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Tag: stuff to do

Everything Orange!

All of us will surely know by now that we are in Orange, as we have been at this traffic light level for pretty much all of December so far. I’m sure that as avid library users you will already know all about visiting the library under Orange – wear your mask and scan your vaccine pass or exemption if you’re over twelve – but I feel there is more to be explored around the orangeness of Orange than mere alert levels.

In controversial Orange news, I have learned through this recent Spinoff article that while the Covid Traffic Light system uses the colours Red, Orange, and Green, the official colours of the literal physical traffic lights that are liberally spotted around our country are Red, Green, and Yellow.

Three traffic lights in a row. The left has a green light chosing, the centre has an orange light showing, and the right has a red light showing.

Image: Traffic Signals by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence

Look at these traffic lights! This is an instructional picture from the Waka Kotahi website accompanied by the instructional caption “A yellow signal means the lights will soon turn red”. This is very interesting since it is extremely clear that the coloured circle in the centre traffic light is so obviously orange. Like, they made the picture, if they’re calling it yellow why not make the picture yellow as well?

Anyway, while the certainty that orange is orange and yellow is yellow may be falling out from under our feet, let me return to my original subject of Orange in general.

I think Orange is an excellent colour. It’s such a happy colour, it’s the colour of the sun’s rays shining on the iconic Chelsea Golden Syrup Tin, and it’s great for hi-vis vests if you’re a cyclist, contractor, or builder.

Speaking of Golden Syrup, let me bring your attention to a rather orange book:

Edmonds cookery book.
The Edmonds cookbook is a classic, it fits right in here with that orange cover, and it contains a recipe for a Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding. What’s not to like?!

Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding is also a perfect Christmas pudding. Just saying.

In search of other Orange activities to keep you occupied over the summer, I’ve trawled through our vast selection of elibrary resources, but unfortunately not many of them really scream Orange.

We do have a fantastic language-learning service called Mango Languages, a name that just promises orangeness but in actual fact doesn’t deliver much Orange, even in the logo. Still, if you don’t let lack of actual orangeness get in the way of perceived orangeness you could give it a go!

We do have some other actually-orange things in the library that could get you excited…

…while you’re sitting back in the sun, enjoying your Golden Syrup pudding, what better thing to do than get into a good book?

Here’s a selection of books that I’ve grouped together simply based on the orange-ivity of their covers. There’s a wide range of genres here, from New Zealand fiction to romance to classic literature to adventure, but they’re all Orange! Which one are you most interested in?

Is underground / Aiken, Joan
“Bound to keep a promise to her dead uncle, Is travels to the mysterious north country to find two missing boys, one of them a prince, and to discover why so many children in London are disappearing.” (Catalogue)

Felix ever after / Callender, Kacen
“Felix Love has never been in love, painful irony that it is. He desperately wants to know why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. He is proud of his identity, but fears that he’s one marginalization too many– Black, queer, and transgender. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages, Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. He didn’t count on his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available as an eBook

Perfect on paper / Gonzales, S.
“Seventeen-year-old Darcy Phillips, a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates, is hired by the “hot” guy at school to help him get his ex back. When Darcy is caught in the act of collecting letters from locker 89– out of which she has been running her advice service– she is blackmailed into becoming his personal dating coach. If word gets out that Darcy is behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light. What could go wrong?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Juggling with mandarins / Jones, V. M.
“Thirteen-year-old Pip finds a talent he never dreamed he had, and is determined it will remain one area of his life his domineering dad can’t touch. Somehow, Pip must find the courage to confront his father and claim the right to live his life on his own terms.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

And mandarins are basically smaller superior oranges anyway.

To kill a mockingbird / Lee, Harper
“A young girl growing up in an Alabama town in the 1930s learns of injustice and violence when her father, a widowed lawyer, defends a black man falsely accused of rape.” (Catalogue)

Trash / Mulligan, Andy
“Three friends. Raphael, Gardo and Rat. Living on a heap of trash, a lifetime of sifting rubbish. One day they find something extraordinary – a deadly secret. From that moment they are hunted without mercy. With danger snatching at their heels, the boys are chased from the city’s dirty gutters to its wealthy avenues. But they can’t run for ever. They need a miracle.” (Catalogue)

Nice try, Jane Sinner / Oelke, Lianne
“Jane Sinner, a 17-year-old dropout, sets out to redefine herself through a series of schemes and stunts, including participating in a low-budget reality TV show at her local community college”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

First test / Pierce, Tamora
“Ten-year-old Keladry of Mindalen, daughter of nobles, serves as a page but must prove herself to the males around her if she is ever to fulfill her dream of becoming a knight.” (Catalogue)

A tyranny of petticoats : 15 stories of belles, bank robbers & other badass girls
“From pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago, take a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bridge of Clay / Zusak, Markus
“Upon their father’s return, the five Dunbar boys, who have raised themselves since their mother’s death, begin to learn family secrets, including that of fourth brother Clay, who will build a bridge for complex reasons, including his own redemption.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

And if you’ve made it this far, I hope that by now I’ve managed to remove or weaken the exclusive association of Orange with Covid. I’m sure that you’ll be simmering with rage over the officially-yellow traffic lights, off to bake a tasty snack, diving deep into an Orange read, or some other Orange-related activity!

