Friday, 30 January 2009

Judges announced for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2009

A senior academic will lead the judging panel in the country’s most prestigious book awards this year. Mark Williams, author and professor of English at Victoria University will judge the 2009 Montana New Zealand Book Awards together with award-winning writer, reviewer and editor, Jane Westaway and literary critic, journalist and editor, Margo White.

This year’s judging panel say the field is rich with established and new writers and there is an especially large number of beautifully produced books to consider.

‘We are looking for excellence across the whole range of New Zealand books dealing with subjects as various as art, cooking, war, gardening, and gay lifestyles. With around 215 books to read and 15 separate prizes to award, we have full reading schedules. We are advised by experts in each of the eight main categories: fiction, poetry, history, biography, reference and anthology, lifestyle and contemporary culture, illustrative, and environment…The judges’ responsibilities are collective and we shall all read and, together with our advisors, debate our judgments across the whole range of books submitted,’ says convenor, Mark Williams.

In selecting finalists and winners, judges take into account each book’s enduring literary merit and overall authorship; quality of illustration and graphic presentation; production values, general design and the standard of editing and the impact of the book on the community, with emphasis on issues such as quality, topicality, public interest, entertainment, cultural and educational values and life span of the book.

For more information about the judges and advisors.

2009 Newberry & Caldecott Medal Winners

The winners of these Awards, made annual by the American Library Association, for 2009 are:

Newbery Medal Winner - For best writing in a children's book
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

Newbery Honor Books
The Underneath – Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Small
The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom – Margarita Engle
Savvy – Ingrid Law
After Tupac and D Foster – Jacqueline Woodson

Caldecott Medal Winner - For best illustration in a children's book
The House in the Night – illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson

Caldecott Honor Books
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever – Marla Frazee
How I Learned Geography – Uri Shulevitz
A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams – illustrated by Melissa Sweet and written by Jen Bryant

For further information, go to the American Library Association website.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

PLEASE PLEASE

Please. This is a plea on behalf of all those many people on the waiting list for any of the "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer.

Although we have bought more supplies of the books, we still have an incredible demand and the waiting list continues to grow (Yes - it is BIGGER than Harry Potter).

So if your patience has run out and you have actually gone out to buy the book or books, can you please let us know to cancel your request. At the moment we have books sitting on our shelves waiting to be collected, only to discover that they are no longer needed because you have become an owner (or have borrowed a copy from someone else to read).

Thank you (again on behalf of, among others, the 1800 people around Auckland who were on the waiting list for book 3 yesterday)

Summer Reading Programme Finales

The Rodney Libraries Summer Reading programme Finales are being celebrated as we speak. Yesterday the children who had participated and completed in Wellsford, Mahurangi East, Warkworth and Whangaparaoa were awarded their certificates and rewarded with the Finale Party.
Local author and storyteller Stu Duval entertained the crowds of old and young with his mix of art and creative tales. One lucky child at each library got to take away a piece of his artwork.
Today is the turn of Orewa, Kumeu and Helensville libraries. Congratulations and well done to all who took part in the Programme. If you couldn't make the party to pick up your Certificate check with the library where you registered for the programme. Thank you to those organisations which supported the programme.

Rock Camp Rodney'09: Recruits Wanted to Rock Rodney

Talented young musicians from across Rodney are being given the opportunity to audition for an exciting training camp which will develop their skills.


‘Rock Camp Rodney’ is an innovative five day musical training programme which will offer places to between 50 and 80 young people living in Rodney. The programme is open to participants between 8 and 18 years old and applicants have until the 13 February to audition for the camp.
The Camp will be run by Nick Roberts and Mike Trent of Helensville based REAL MUSIC, who have successfully run other training projects such as "Groove Factory" (for 5 - 13 year olds) and "Band Factory" (for 11-16 year olds) for the previous 2 years. Mike and Nick also ran the very successful "Rodney Live '08.”


“Rodney Live demonstrated that there is a huge depth of young talent here in Rodney, and this has been confirmed by the fact that a number of the performers from Rodney Live have gone on to be part of Christmas in the Park,” says Mike Trent. “Through Rock Camp Rodney we want to tap into that local talent and offer participants a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop their skills by working with top professionals in the New Zealand music industry.”


