The Historical Non-Romance Guide To Happy Ever After


Contender for New Zealand: Kitty by Deborah Challinor.
My Verdict: The historical non-Romance guide to ‘Happy Ever After’.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

The winner of the Historical Romance LoveMatch is:

Historical Romance

7 Seductive Scenes to Sweep Her Off Her Feet


Contender for the World: Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens.
My Verdict: Hilariously seductive.

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Click on the image to enlarge it.

It Sounds About Perfect


Contender for New Zealand: Blue Creek Bachelor by Joanne Hill.
My Verdict: A wonderfully sweet romance with a decent splash of suspense.

Blue Creek Bachelor

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The winner of the Sweet Romance is:

Sweet Romance

Here’s An Idea. Continuing Education in An Hour. What Do You Think?


In 2012 LIANZA conducted a Career Survey in which some respondents indicated there were not enough continuing education opportunities available (p.64). There was also a strong preference (64.02%, p. 69) for Continuing Professional Development to be undertaken during work time rather than after hours.

I agree that there is a limited range of professional development opportunities that are directly relevant to my job in a New Zealand library and affordable in both time and money.

Here’s my idea: I develop a series of self-paced online courses that only take 60 minutes to complete and provide participants with a one page blueprint to use within their workplace.

The content would be based on your suggestions but ideally would focus on learning real world NZ library skills such as ‘questions to ask when someone wants help with their ereader’, project management and readers advisory.

The courses would be self-paced so you can enrol at any time and only take 60 minutes meaning you could complete them in between desk shifts. There is no need to hire staff to cover while others are learning and you can apply your learning the same day you receive it. You would come away with a one-page blueprint to enable you to easily apply your learning to your job.

What do you think?

I’ll let you know if there is interest in developing this idea further, who knows, maybe I’ll start a kickstarter campaign to get it off the ground.

In The Neighbourhood


Contender for the World: 16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber
My Verdict: Too many cozy characters spoil the romance.

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Click on the image to enlarge it.

How A Library School Holiday Programme Created Movie-Style Soundtrack Of Local History Story


I asked Harley Couper, Learning Centre Tutor and Reference Librarian, from Tauranga City Libraries how they used their school holiday programme to create a movie-style soundtrack of a local history story.

In the April school holidays one of the ways Tauranga City Libraries commemorated the Battle of Gate Pa by creating a Booktrack ebook. Can you tell me more?
I was excited about finding new ways to present Primary Sources around Gate Pa, so I created a Booktrack using Chief Hori Ngatai’s translated account of the attack. You can experience it here.

With the help of our Children and Teen Librarians we made a simplified version of this text appropriate to a 10 or 11 year old reading level. We used this ready-made text in a holiday programme that coincided with Tauranga’s 150 year commemoration of the Battle of Gate Pa and Te Ranga.

How was the holiday programme structured?
The class began with each child choosing a book from Booktrack to listen to. We then talked about what we had heard and broke these down into three audio components:

  1. Soundtracks (how did that make you feel?)
  2. Ambience (what’s the ambience of a café, forest, this room?)
  3. Effects (did anyone hear gasps, gunshots, burps, footsteps?)

We then guided the class through how to log in and create a new Booktrack with each child using a Word document to cut and paste the Hori Ngatai account into their new Booktrack. Finally, in stages, we added sound layers and learned how to overlap and layer them for a full effect. We had a couple of sound effects that could be added (a haka and a bugle call) but the site itself has a massive collection of sounds that you can browse and search through.

Who attended and what was the response like?
We aimed it at 10-11 year olds kids. We advertised  it as Audio Engineering, a mistake really, but at the time we had two ideas on the boil and were uncertain whether our IT guys could have Chrome installed in our Learning Centre in time. (There are Booktrack Apps for consuming commercial and locally produced Booktracks but you need a PC running Chrome or Opera to create content.)

Bookings were slower than other programmes I think in part because it’s so new. Everyone knows what Lego or Comic Design is but what’s Booktrack or Audio Engineering? We still managed to get  a full class though and the response was delightful. In libraries we are used to engagement sounding like a loud buzz, but with the Booktrack programme the kids were silent and totally transfixed as they chose and mixed their sound tracks. 

We had 100% positive feedback and comments like “this was a hundred thousand billion excellent!” and “This was a great idea…you should run it again next holidays”. So this July 10 and 17 over Matariki we’ll run two programmes, each an hour and a half.

What advice would you give to other libraries considering creating their own Booktrack ebooks?

  • Have fun at the start describing soundtracks, ambience and sound effects (the three audio components).
  • Providing the text allows the kids to focus on one creative process (the sound engineering).
  • Use Booktrack Classroom the education version of it as otherwise kids need to have their own emails etc to log in.
  • In hindsight out text was a bit too long, we could have made it shorter. Using a brief text will allow the kids to complete their story, much more satisfying.

No Room For Romance


Contender for New Zealand: Blackpeak Station by Holly Ford.
My Verdict: Plenty of details about NZ high country farm life, but Charlotte’s love life, whilst active, is left strictly to the reader’s imagination.

Blackpeak Station

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The winner of the Rural Romance Lovematch is:

Rural Romance