Cool things to make during a study break

However much you want to, there is no denying the fact that somehow we are already in November and NCEA exams are approaching. Now, I’m sure that as regular and devoted Teen Blog readers you have already read through our excellent blog post of study hacks to get you prepared for the exam season. The tip from this post I want to bring your attention to is #4: Take breaks, where we’ve suggested that you use your breaks from study to get a rest away from screens or do an activity that you enjoy.

But what activity will be enjoyable enough to fill in that fifteen minute study break, give you a sense of satisfaction, and get your eyes away from those ever-dreaded screens?

Luckily for you, I am here to plug a favourite screen-free activity of my own, to give you some inspiration, and to encourage your creativity!

So let’s get into the wonderful world of yarn-based crafts!

There are many crafty options out there for you. From knitting, to crochet, to embroidery or cross-stitch, the possibilities abound! But those four crafts I named are the ones I’m going to be talking about. And I’ve even found you some fantastic examples of fun things to make, all made by librarians!

For more excellent examples and ideas, go have a re-read of our Sit ‘n’ Knit post, have a look at the wonderful creations featured there, and let yourself daydream about all the fun you can have once Sit ‘n’ Knit starts up…


Knitting

A hand puppet snake, mostly knitted with green wool but with some variegated orange and red stripes. A red forked tongue pokes out of the side of its mouth. It has big plastic green eyes.

Some snakes are scary. Some snakes are knitted and teach children maths.

Knitting is a classic. You get your needles, you get your yarn, and you can just sit there knitting and purling away to your heart’s content! If you’ve never knitted before the usual beginner project is a scarf – just go back and forth until it’s as long as you want it. Use some chunky yarn and big needles and just watch it grow!

Or if you’re a bit more confident, pull out a circular needle, have a go with double-pointed needles, try some cabling (not as tricky as it looks – trust me!), or venture into the world of colourwork. Hats are also cool. Though if they’re knitted, they’re probably warm.

If you are a beginner, don’t stress about dropping stitches or getting in a tangle. It’s practice and repetition that gets you there. And this is meant to be a stress reliever!

We’ve got plenty of books full of advice and patterns. You could attempt a Literary Knit, get ready with some Tiny Christmas Toys, create some even smaller Teeny-tiny Mochimochi, or go in another direction with some Vampire Knits! If you’re stuck at home and can’t get in to the library we also have many books of knitting patterns available through our eLibrary, and also several knitting-focused eMagazines!


Crochet

A green, grey, and yellow crocheted caterpillar sits next to a yellow crocheted octopus. The octopus has one tentacle through the handle of a white and blue crocheted teapot.

Just some crocheted friends sharing a pot of tea. Lovely.

Crocheting is done with one hook rather than two needles, so there’s not as many things to keep track of with your hands. And it’s usually faster than knitting too! Particularly with a big hook and chunky yarn…

But there are so many things you can crochet! Crochet a curious critter (as seen on the right), make a garden of flowers, or even the Twelve Birds of Christmas!

Hats are usually a good beginner project, and they can be embellished in very fun ways if you feel like it, or there’s the good old-fashioned granny square – great for blankets, using up yarn leftovers, and cushion covers!

Some of the books we have available for you to borrow include more Literary Yarns, amigurumi style foods or animals, you’ll  be sure to find something fun! We’ve got books of crochet patterns available through our eLibrary, and there’s also a few crochet eMagazines, and our eMagazines are always available.


Embroidery

A chaotic piece of embroidery. Black letters on a red background across the centre read "No Candimir, you can't have any wheat". There are mountains in the upper left corner, and yellow flowers on a dark green background in the lower left. Some beads and buttons are sewn in on the right side, and the whole photo area is covered in colourful stitches.

There’s a …lot going on here.

Personally, I like to go a bit wild with my embroidery, as seen in this accompanying image (bonus points if you know who Candimir is, and why you shouldn’t give him any wheat). If you’re into carefully cultivated chaos then it’s easier than you’d think to teach yourself a few different stitches, find something to sew with (it doesn’t have to be embroidery floss – yarn scraps are pretty good!), and just play! If you’d prefer a more precise project though, you can buy embroidery kits that come with all the bits and bobs you need, and even have a design printed onto the fabric you’ll be using.

You do need a few more things before you can start embroidering than the previous two crafts. Namely embroidery hoop, non-stretchy fabric, threads of some kind, and needles (Controversial take: Embroidery needles from Daiso are perfectly adequate. Fight me.).