The camp will offer musicians the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills, such as presentation skills and how to analyse performances. Training will be carried out by tutors at the MAINZ studios (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand) and the participants will be placed in bands with other students at the camp, as well as meet New Zealand music legends. The camp will culminate with the musicians demonstrating their skills through a series of live shows at various locations throughout Rodney on the 24th and 25th April 2009.


The project is being supported by Rodney District Council and funded through the Auckland Regional Services fund. The funding has been held in trust by Rodney District Council since the Auckland Regional Services Trust was disbanded in 1998. Under the Local Government Act the fund can only to be used for significant art or cultural projects in Rodney.


“Rodney District Council is pleased to be able to support Rock Camp Rodney as it will provide a fantastic opportunity for our young people to develop their musical skills and help them in achieving their potential,” says Paul Green, Council’s Community Development Manager. “We are particularly pleased that the project can be supported without affecting rates as it is funded from the Auckland Regional Services fund,” he adds.


Rock Camp Rodney is also supported by Times FM with regular air time being given, and opportunities for Rodney’s young musicians to feature on-air.


Auditions should be submitted in the form of a video tape or DVD to:

Rock Camp Rodney

PO Box 119 Helensville

by 3.30pm, 13th February. The submitters name, address and age should be clearly identified.

For further information please contact:

Kiri Trent, REAL MUSIC,Ph: 021 119 1643Email: rockcamp09@gmail.com



Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Author John Updike dies

Celebrated American author John Updike has passed away from lung cancer at the age of 76.
He has been described as "a leading writer of his generation who chronicled the emotional drama of American small-town life with searing wit and vivid prose"

Some of his books featured the life of the fictional Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom. Two of these won Pulitzer Prizes, Rabbit is Rich, published in 1981, and Rabbit at Rest a decade later.

The full Reuters article can be viewed on this Stuff.co.nz link

Rodney Libraries hold a selection of his books which you can browse and request by viewing this catalogue link

Development Contributions Public Workshops

Rodney District Council is working towards introducing a development contributions policy as part of the Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) 2009-19. The purpose of these workshops is to provide you with more detail of the Council’s proposal and to gain feedback around any major concerns and to answer your questions.

The details of these workshops are as follows:
- Warkworth Masonic Hall, Thursday 29th January 2009 5pm to 7pm
- Helensville Service Centre, Monday 2nd February 2009 5pm to 7pm
- Orewa Office - Council Chambers, Tuesday 3rd February 2009 5pm to 7pm

You could learn something new every day

Enrolments for Community Education classes are open. There are heaps of courses on offer from arts and crafts, boating and navigation, business, computing, cooking, exercise, languages, welding and more.

There are several Community Education providers in and around Rodney...
Community Education West Auckland
Hungry Creek Art and Craft School
Orewa Community Education
Mahurangi East College (also adminstering the Wellsford classes for Rodney College Adult Community Education.)
NorthTec
Wellsford/Warkworth Womens' Resource Centre

Pick up brochures from your local library.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Draft Plan sets out Vision for Wellsford

Rodney District Council is seeking public feedback on how Wellsford Town Centre should develop in the future. A draft Wellsford Town Centre Development Plan has been developed and will be available for public consultation from 20 January – 27 February 2008.
The draft Plan identifies that Wellsford, which is located at the junction of State Highways 1 and 16, is dominated by the State Highways, and there is a need to enhance the appearance of the town to capitalise on its location and create a more attractive environment for residents, visitors and businesses. The Plan identifies improvements to streets, public spaces and walking routes within Wellsford that could be made. It suggests landscape improvements to the key approaches to the town and key internal roads.
The current library is expected to be too small to be able to service Wellsford over the longer term and the Plan identifies a number of possible future locations for the library.
Council staff met with a reference group comprising of local businesses, developers and community groups to discuss issues needing to be addressed in the Plan. The group identified traffic congestion on Rodney Street as a key concern. The Plan puts forward a number of options for reducing traffic on this key road.
“We want to encourage people to take the opportunity to review the draft Plan and then tell us how they would like Wellsford to look in ten or twenty year’s time,” says Jason Evans, the Council’s Senior Policy Planner. “However it’s important to understand that the document is a draft for consultation only at this stage, and that the Council has yet to consider whether funding should be allocated towards the projects set out in the Plan,” he adds.


