literacy is a skill you need for work, when studying, or even knowing about the news of today’s world! It is super important to avoid information overload, and that is where your information sleuthing skills are put to the test. Information literacy is your passport to navigating the seas and air of information overload – and it’s a lifelong process.

Having the right book, with the right information – even if that challenges conventional thinking, is the ultimate goal of information literacy.

Even when we select material for the library’s collections, seemingly innocent titles can mean ‘fake news’ and misinformation can slip past us in the process. For instance we once had a title called Ancient Aliens, a companion book to the TV series of the same name. It sounds harmless but upon some thorough investigation, it turned out that the theories behind the programme and thus represented in the book were actually racist bylines.

That is something we do not endorse in the library, and neither should you. Having the right book, with the right information – even if that challenges conventional thinking, is the ultimate goal of information literacy. The skill of sifting through misinformation amidst the ages of digital media and ‘fake news’, is something to learn by and to continually develop. It takes time and patience, and a lot of reading about all types of knowledge.

That is where you come in. Your interests and passions can really help you wade through the information and get at the heart of an argument, and of knowledge. It’s that secret code of books which needs investigating and understanding, in order to interpret. It’s a skill that even Gandalf, and Hermione, know all too well (as something which J.K. should learn more about). You hold the key, it’s your enthusiasm for reading about all sorts of things which hones your skill of telling the difference between real news and fake news, and knowing the difference of knowledge from assumptions.


But what IS Information Literacy?

The American Libraries Association calls it three things:

  • Reflective discovery of information
  • Understanding of how information is produced and valued
  • Participation of creating new knowledge, ethically

Basically, it is differentiating good information from ‘bad’ information, unreliable, or ‘fake news’.

Information literacy is involving yourself in the research process. You put your reading skills to the test to see how you can interpret and then disseminate, the information you are after. Metacognition, the reflexive thought process (Livingston, 1997), is how we adapt what we see on print and online, to fit or delete from our understanding. We can decide what is a ‘truthful’ fact, and what is not, as well as determine…

What is ‘fake news’?

An attempt to mislead people, usually for financial or political gain, through the misrepresentation of media and information. An example of this would be tabloid/magazine stories that are completely made up to shock readers into reading them with flashy headlines (Colby-Sawyer College, 2020). There are also many reports of dubious ‘scientific researches’, often purporting to have the answers for some of life’s biggest questions. Much like the Ancient Aliens book already discussed, fake news can have malicious intent, bringing together popular prejudices under the guise of seemingly innocent titles.


Conspiracy Theories: News or just Fake News?

By reading lots you can imagine what is relevant information, what is conspiracy and somewhat questionable content, and what is information or ‘fake news’. What is important to note is the validfity of a source. For instance, getting your information from a government website is usually reliable, or from an independently established author. Always check their credentials though, someone from a university i.e. a lecturer, is probably more reliable than someone independent not from a university. Most historians have a PhD and a current posting at an institution, making it easier to rely on their fact-checking than someone who has neither of those qualities. This is because scholars have to back-up their evidence with citations, and this means trusting newspapers can be difficult.

Journalists do not need reference their work. Instead, they draw heavily from independent sources and witnesses, who often do not come with citations haha. Often journalists will fact-check by their editors before a story is published, but there is often an understanding that the journalists have secured reliable sources – which leads to misinformation because of public knowledge usage.

When writing for school or university, you can use print articles and newspapers as they are often reviewed before publication, but again, be wary of newspaper articles as there is less stringency on fact-checking than a peer-reviewed journal written by academic scholars.


Stuff to Read

Want to find out more about fake news, information literacy, and the post-truth era? Here are some nifty books from our collection that can get you on the path to critical thought without a hitch:

Fake news and alternative facts : information literacy in a post-truth era / Cooke, Nicole A
Information literacy is a key skill for all news consumers, and this Special Report shows how you can make a difference by learning skills and techniques to help you identify misinformation. Listen to a podcast with the author now! Talk of so-called fake news, what it is and what it isn’t, is front and center across the media landscape, with new calls for the public to acquire appropriate research and evaluation skills and become more information savvy. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fake news : separating truth from fiction / Miller, Michael
While popularized by President Donald Trump, the term fake news actually originated toward the end of the 19th century, in an era of rampant yellow journalism. Since then, it has come to encompass a broad universe of news stories and marketing strategies ranging from outright lies, propaganda, and conspiracy theories to hoaxes, opinion pieces, and satire — all facilitated and manipulated by social media platforms. This title explores journalistic and fact-checking standards, Constitutional protections, and real-world case studies, helping readers identify the mechanics, perpetrators, motives, and psychology of fake news. (Adapted from Catalogue)

The broken estate : journalism and democracy in a post-truth world / Bunce, Melanie
It is easy to look at the extremity of post truth politics in the US and conclude that we must be doing something ok in New Zealand. But in many ways, the foundations of our media system are in worse shape. In the age of Trump, fake news and celebrity headlines, it is easy to despair about the future of journalism. The New Zealand and global media are in a state of crisis, the old economic models for print journalism are no longer viable, public funding has been neglected for decades, and the numbers of journalists employed by major news organisations are in freefall. In what she describes as both a critique and a love letter, [the author] discusses the state of journalism in New Zealand and the solutions needed to ensure its future. Her fresh analysis draws on the latest international research and interviews with leading journalists. (Adapted from Catalogue)

This book will (help you) change the World / Turton, Sue
Protest injustice. Campaign for change. Stand up for your future. Political turmoil, shocks and upsets have rocked the world in the past few years, and it has never been more important to find your voice and stand up for what you believe in. From award-winning journalist Sue Turton, with hilarious illustrations from activist illustrator Alice Skinner, this is a powerhouse guide to politics and activism for teens everywhere. […] Be it disrupting the system from within by joining political parties or inspiring change through protest, Turton shows young activists how their actions and words really can make a difference. With a toolkit demonstrating how to avoid fake news, triumph in debates and grab the spotlight for your campaign, this is the ultimate teen guide to changing the world. (Adapted from Catalogue)


References

Andretta, Susie (2005) “Information Literacy: A Practitioner’s Guide”. Chandos Publishing. UK

Colby-Sawyer College (2020) ‘What is Fake News?’. Cleveland Library. USA

Livingston, Jennifer (1997) Metacognition: An Overview. State University of New York at Buffalo. Graduate School of Education. USA

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