In terms of library inspiration, we can provide you with some Edgy Embroidery, some Animal Embroidery, and some cool ways to Customise Your Clothes!

Check out these embroidery eMagazines too, for some inspiring ideas!


Cross Stitch

I mean, you’ve got to make sure all your books are in order.

This is where I confess that of all the crafts in this list, cross stitch is the one I haven’t tried. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Again, you’ll need an embroidery hoop, needles, something to sew with, and some of that cloth that has all the little holes in it to show you where to stitch (the internet reliably informs me that this is called “aida cloth”).

Like embroidery, you can buy kits that have a design for you to make and all the materials you need. Or if you snorted when seeing the picture to the right and would like to create something a little more exciting…

We have books! We’ve got Subversive Cross Stitch and Improper Cross Stitch and Really Cross Stitch. We have Literary Cross Stitch, Creepy Cross Stitch, and Cross Stitch with Attitude. There’s also a whole LOT of cross stitch eMagazines for your perusal!


The great thing (or so I think) about all these crafts is that they are activities that you can pick up for fifteen minutes or so and stitch away, then put down to come back to later. And that sense of accomplishment and “Oh, I made This” when you’re done is just so good!

So what are you waiting for? Get into it!

Youth Night Enters the Digital Realm

While our libraries are closed at Level 3 and Level 4, there are a whole bunch of things that just… stop happening. Thankfully, thanks to some of the quick-witted teens who attend our regular Youth Nights at Johnsonville Library, Youth Night isn’t one of them! They have devised a Discord server that will serve to capture some of the magic and whimsy of a typical Waitohi affair, with games, activities, chatting, music and quiet spaces aplenty, with no doubt a smattering of our old friends Mischief and Hijinks to boot. And you won’t even have to leave the comfort and safety of your own bedroom!

The full ~Youth Night 2: Electric Boogaloo~ server will be opened up this Saturday at 3.00pm (yes, going digital means you get to be at Youth Night for longer!) — if you are interested in joining us, please email the youth librarian with your name, age, and which school you go to to receive your invite link.

Lockdown Cryptid-Spotting: A Librarian’s Guide

One of the few big perks of lockdown is getting to see our native fauna thriving and making their way back into our gardens. In fact, this is a great time to keep an eye out for some of the less well-known creatures creeping around our country…. That’s right, I’m talking CRYPTIDS.

For the uninitiated, a cryptid is an animal or entity whose existence hasn’t been conclusively proven. Think Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster (although I saw Nessie when I was 6, and that seems like solid evidence). Everyone has a favourite (or they will after reading this), but most of the biggies are off overseas. So what kind of cryptids can we be keeping an eye out for here in the backyards of Aotearoa?

Waitoreke

Also known as the New Zealand otter or kaurehe, the waitoreke is arguably Aotearoa’s most legitimate cryptid because nobody actually knows what it is (or if it exists at all)! Described as a otter-like creature the size of a cat, sightings of the Waitoreke date back more than 200 years, and some sources suggest that this amphibious good boy was kept as a pet by early Māori. If you’re stuck somewhere in the South Island, keep an eye out around your local waterways for glimpses of Aotearoa’s cutest cryptid.

The Fiordland Moose

In 1910, the Southland Acclimatisation Society introduced a handful of moose into Fiordland. As it turns out, these moose were very good at hiding and were largely forgotten about. The last proven sighting of the elusive moose was in 1952 but evidence has continued to sporadically surface, such as an entire moose antler that was discovered in the early 70s. I’ll admit it’s been a little while since anything conclusive was found, but maybe lockdown will be enough to encourage the Fiordland moose to find their way back into our lives.

The Goatman

Those of you familiar with Buzzfeed Unsolved’s search for the mysterious Goatman may have jumped at the familiar name, but the Goatman which lurks on lonely roads around New Zealand is a local specialty. One of many goat-ish cryptids from around the globe, our Goatman frequently manifests as a blokey hitchhiker, and many of the recorded sightings describe him approaching cars to ask for a lift on dark nights. Despite an ominous (and apparently smelly) demeanor, being approached by the Goatman is a good omen, as he is said to warn travellers of impending accidents and guide them through dangerous stretches of road. The real GOAT.

Mothman

One of the most infamous and beloved cryptids, Mothman technically lives out in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, but what better time for a cryptid to use up those Airpoints than when everyone is cosying up inside their homes? Mothman was first spotted in the 1960’s, and has been cropping up in urban folklore ever since. Described as a 6-8 foot moth-ish humanoid with red eyes and an impressive wingspan, Mothman has reached the highest echelons of cryptid fame by having an annual festival held in his honour, and ‘mothmania’ has inspired a truly magnificent following (including a Mothman anthem set to the tune of YMCA). So, keep your eyes keen and your lamps ready…. 