Copies of the draft Plan and submission forms are available from the Wellsford library and from the Council website
.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Northern Gateway: no toll payable this Anniversary weekend

Motorists using the new Northern Gateway Toll Road this holiday weekend will be exempt from toll payments, following the road's opening this Sunday morning.
In making the announcement, Transport Minister Steven Joyce said it was a great opportunity for travellers to have their first use of the road at zero cost on Sunday and Monday.
"It will also minimise any chance of disruption resulting from people not familiar with the system or how the tolling works."
The road, which provides a more direct route between Northland and Auckland, will be New Zealand's first fully electronic toll road.
Mr Joyce says the road will bring a range of significant benefits - both to the communities concerned and the country as a whole.
"Although the road ends at Puhoi at the moment - as we signalled prior to the election, the Government is committed to advancing plans for further extensions of the four-laning of State Highway One as far north as Wellsford.
"The further extension will go a long way to remedying what has been a very troublesome stretch of highway - easing congestion and enhancing safety.
"The economic benefits to Northland and Rodney will be significant as access is made easier. Reduced travel times will make these regions even more attractive for tourism and businesses looking beyond Auckland for growth opportunities.
"I wish all road users safe driving this Auckland anniversary weekend," says Mr Joyce.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Auckland Folk Festival

The Auckland Folk Festival is an annual festival of music, song and dance for the whole family. It takes place this weekend at the Kumeu Showground. The festival is organised by members of Devonport Folk Music Club, Titirangi Folk Music Club, Auckland Bluegrass & Traditional Old Time Country Music Club, Tir Na Nog, and City of Auckland Morris Dancers.

The festival features concerts and workshops by both national and international artists and an action-packed programme of music, song and dance will keep you happy and entertained for the whole weekend, whatever your musical tastes may be. The emphasis is on participation and everyone is encouraged to get involved in the life of the festival via the numerous singalongs, workshops, dances and informal sessions. Children are not forgotten either, with their own special events included in the programme.

Buy your tickets at the gate.

Two awards are presented during the festival.
The Frank Winter Memorial Award is presented to a talented young performer, chosen by the festival committee, to help them achieve their musical goals and/or further their musical education.
The Tui Award for the Best Folk Album of the Year.

Northern Gateway Toll Road opens this weekend!

The Northern Gateway Toll Road opens on Sunday. If you've driven any further North than Orewa over the past couple of years then you would have seen construction of the road at various points along State Highway One. It's been quite exciting to see parts of the new road emerge from the hills. It seems to have gone very smoothly so congratulations to the Alliance participants and the crews who have worked on the road for the last four years.

There have been a few events along the way as well. I'm not sure if those types of things have been done anywhere else but it's an excellent way to involve the community. There were open days and the magnificent "Night at the end of the tunnel". All in all over $100,000 was raised to be distributed to Rodney youth charities and the Hibiscus Coast Hospice. Thanks to the Warkworth, Whangaparaoa and Kumeu Rotary clubs plus the many other volunteers who helped out with all the events.

When I walked the road on their open day in December I was struck by how magical it was when the road arched over viaducts. You'd look out and see the tree tops gently waving in the breeze. Sustainability and care for the environment were built into the project. That shows in the way the road lies in the landscape as well as the views over the water at Waiwera.

Now to the essential information - how much does it cost to drive the toll road and how do you pay?

The one-way fee costs $2 per car or light commercial vehicle, and $4 per truck. Motorcycles are free.

You can pay before using the road or pay within three days of using it.
Online: You can set up an online account with a balance to pay your tolls automatically. The online account set up is easy - just fill in the blue blanks. You'll need a credit card to set up your account.
Freephone: You can call 0800 40 20 20 to pay by credit card.
Cash: You can pay in cash at a payment point before using the toll road. Going North use the BP Connect at Dairy Flat. Driving South there's a stop at Titford's Bridge, off State Highway One about 1km before the Waiwera exit.

If you don't pay within three days a notice will be sent out and an additional admin fee will be charged.

The road will open after midnight on Saturday but there's no word on the official time. Not that it matters because it's sure to make a big difference to the travelling time on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Auckland Anniversary Weekend

This weekend is Auckland Anniversay Weekend. The libraries will be open on Saturday 24 January then closed on Sunday 25 and Monday 26 January.

There's a lot going on this weekend so be careful on the roads.

HBC Outdoor Cinema
Fri 23 Jan 2009 Venue: Orewa
Make the most of the fantastic weather a great Kiwi summer has to offer by taking a trip to the Hibiscus Coast Youth Centre outdoor cinema screen. All movies begin at 8pm and run for approximately two and a half hours. This Friday's movie is
13 going on 30, PG Romantic Comedy.