Mothman IMG_2215“Mothman IMG_2215” by OZinOH is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

So make the most of our quiet streets by keeping an eye out for some of Aotearoa’s more unusual fauna. Even if you’re just spotting some of our beautiful native birds then it’d be worth it. And who knows?

Maybe that tui only looks like a tui when you’re watching……

For more information, check out the WCL trove to prepare for any future cryptozoological adventures.

Cryptid creatures : a field guide / Halls, Kelly Milner
“Cryptozoology is the study of mysterious creatures that fall between the realm of real and imaginary on the scientific spectrum. Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide offers a closer look at fifty of these amazing creatures, examining the best possible evidence for each, including scientific papers, magazine and newspaper articles, and credible eyewitness accounts. The fifty cryptids are arranged in order alphabetically, and in addition to speculative illustrations, include details like when they were first reported, whether they are terrestrial, aerial, or aquatic, and each have a reality rating of 1 to 6, in which 1 means that the cryptid has been confirmed as a hoax, and 6 means the cryptid has been proven as real. This page-turning guide will inspire curious readers to investigate more on their own, and maybe even help to prove if a cryptid is a hoax or is real.” (Catalogue)

Abominable science! : origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and other famous cryptids / Loxton, Daniel
“Loxton and Prothero complete an entertaining, educational, and definitive text on demonstrably false phenomena, presenting both the arguments for and against their existence and systematically challenging the pseudoscience perpetuating their myths.” (Catalogue)

Monsters : a bestiary of the bizarre / Dell, Christopher
“From myth to manga, an artistic visual history of the human mind through an imaginative collection of fantastical monsters from around the world.” (Catalogue)

Monstrous : the lore, gore, and science behind your favorite monsters / Beccia, Carlyn
“Carlyn Beccia presents werewolves, vampires, zombies and more as you’ve never seen them. Discover the origins of eight scream-worthy monsters, find out how major historical events shaped their creation, and delve into the science behind these fearful beasts. Engrossing (and gross!) timelines, maps, and infographics offer essential information — including the zombie virus life cycle and how to survive Godzilla’s nuclear breath.” (Catalogue)

We heard you like books…

… so we’ve scheduled in a teens-only Open Hour for the Central Library collection at Te Pātaka, our collection and distribution centre in Johnsonville, during the school holidays. Come along on Thursday 22 July at 3.00pm to get lost in the stacks and bring back as many books as you can carry.

You can see the main post about the Te Pātaka open days here, but we thought you, our redoubtable readers, would appreciate the opportunity to occupy the building without those pesky adults (and children) getting in your way. Just make sure to register by clicking here and entering your deets.

You are, of course, very welcome to come along to any of the other sessions on offer as well, but certain parts of the collection will only be on offer at certain times due to the configuration of the warehouse’s rolling shelves. Check out all the times and dates on offer here.

Just look at these absolute angels. Come and hang out with them among the stacks!

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)

Introduction to Warhammer

During the school holidays, we have all kinds of cool stuff going on under the banner of General NerderyNow, we would hardly be doing that title service if we ignored the kingpin of all things nerdy and wonderful: Warhammer 40K.

Ain't no party like a Warhammer party.

Warhammer is a miniature wargame set in the fantastical realms of a far future society in which human civilisation has stagnated and is beset on all sides by aliens, supernatural creatures, arcane powers, and Lovecraftian horrors. Since its inception in 1987, it has become the most popular miniature wargame in the world.

The excellent folk at Te Awe Library on Brandon Street are staging an Introduction to Warhammer event on Sunday May 2, 2-4pm, so you can learn all about the game, the hobby, the world and its characters, and receive a free figure to paint and take home, either to add to your army or start a new one. We are generously supported by the kind and dedicated bunch at Warhammer Wellington — your source for all your (other)worldly needs.

To register for this event or to find out more, email the team at Te Awe Library, or message us on Facebook or Instagram. To find out what else we have going on for the school holidays, visit our calendar or check out our blog.

The Mad Mage of Merton: A D&D One-Shot for the Holidays

During the upcoming school holidays, on Sunday the 2nd of May, we are incredibly lucky to have the talented, creative and yes, magical, Dungeon Master and podcaster extraordinaire Julz Burgisser join us to run a D&D one-shot for you folks out there who are new to the game. Julz will be running a campaign of her own making, The Mad Mage of Merton, set in the homebrewed World of Isen created by Brad Zimmerman. Find out more about this mage, Julz herself, and our event, below.

Maybe you can play D&D, Will Byers! And if you do it at Johnsonville Library, you won't even be sucked into the Upside Down!

The Mad Mage of Merton

The Mad Mage of Merton’s Terrifying Tower is a well known landmark on the outskirts of the city of Merton, separated from the town by a small forest. Rising into the sky upon the cliff face, it seems impossibly tall and now it seems like the Mad Mage has pierced the heavens themselves. Thunderstorms surround the tower and Merton has been hit with a wave of static electricity that holds the town at a standstill of frizzy hair and an inability to touch anything metal without getting zapped and flying across the room. They’ve called for help to the best and most famous mystery solving adventurers they know, the Wistal Whistles! (*ps. That’s you!) Can you stop the Mad Mage’s latest experiment before he blows up the whole town? You’ll have to play to find out!

Set in the homebrewed World of Isen, created by Brad Zimmerman. Session DM’d by Julz Burgisser who plays Marley Kraff in the D&D 5e actual play podcast ‘Fate of Isen’ available for download on iTunes, Spotify and all good podcasting apps. See www.fateofisen.com for more details on Isen.

The Mad Mage of Merton is a homebrewed one shot basic monster encounter adventure created by Julz, based in The World of Isen created by Brad Zimmerman. The one shot is played over 3 hours, with pre-generated level 4 characters.

What you need to know:

  • This one-shot is for teens aged 14-18 who have not played D&D before. We hope you get hooked!
  • The game is set at Level 4, as the game has been designed to teach about all the different types of problems you may come across in a typical D&D dungeon.
  • You do not need to bring anything along to play. Character sheets, pens and dice will be supplied for the length of the game. However you are welcome to bring your own dice, rollers or trays if you have them.
  • We’ll be playing for a while! So make sure you think about maybe bringing a drink or a snack for your comfort.
  • We keep our players’ safety in mind at all times and run a respectful table with safety tools to keep it that way.
  • Spots at this event are strictly limited. Please email johnsonville.library@wcc.govt.nz to register.

This Dungeons and Dragons One-Shot with Julz Burgisser is part of General Nerdery, our April school holiday programme for kids and teens. Click here to check out the full schedule of events!

Join us for the mayhem and magic of the Mad Mage of Merton!

These School Holidays, General Nerdery Awaits

So the April school holidays are only a couple of weeks away. We thought we would cordially invite you to join us in revelling in our collective General Nerdery throughout the holidays.

This .gif will never not give us life. Amen.

Everyone has something that they get nerdy about. For some it’s board games and tabletop RPGs (here’s lookin’ at you, D&D kids), for some it’s comics or movies (or movies about comics), for yet others the thrill of creation and expression will be what gets their Spidey-senses a-tingling. The good news is, we have a pile of events to suit you, whether you’re a digital nerd or more of a hands-on type. Dear reader, this is your chance to let out your inner geek and let them strut around with the rest of us! Read on to find out more, or click here for the full breakdown of what’s on where.

Tara Black x Dylan Horrocks: Talk and Draw!

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

We’ve already blogged extensively about this event — click here for the full and juicy deets!

  • Johnsonville Library, Saturday 17 April, 1.00-2.00pm

Arapaki Games Night

Join us at Arapaki Library on Manners Street for a night of boardgame fun! People of all age groups are welcome, and you can come along as an individual or as a group. We have a great selection of games, but you are welcome to bring your own favourites to share with others as well. BYO snacks!

  • Arapaki Library, Monday 19 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm

Embroider Your Own Patch

Join us at Johnsonville Library during the school holidays to learn how to embroider your own patch that you can sew onto your clothes, schoolbag, or jacket! Wear your nerdy finery with pride and chill with like-minded folx in the library while picking up a rad new skill and levelling up your DEX stat at the same time! We’ll provide the materials; all you need to do is turn up!

  • Johnsonville Library, Tuesday 20 April, 2.00 – 5.00pm
  • Johnsonville Library, Tuesday 27 April, 2.00 – 5.00pm

Experience VR!

Virtual reality (VR) offers us a new and exciting way to learn about and experience the world around us. From 3D painting and virtual sculpting to exploring some of the world’ most extreme location (and, okay, maybe a bit of Beat Sabre thrown in for good measure), this is your opportunity to experience VR from the safety and comfort of your local library.

  • Karori Library, Tuesday 20 April, 3.30 – 4.30pm
  • Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library, Thursday 29 April, 3.30 – 4.30pm

Zine Make ‘n’ Swap

Come on down to Arapaki Library on Manners Street every Tuesday evening to spend some time making zines and socialising with other local zinemakers. We’ll supply plenty of materials, but feel free to bring your own as well. Once you’ve finished putting your zines together, you can swap with other zinemakers and/or donate your completed zines to the library, which people will then be able to browse and borrow!

  • Arapaki Library, Tuesday 20 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm
  • Arapaki Library, Tuesday 27 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm

Chess!

If you enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit, come along to Arapaki Library on Manners Street and join us for some games of chess! We have two chess sets available, or you are welcome to bring your own, for an evening of challenging games. People of all age groups and ability levels are super welcome.