Waitemata A & P show
Sun 25 Jan 2009
Venue: Orewa, Western Reserve Orewa
Fund Raising Event to promote & assist in the awareness of the Agricultural Movement.
Lots of fun; entertainment & animals. Look forward to seeing you all there!!


Whangateau Country Fair & Fundraiser
Sun 25 Jan 2009 - Sun 25 Jan 2009
Venue: Whangateau Reserve
At the Whangateau Reserve next to the hall there will be a Bouncy Castle, Devonshire Teas, Sausage Sizzle, Cake Stall, Book Stall. All the fun of a Country Fair!
Starts 8 am until 2pm.



The following events are on in Auckland.

Fire and Light Show (Friday, 23 January)
A fire and light spectacle that will light up the skies above the city. There will also be a great line up of classical and modern artists performing on stage. At the Viaduct.


The Auckland Seafood Festival (Saturday, 24 to Monday, 26 January)
From noon to 9pm, come along to this carbon-neutral festival where you can celebrate Auckland's maritime heritage and sample Auckland's finest seafood treats.


Viaduct Showcase (Sunday, 25 January)
Definitely a day for the family. There will be live, free, stage entertainment, a large outdoor screen, as well as a show put on by the NZ Navy, Army, Air Force, Police and Fire Brigade.


Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta (Monday, 26 January)
Calling sailors and spectators. Now in its 169th year, the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta brings Auckland's Harbour to life with a range of different craft including tiny optimists, centre-boarders, classic vessels, keelboats and multi-hulls, as well as the ever-popular tug boat race.


Auckland Anniversary Ports of Auckland Tours
Ports of Auckland is running FREE boat tours of the Port during Auckland Anniversary Weekend.The tours will run on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 January at 11.30 am, 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm, departing on a ferry from Pier 4 on Quay Street. The 40 minute tours, which include a detailed commentary about the Port and its shared history with Auckland city, are suitable for all ages. Bookings essential.

New Zealand National Maritime Museum
Ted Ashby, the heritage sailing scow will be operating Heritage Harbour Cruises on Saturday and Sunday, at 11:30am and 2:00pm. Guided tours will also take place at 10:30am and 1:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Superheroes Read over Summer

Rodney Libraries has plenty of junior Superheroes and they have all been reading all summer as part of the programme we run annually. They are our Superhero 5 year olds jumping small buildings as they add to their vocabularies and show off their reading skills to librarians. They are our Superhero middle readers who are stronger than locomotives as they power through their first chapter books. And they are our faster than a speeding bullet readers who we are showing the wide variety of new and different books that the library has to offer.

There are still a few days of left before checkins are completed. Next week we have celebration parties and award ceremonies for all those who have completed the programme. Parents and grandparents are more than welcome to come along. We have fantastic local Rodney storyteller Stu Duval as our superhero guest which we are really looking forward to.

Times and venues for the Finale and Award Ceremony are:

Wednesday 28 January 2009
Wellsford 10.30 am - Bible Chapel, Davies Road
Mahurangi East 1.00 pm - Community Centre Rooms adjacent library building, Snells Beach
Warkworth 3.30 pm - The new Rodney Masonic Lodge rooms (accessed directly off the top level of the carpark)
Whangaparaoa 6.30 pm - At the library by Plaza

29 January 2009
Orewa 1.30 pm - Venue to be confirmed
Helensville 4.00pm - Community rooms adjacent Library, 49 Commercial Road
Kumeu 6.30 pm - At the library, Main Road Huapai

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

History Maker

Tomorrow we will witness history in the making. In history books in years to come this will be a day that people read about. When Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America. The first African American to hold the Office and someone with the expectations of millions (or should that be billions) on his shoulders.

I am one of those who plan to rise early to watch the celebrations live tomorrow morning our time. Just for a change I want to watch the Good Great and Happy occasions rather than other pieces of history which I can vividly recall which are filled with tragedy (Erebus, 9/11, etc).

To learn more about the man at the centre of this day in history, check out this Rodney Libraries catalogue link for books both by and about Barack Obama and his journey so far. This includes a soon to arrive childrens biography for our junior readers.

To read about the men in whose footsteps he follows view this link for Presidents United States Biographies or if you want an overview of all 43 previous men to hold this office read To the Best of my Ability the American Presidents edited by James M McPherson.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Warkworth Show 2009

We were there at the Warkworth Show 2009!

From the top: The two Annes who welcomed people to the Rodney Libraries' stand; Local author Maria Gill; RDC's Sarah gleefully showing off the worms from the farm at the RDC stand.









There are more pictures from the show on our Flickr account.

Wairau Bar

I love programmes like "Time Team" so I'm extremely interested in what's going on down at Wairau Bar in the South Island. This is the site of an early New Zealand settlement (700 years ago!) and was excavated in the 1940s and 1950s. This year, the human remains that were found at that time are being returned to the Bar. It's a delicate business to ensure the rest of the site isn't disturbed because there's still a lot to be learnt.

One of the team at the Bar has been keeping a blog, called "Wairau Bar blog: the return of New Zealand's first people." Part archaeology, part social history, part photo essay, it's a fascinating look at a working site. Quinn writes "Remember that Wairau Bar was not a cemetery or burial ground - it was a large and thriving settlement, permanent enough to have its own cemetery, with a whole range of everyday tasks and activities going on, like any other small town. Previous work has given us an idea of the funeral rituals of these people, but we want to know more about how they lived day-to-day."

One of the original excavators of the site, Roger Duff wrote a book about Wairau Bar in the 1950s called "The Moa-hunter period of Maori culture". Rodney Libraries doesn't hold a copy however Waitakere and North Shore Libraries do. We have a reciprocal lending arrangement with these two libraries which means that you can join either library for free. You have to abide by their library rules (which are slightly different to ours) and return your books to their libraries. If you want to join you can sign up online or in person at one of their branches. Remember to take personal identification and proof of address (like a rates or power bill) with you when you go to pick up your card.

Friday, 16 January 2009

What's on in Rodney?

This weekend we'll be up at the Warkworth show! Libraries are full of information for farming, horticulture, permaculture, viticulture as well as being fun places to go. Come along and talk to Anne and volunteers from Warkworth Library. There's also a chance for you to "Create your own Eden" at the other Rodney District Council stand.

HBC Outdoor Cinema Schedule
Fri 16 Jan 2009 - Fri 27 Mar 2009
Make the most of the fantastic weather a great Kiwi summer has to offer by taking a trip to the Hibiscus Coast Youth Centre outdoor cinema screen.The 2009 season begins on Friday 16th January and runs through until the end of March.There's something for every kind of cinema goer from romantic comedy to action adventure movies so check out the schedule below and come on down to the Western Reserve, Orewa. All movies begin at 8pm and run for approximately two and a half hours


Warkworth & Districts A & P Show
Sat 17 Jan 2009 - Sun 18 Jan 2009

Venue: Warkworth Showgrounds, State Highway 1
- all day trade displays
- entertainment
- competitions
- pet corner
- wine tasting
- highland dancing
- vintage cars and much more!
Saturday 17th January, Equestrian only day Sunday 18th January.


Lions Big Dig
The annual Lion's Big Dig will take place at Orewa Beach on Sunday 18th January 2009.
A fun day for all, the dig starts at 9am and will be a fun day for all ages.
Come along to Orewa Beach and join in the hunt for some magnificant prizes in the sand.There'll also be food stalls and lots of other attractions so be there for all the fun, 9am sharp, Sunday 18th January 2009.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Royal Commission on Auckland Governance

There was an article in The New Zealand Herald this morning called "Auckland will be one huge city with a super-mayor". It described a new "super-city council" governance structure which stretched "from Pukekohe in the south to Wellsford in the north". The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance have issued a press release stating "that the lead article in today’s New Zealand Herald is speculative". The document is available on the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance website.

Quit smoking - free seminars

Two free information seminars for the Quittingpoint Quit smoking programme will be held on the Hibiscus Coast at the end of January. Reserve your seat now by booking online at www.quittingpoint.co.nz or phone Brenda on 09 4284321 or 021557272.

Whangaparaoa Library, Thursday, 29 January from 5.30-6.30pm.

Orewa Library, Friday January 30 from 5.30 to 6.30pm.

Changes to Copyright law in New Zealand

Last year an amendment to the Copyright Act 1994, Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act was passed into law. The amendment was to "update and clarify how copyright applies to new technologies in today's digital environment, and promote a modern legal framework that guides the protection and use of copyright material while maintaining the balance between protection, access and use already established in the Act". While most of the new Amendment came into force on October 31 last year, Section 92A of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act comes into play on February 28 2009. This has implications for internet users.