  • Arapaki Library, Wednesday 21 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm
  • Arapaki Library, Wednesday 28 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm

Fort Night

Okay, we baited you, it’s not what you think it is. Come along to Tawa Library to literally turn the teen section into a giant box fort. That’s it. That’s the event. You’ll love it, we promise! Maybe you’ll even love it so much that you want to do it twice!

  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library, Thursday 22 April, 4.00 – 6.00pm
  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library, Thursday 29 April, 4.00 – 6.00pm

Teen Zine Machine

Wellington Zinefest’s Lucky Drop Zine Machine has its temporary home with us at Johnsonville Library. Join us for this special zine-making workshop to learn how you can write and construct your own zines, either to take home or to add to our library’s collection! Your work will be proudly displayed alongside other works of ziney genius such as ButtsJudith Collins on Race, and Butts. Did we mention we have a zine called Butts? We’re not exactly setting the bar high here!

  • Johnsonville Library, Friday 23 April, 2.00 – 3.30pm
  • Johnsonville Library, Friday 30 April, 2.00 – 3.30pm

Nature Heroes: Board Game Creation Workshop

Johnsonville Library is excited to work with VIVITA Aotearoa to bring this VIVISTOP Mini pop-up programme to the library. During this 5-day workshop, you will learn about the concepts of design thinking, engage in creative problem solving, learn to use software and hardware and other tools in the library’s Tūhura HIVE Makerspace, and then apply these lessons to the creation of a board game centred around the theme of conservation.

This workshop is FREE, but space is limited to 15 participants. Click here to register. Nature Heroes: Board Game Creation Workshop is suitable for young creators aged 9-15.

  • Johnsonville Library, Tuesday 27 April to Saturday 1 May (inclusive), 10.00am – 12.00pm

Waitohi Youth Night

Come to our after-hours Youth Night to find a space to be yourself in all your nerdy glory, and meet other like-minded teens. Check out the coll tech in Tūhura | The HIVE, record music, play games, watch movies, read a book, or just hang out — our space is yours! And yes, we will feed you pizza.

During Youth Night, the library is closed to other customers. You need to be over 14, so make sure you come ready to show your school ID at the door.

  • Johnsonville Library, Saturday 1 May, 5.00 – 8.00pm

Dungeons and Dragons One-Shot with Julz Burgisser

Join superstar Dungeon Master and podcaster Julz Burgisser for this Dungeons and Dragons one-shot for teens. Pre-generated characters will be available to choose from, so we get into the game as quickly as possible, and no prior D&D experience is required. Character sheets, pens, and dice will all be provided — but make sure you bring a drink or snack, as we’ll be playing for a while!

This event is for teens aged 14-18 who are wanting to try D&D for the first time. Please register your interest by emailing johnsonville.library@wcc.govt.nz as spaces are strictly limited.

Find out more about Julz, and this one-shot, here!

  • Johnsonville Library, Sunday 2 May, 12.00 – 3.00pm

Free Photography Workshops Coming to a Library Near You

Welp, 2020 is finally over. New year, new me, fresh slate, blank page, all that. We thought we’d celebrate the beginning of a brand new year by inviting you along to Click Happy Live, a series of free photography workshops in our libraries, run by master photographer Mandi Lynn, winner of NZ Creative Photographer of the Year 2017. Here’re all the deets you need to know:

Where and when?

Te Awe Library, Tuesday 19 January 2021, 6 – 8pm
Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library, Saturday 30 January 2021, 10am – 3pm
Johnsonville Library, Sunday 11 April 2021, 10am – 3pm

What even is it?

Free photography workshops for young creatives aged 10-22 with an award-winning photographer! These workshops are especially for those who believe that photography and the creative arts can be used as a tool to make themselves — and the world — better. You’ll learn practical photography skills while taking part in creative challenges that will help you to build your personal style as a photographer or as a creative activist. You’ll also get a chance to win a scholarship to participate in a one-term masterclass and one term of professional mentorship with master photographer Mandi Lynn.

So how do I do the thing?

What are you waiting for? To find out more, and to register to take part, just click right on here. We can’t wait to see you there!

Photo of a smiling young man holding a DSLR camera

You could be as cool and chill as — if not cooler and chiller than — this guy! Photo courtesy of clickhappy.org.

Newly 18? Not 18 yet but want to know more about the election?

Hello to the newly 18-year-olds (and anyone else) who wants to know a bit more about the upcoming election…

2020 is an ELECTION year for Aotearoa/New Zealand! The election is on SATURDAY THE 17th OF OCTOBER.

Voting in the election is one of the main ways that you as a person who lives in Aotearoa/NZ get to have your say about what happens in your country. Everyone has different priorities, backgrounds, beliefs and opinions which inform how they vote in the election.

This year as well as voting in the General Election you get the chance to have your say on two REFERENDUMS, the Cannabis Legalisation and Control referendum and the End of Life Choice referendum. You get to have your say on these at the same time as you cast your vote in the General Election.

It can be really exciting voting in your first election but it can also be kind of daunting. The best thing you can do for yourself, so that you know that you’re making a vote that aligns with the things that are important to you, and for the wider community by making an informed vote, is to get some information about the POLICY each of the political parties is putting forward. A good place to start can be going to each of the parties official websites and reading through their policy section, this is a good way to gauge what each party stands for and what ideas they each have about Aotearoa/NZ’s future.

Make sure you also put some time and thought into learning more about the referendums and reading through them. There are some great resources that outline what these referendums mean in straight forward terms and answer some common questions about them.

Make sure you’re ENROLLED TO VOTE, KNOW WHAT YOUR ELECTORATE IS (what region of the country you are voting in),  KNOW WHERE YOUR LOCAL VOTING PLACE IS and have done some solid information-seeking so you’re ready to cast your vote on the day!

For bonus credit, if you’re 17, you can actually fill out an enrolment form now, and then the moment you turn 18, you’ll automatically be added to the electoral roll. Find out how here!

Vote.nz or Elections.nz are key places to get information

https://vote.nz/

https://elections.nz/

Information on Both Referendums

https://www.referendums.govt.nz/

Out On The Shelves: Rainbow Stories at Your Library

It is now officially the 2020 Out On The Shelves campaign week! All around the country, libraries, bookstores, schools and other organisations are putting on displays and events to celebrate LGBTQIA+ stories, and to help connect rainbow people to those stories and to each other.

Rejoice, for this year Campaign Week is not one week, but two, from 17 — 30 August. And there’s all kinds of things you can do! You can participate in the Rainbow Writing Competition — your writing could be featured in the Rainbow Zine, and you could be in to win some sweet book voucher prizes, courtesy of the Women’s Book Shop! You could head into one of our libraries, enjoy one of our Out On The Shelves displays, and pick yourself up some excellent reading material from our collection. If you’re more e-inclined, or not super keen on leaving the house, you could visit our LGBTQIA+ Reading Room on OverDrive, or learn about your rainbow history in the Archives of Sexuality and Gender, which WCL was the first public library in the world to provide full access to. Once you’ve done all that, don’t forget to tell us what you think of what you’ve read by writing a review and submitting it to the good folks at Out On The Shelves.

Keep an eye out for more Out On The Shelves content hitting this blog and your local library. Soon we’ll be posting some gorgeous photos of our libraries getting dressed up all fancy and colourful to celebrate Out On The Shelves along with you — sometimes our shelves can be quite bashful; not so during Campaign Week! For now, though, here are some of our favourite rainbow titles from our collections to whet your appetite:

Sometimes we tell the truth : a novel / Zarins, Kim
{reps: intersex}
{content warnings: sexual assault, ptsd}

Look, we’re suckers for contemporary re-imaginings of classic literature. Some might say it’s the reason we got into this business. So this re-telling of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is as fun as it is compelling and moving. It’s the kind of book that gets you to think about the stories we tell, not just to others, but even to ourselves, and the ways in which those stories themselves can sometimes assume the structure of a fiction. At the moment, we only hold this book in our vast Central collection at the Te Pātaka Collection Distribution Warehouse, so reserve it now to get sent to the branch of your choosing!

Every day / Levithan, David
{reps: non-binary}
{content warnings: violence, substance abuse, dysmorphia}

Surely every queer person remembers what it was like the first time they read a David Levithan novel. His works (including Two Boys Kissing, Boy Meets Boy, Will Grayson, Will Grayson) are now so central to the LGBTQIA+ canon that it’s hard to imagine the landscape of contemporary fiction without him. Every Day is one of his most interesting stories. You’ll meet A, a mysterious being that each day inhabits a new body, a new life. Every day they need to become accustomed to a new way of living, a new set of relationships, learning and re-learning over and over again how to be. A’s conception of their own gender identity, sexuality, and indeed personhood is mutable, changeable, flexible as it needs to be. Strong though they are, it is truly their inner voice that is most compelling and relatable as they play through all of the narratives of confusion, defiance, frustration, love, dysmorphia, terror, and acceptance that will be so familiar to so many in our rainbow community. Trust us, and give this a read — you won’t regret it.

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe / Sáenz, Benjamin Alire
{reps: gay}
{content warnings: discrimination, violence}

We know, we know, this isn’t the first time we’ve highlighted this gem of a novel on this very platform. We’re sorry, but we can’t help but trumpet the importance of this book every time we have the opportunity! Sáenz’s extremely spare, almost poetic, prose sets out in pointillistic detail the agony and anticipation of leaving childhood behind and moving on to somewhere new. At times surreal, but always searing straight through to the heart (yours, mine, the characters’), this story picks you up and never lets you go until what we would class as one of the most perfect endings to a YA novel in recent memory. Even then, it doesn’t truly let you go. Ever. He has a way of setting out the most expansive ideas in the most devastatingly simple of words. Read a segment below to get a sense of what we mean:

There was a tear running down his cheek. It seemed like a river in the light of the setting sun.