Section 92A requires ISPs to disconnect a user from their internet access if the user is repeatedly infringing copyright by downloading material illegally. There has been some confusion over the exact details of when this will happen. This article by Pat Pilcher in the New Zealand Herald indicates it will run on the "three strikes you're out" philosophy. In other words, if you infringe twice you'll be warned, a third time you'll be cut off. As you can imagine this has consequences for anyone who provides internet access for public use such as internet cafes and libraries. If a customer downloads a movie that doesn't have copyright clearance then the cafe or library could find that their ISP is required to disconnect their access. So as well as a fine, the cafe owner in this article would have found himself without a business.

InternetNZ has issued a press release calling on the Government to "...urgently resolve problems with Section 92A of the Copyright Act, to prevent the cutting off of Internet access to innocent people and businesses, and disruption to business."


The Ministry for Economic Development has an information page about the new amendments on their website.

Simpson Grierson have a good overview of the changes in their May 2008 Xtech newsletter.

Despite the recent publicity I get the feeling that most Internet users in New Zealand are unaware of the law change and what it might mean for them - so tell your friends and ensure they are aware of it too.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Te Radar returns to Helensville

Te Radar (Andrew Lumsden), star of TVNZ’s “Off the Radar” and “Homegrown,” will be speaking of his adventures and discoveries in sustainable living to the Helensville Holistic Health and Wellbeing Group’s February meeting.

The meeting will be held in the Helensville War Memorial Hall on Thursday 19th February 2009 at 7 pm and all are welcome to attend.

Te Radar’s very successful “Off the Radar” programme was based in the Kaukapakapa and Helensville area and featured many local personalities. The series followed Te Radar as he endeavoured to live sustainably off a small block of land, somewhere around Kaukapakapa.

The programme was quirky, funny, inspiring, and a good chance to spot friends and neighbours. His book, “Off the Radar”, based on the series, is available now at Rodney Libraries and book stores, and is a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the making of the series.

The presentation is being organised by the Helensville Holistic Health and Wellbeing Group and the Helensville Library.

“Te Radar is an entertaining and thought provoking person, and we are thrilled to have him speak here,” says Helensville Community Librarian Sally Hardwick.

The Helensville Holistic Health and Wellbeing Group meets each month at the Helensville library to discuss issues relating to health and wellbeing.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

I have a confession to make. I have kept it to myself for many years now and every time the headlines explode with new hostilities in the Middle East I cringe in shame. My confession - my knowledge of the Middle East Conflict, it's origins, who is who and why they are fighting is sooo rudimentary that it my brain cells start to steam just thinking about it.

It's not something that I studied at school (and I'm not sure I would remember the details from back then anyway). It's not something we discussed over the dinner table or that I have ever delved into to find out for myself. That I have been busy doing and learning other things is a poor excuse.

So, being in the library as I am, I thought it might be time to hit the shelves to update my knowledge. If you would like to do the same visit this Rodney Libraries catalogue link to find a list of books about the subject. The list includes both adult and childrens non-fiction titles, as well as fiction with the Middle East conflict as a base. There certainly looks like some in-depth reading there. Just a little something to add to the reading pile I have at home. And I might update my atlas as well so that I can get an idea about where things are happening. Then when I watch the TV news or read the newspaper I will have more of an understanding of current events.

Monday, 12 January 2009

The hottest book of the moment.

Do we need to explain what we are talking about today. It's the biggest phenomenon (possibly even bigger at the moment) since Harry Potter. Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series is in such high demand, we went out last week and bought a whole lot of extra copies to try and cope with the demand. Some of these copies will go into circulation for the readers who have put requests on for the books (which grows by the day as more people hear about it or want to read it after seeing the fantastic movie adaptation). Other copies will go onto the Express Selection shelves where customers have the option of renting the books (rather than waiting or delving into their own pockets to buy the latest releases).

The correct reading order for the Twilight series is Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Stephenie Meyer has also written another novel The Host the story of an earth which has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of its human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Most of humanity has succumbed but Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. You can find out more about the books at her website or visit the movie website for information.

If you can't wait for Twilight and still want to join the latest craze and read vampire or supernatural fiction here are a couple of other suggestions.