I wondered what it was like, to be the kind of guy that cried over the death of a bird.

I waved bye. He waved bye back.

As I walked home, I thought about birds and the meaning of their existence. Dante had an answer. I didn’t. I didn’t have any idea as to why birds existed. I’d never even asked myself the question.

Dante’s answer made sense to me. If we studied birds, maybe we could learn to be free. I think that’s what he was saying. I had a philosopher’s name. What was my answer? Why didn’t I have an answer?

And why was it that some guys had tears in them and some had no tears at all? Different boys lived by different rules.

When I got home, I sat on my front porch.

I watched the sun set.

— Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Simon and Schuster (2012).

All out: the no-longer-secret stories of queer teens throughout the ages / Mitchell, Saundra (ed.)
{reps: lesbian, trans*, asexual, gay}
content warnings: violence, discrimination}

This gorgeous collection of historical short stories is like the perfect fiction companion to Sarah Prager’s biography collection Queer, there, and everywhere: 23 people who changed the world. Oftentimes historical fiction containing LGBTQIA+ representations focusses on the difficulties of life for queer people ‘back in the day,’ or worse, just contains tokenistic references to queer people. This collection is not that. The stories, while they are mostly* accurate portrayals of their respective eras, feel more authentic, the depictions of the characters and their surroundings crystallised through the patented queer lens. The characters are without exception deftly sketched, their circumstances relatable, their relationships real, and their experiences — adventures, first loves, heartbreaks, self-discoveries — speak to a broad universality in queer experience while acknowledging the singularity of each individual’s lived reality. The stories collectively stand and say “Hey, we were here too! We were real, and we lived and loved and ate and cried and went to work and participated in history, just as everyone else did!” And that, friends, is exactly what good fiction should do.

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!

Camp NaNoWriMo April Challenge 2020 is Done and Dusted!

So, Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020 is officially over. We’re super thrilled that so many of you took part in one way or another, whether you joined our classroom forums, contributed to the conversation, hung out over on our Discord, chatted with Elizabeth Knox, or took part in the Camp NaNo Challenge itself. Around 30 novels were started, and many of them were finished — together, we wrote well over 100,000 words. A lot of us learned something about writing and life along the way. Be proud. However you participated, you reached out in this time of isolation and helped create something really special.

If you don’t want it to end, or worse, weren’t able to take part in the first place, all is not lost. Our NaNoWriMo Young Writers’ Programme classroom will probably be fairly quiet until the next challenge comes along, but the Discord is still just as busy as ever, with author talks, writing games, stuff to learn, people to meet, and of course, the highest quality banter this side of the equator. If you want to join, just get in touch on Facebook or by email. We’d love to have you. Also, keep your eye on the Event Calendar so you don’t miss any upcoming events!

Music and Other Distractions

School’s back today, which I’m sure everyone’s very excited about. Sometimes the best thing to do after a hard day’s distance learning is to chill out with some music. I know that’s what I like to do after another day churning out content for the library’s blogs. My irrational love of Alanis Morissette is already well-attested in this very publication.

Well, we got music for you. But first, it’s time to sing for your life. The New Zealand Choral Federation (the very same peeps who bring us The Big Sing every year) is running The Virtual Sing — an awesome project where rad people like your fine selves get to be part of a whole virtual performance of A Te Tarakihi by Alfred Hill, arranged by Wellington’s own Brent Stewart. Want an idea of what it will be like? Check out Eric Whitacre’s epic virtual choir of nearly 4,000 voices singing his Water Night below. YOU COULD BE AS COOL AS THAT TOO. Check the link for the deets.

If that ain’t your jam, there’s still plenty of free musical goodness the library can provide. First up are the awesome Naxos Music Libraries. If you’re classically inclined (I know you’re out there, dear classical readers!), the Music Library and Video Library provide access to, oh, hundreds of thousands of free performances of classical music from around the world, including live concerts, ballets, operas, studio recordings and more. The Jazz Library is the same, but it’s jazz, folks! Miles Davis, saxophones, weird chords, the lick — what’s not to love?

Before we leave the database side of things, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Lynda.com. Plug in your library card number, and you’ll be set for life with guided tutorials on everything from music production to home studio setups, how to get creatively inspired, how to read and write music, and so much more. And it’s all totally free.

Finally, if you want to keep up with the latest happenings in the Wellington music scene, our friends over at the Wellington Music blog have you covered. New releases, exclusive interviews, sneak previews and more — it’s all going on there. We’re also hosting live music performances (#quarantunes) every night over on the Johnsonville Library Facebook page. Join in on the fun if you just want to chill out to some zen realness every night, but also get in touch if you want to be involved! We’re always keen to showcase local talent.

Alright, that’s it for now, folks. Until next time, stay cool.