On the teen fiction shelves try one of these series. Darren Shan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vampire Beach, Vampire Kisss, Vampire Diaries, House of Night, or the Last Vampire. On the children's fiction shelves you can find the Vampirates, the Fang Gang and the Vampire Vigilantes. On the adult shelves you can't go past the original Dracula or for a modern classic Anne Rice (think Interview with a Vampire). Other titles which may interest include The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova), Daylight (kiwi Elizabeth Knox) or the Day Watch (Sergei Lukyanenko).

Or you could go to our catalogue, choose to do a Subject Search for Vampires to find a wide range of options from legend to fiction to fact and make your own choice.

The Library and the Economy

I am probably not the first person to utter the following phrase, but it is something that we may hear more of in the next year or so. And it is the epitomy of a Catch-22 situation.

When times turn tough, people turn to the library.

The newspapers are full of stories of libraries battling closure in the United States of America and budgets being slashed in libraries around the world as Councils and Regional authorities are forced to make tough decisions and where ratepayers dollars go. However in previous economic downturns, the library's popularity and patronage increased. As I said, Catch-22.

A discussion on this subject made it to the editorial pages of the New Zealand Listener last week. If you would like to read the full article go to Take it as Read from the Listener website.

And support your library.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

More What's on in Rodney

Owen Chapman Cup Surf Carnival
Red Beach Saturday 10 January (that's today)
Right about now the first events are underway in the 53rd annual Owen Chapman Surf Carnival. Head along to see top surf athletes from around the country plus two Australian teams here to pit their skills against the best we have to offer.. Visit the Red Beach Surf Club website for lots of great info and photos, plus a programme of today's events.

Coca Cola Beach Base
Orewa Beach Saturday (again Today) until Tuesday from 10am - 4pm
There's loads happening at the Beach Base - volleyball, table tennis, hacky, frisbee, DJ's and live music PLUS of course heaps of cold Coke.
AND if you think you have got what it takes to be a star you definitely need to be there. Johnny Barker (the killer from Shortland St!!) is shooting a short film with Mark Furze from Home and Away, and needs 500 extras for party scenes on the beach. Party on the beach, Hotties, famous peeps, you could win a free Coke, being a star, and having fun!! What are you waiting for??? There are also auditions for featured extras too! Get Spotted. Be a Star! Buses from Auckland also available – check out coke.co.nz for more info.

Friday, 9 January 2009

What's on in Rodney

BEACH BREAK ‘09
Saturday 10 January - Omaha Beach Surf Club
Morning event for children; treasure hunt, sand castle building competition, lolly scramble, fun races, tug ‘o war, sausage sizzle. 1pm fashion show and Miss Omaha competition, live bands, April Ieremia & Glen Osborne MCs, loads of prizes, giveaways and freebies.
Dinner/dance at the surf club from 6.30pm — 1am.

PUHOI PUB WOODCHOPPING CARNIVAL
Saturday 10 January 10am - Puhoi Pub
All day woodchopping events with market stalls around the hotel and the Puhoi Bohemian Band playing. A fun, safe family atmosphere with plenty of off street parking and grandstand seating. Local wines, cheeses and oysters on offer for sample and sale. Don’t miss this annual event.

JAMM - Vehicles On The Beach
Sun 11 Jan 2009 11am - Muriwai
Get involved with JAMM - Joint Agencies Managing Muriwai Beach and learn how to enjoy the beach and be safe whilst driving vehicles. The summer safety promotional drive will begin at 11am on Sunday and continue until 6pm. Come along and learn how to drive to the conditions. The beach is our playground but it is not a race track. So slow down! Enjoy this unique environment and learn how to be safe on sand.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Calling all commuters

The Northern Gateway toll road is due to open on 25 January 2009 which will hopefully alleviate some of the travelling headaches of people on the road trying to head north from Auckland or south home from holiday at the moment.

The LTSA Toll Road website has gone live to help people who plan to use the toll road manage the cost of doing so. "Free-flow tolling does not use toll booths, instead motorists drive on the road with tolls automatically calculated as they pass beneath our toll point. You don't have to stop to pay or hunt for loose change on your journey. You can simply set up an account with us and we'll deduct your tolls automatically. Otherwise, to pay your tolls you will be able to use this website, call our freephone number or visit one of our cash payment points." (from the website).

The cost of tolls will initially be $2 for cars and light trucks and $4 for heavy traffic (exceeding 3.5 tonnes). Motorcycles will be free but this is subject to review. There are several options for paying tolls which can be found on the "How to Pay" page of the website. These options include opening an account, or paying as you go either via the website or in cash at one of the two payment points (Titfords Bridge just south of Puhoi or the Dairy Flat BP).

If you want to know more about the construction of this part of the motorway visit the Northern Gateway Alliance website.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Astronomical Delight

Calling all Star Gazers! 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy. The official blurb from the IYA website says "IYA2009 will promote and facilitate the creation of international networks to foster a global appreciation of the role and value of science and astronomy as a unifying activity for humanity. IYA2009 will start up, connect and support networks of professional and amateur astronomers, educators and astrophysicists from all over the world, so that all these valuable sources of knowledge can be shared. The networks of hundreds, if not thousands of astronomical organisations, nationally and internationally, will be one of the legacies of IYA2009 that will last far beyond the year 2009."

Go to the website http://www.astronomy2009.org/ to find out more about whats happening around the world and all the different projects that people have underway. Another really cool site that you might want to bookmark and check into from time to time is the NASA website.

Closer to home, New Zealand has it's own Kiwi IYA website. It's really user friendly, without all the huge graphics on the international site, which makes it much easier to navigate for those of use that don't have a particularly speedy internet connection.

And if you are looking for books in the Rodney Library on astronomy - click on this catalogue link for all the different subject headings we have for astronomy or click here to go straight to a list of titles

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Survey To Probe New Zealand Drug Driving

Would you get behind the wheel after taking drugs? And what do you think about people who do? Would roadside drug testing work as a deterrent?

The Drug Foundation wants to know about New Zealanders' drug driving behaviours and attitudes. It wants as many Kiwis as possible to complete a new online survey, whether they've ever taken drugs or not. Data gained will help inform the development of education and prevention initiatives and give politicians good information when making drug driving policy decisions in the future.

The survey will run until the end of January 2009 and is completely anonymous.
It can be found at www.drugdrivingsurvey.org.nz and is open to anyone old enough to drive.
Encourage your friends and family to fill it out too! A large number of responses will help provide a more accurate picture of drugs and driving in New Zealand.

Every Word is a pleasure to read

This isn't just from the promotional blurb for this week's book. It comes straight from the mouth of one of your local Rodney Librarians when I was asking around to see if anyone had read something good over Christmas.

The book Lisa was talking about was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, the first novel by David Wroblewski. It is also one of Oprah's recommended reads from 2008. Set mainly in the early 1970s, in Wisconsin, the novel tells the story of the Sawtelle family, which over the generations has strived to establish the ultimate companion dog, but one with free will and the ability to make choices. For those that love animals the relationships between the humans and the dogs are wonderfully evocative. The teenage hero is a young mute boy living with his aunt and uncle and the novel itself has been called a mixture of Hamlet, melodrama, Kipling, coming of age story and mystery. Lisa said don't be daunted by the size as it is well worth the read and it certainly sounds like something I will be putting on my request list.

Monday, 5 January 2009

WELCOME 2009

It's a New Year - 2009. Welcome to all the possibilities that it brings, and all those books just waiting to be read.

2009 is the Year of the Ox (which is also your year if you were born in 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985 or 1997). The Ox is tenacious and is the symbol of agriculture, fertility, power and muscular strength. The Year of the Ox should be stable but also teaches that the rewards you reap this year will be in direct proportion to the hard work you put in. Slow steady progress and well thought out plans rather than spur of the moment decisions will bring success this year.

If you want to know more about you stars or chinese astology for 2009 check out under call number 133.5 on the shelves (or clink on the number and it will take you through to our catalogue).

2009 is also the Year of the Gorilla and the International Year of Astronomy, but more on those two events later in the week.

Kia hari te tau hou

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Kiwi Publisher finds niche

What does a former trade magazine publisher and books about donkeys in love, a duck dating death and a black sheep in a white sheep's body have in common.

Meet Julia Marshall, a kiwi book-lover whose fledgling publishing house Gecko Press has been a success story in 2008. "Taking on the publishing industry, the Wellington publisher has created a difficult but stand-out market in translated stories for English-speaking youngsters." quotes the article last week in the Dominion Press (who also get credit for the adjacent photo). For the full story, check out this Stuff.co.nz link.
Rodney Libraries stock a range of Gecko Press titles. Click on this catalogue link to view them.