7 Seductive Scenes to Sweep Her Off Her Feet


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

Click on the image to enlarge it.

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

Homage to Rangiora

Reblogged from Heroes Mingle:

Read this article and more in Weve

In October 2012 I moved from Auckland to Rangiora to work for Waimakariri Libraries. Waimakariri is the second fastest growing region in New Zealand – a community brimming with rejuvenation and opportunity. With more than 1200 people visiting Waimakariri Libraries each day my role was to lead and manage strategic projects that will open doors for enquiring minds. My primary focus was on two projects: the rebuild of the Kaiapoi Library after the Canterbury earthquakes, and the implementation and delivery of RFID self-service kiosks.

In March I returned to Auckland for personal reasons and I’ve written this article to pay homage to the many Rangiora Library customers I was fortunate enough to meet and come to know. The connection community members have with the library is personal and unique and it is important that we as librarians take the time to listen and strengthen those connections.

This article tells the stories of Rangiora Library through the eyes of two such customers – Jon Read and Tony Barnett.

Jon Read

Jon Read

Free to Indulge
Jon Read plans liveable built environments for the rapidly growing Waimakariri District in a temporary portable office next door to Rangiora Library. Sometimes for a change of scenery he’ll bring his work into the library, claiming a table for a couple of hours to do research or seek inspiration.

With a background in parks and recreation Jon has worked as a park ranger, developed cycling and walking tracks and been involved in the development of reserves such as the Brooklands Lagoon and New Brighton dunes in Christchurch. He’s been working for the Waimakariri District Council for seven years and lives on a lifestyle block near Oxford with his partner Sharon and two children Shae (13) and Devon (11).

As I talk with Jon about his life and how the library fits into it he confesses that he has succumbed to the occasional book binge. Every now and then he will take home an armful of books that look interesting and sometimes do nothing more than skim a couple of chapters or flick through the pages before bringing them back with the intention of reading them later.

It is his frequent use of the library for a variety of purposes that has made it easy for Jon to indulge in what would otherwise be an expensive habit.

It turns out the library and I also support Jon in another ‘otherwise expensive habit – foreign movies and tv series. When I issued Jon the Borgen dvd about a year ago, I asked if he’d seen the recent Wallander series with Kenneth Branagh and if so what he thought of it. We discussed the differences between tv series made in Scandinavia compared to those made in American or Britain, and how long it might be before the next series of The Killing is available in New Zealand. Jon’s watched most of the library’s Scandinavian dvds and nearly every week he’ll flick through our entire dvd collection looking for new ones. He wishes there was an easier way to find out what’s new since he last looked.

As fate would have it, I am also a fan of Scandinavian crime and have a dvd collection at home that I share with Jon so he doesn’t have to wait until they become available in New Zealand, and then the library.

Jon’s son Devon developed an interest in reading through the Summer Reading Programme in Oxford Library a couple of years ago and Jon will often look for the latest Andy Griffiths’ book or Diary of a Wimpy Kid for him. Devon is in a digital class at school where all coursework is completed on a laptop. Devon loves it, but Jon is concerned about how he will keep up without broadband at home (no connection available). A slow dial-up connection doesn’t make it easy to look for Andy Griffiths’ email address or Facebook page so you can ask him when his next book will be out.

Jon tends to favour socio-political biographies over fiction and is also curious about landscaping, architecture, design and self-help topics. He likes the variety and diversity available at the library and he never knows what he’ll discover next.

Jon’s thankful the library gives him the freedom to indulge.

Tony Barnett

Tony Barnett

A life-long love of learning and languages
I first met Tony Barnett when he asked if he could use the library’s computers during my first week at Rangiora Library. The computers can be booked for thirty minutes each day and although some customers habitually linger longer than they should, Tony respects the opportunity to check his email and rarely outstays his allotted time.

 Every day for the last fifteen years Tony has visited either Kaiapoi or Rangiora Library.

He prefers Rangiora Library, as it is closer, but spent a few years visiting Kaiapoi when the noise from the children’s area and the unfriendliness of staff pushed him away. Thankfully in the last three years the situation has improved and he’s back at Rangiora waiting for the library to open each day. Whenever I see Tony we exchange greetings and share a brief conversation. But it wasn’t until I asked him if I could write a story about him that I realised Tony was a man of many talents.

Born in Christchurch during the war Tony’s family lived in a number of places in the Canterbury region and in Wellington, moving whenever his father began a new teaching position. Tony’s mother supplemented the family income teaching singing to local children and both professions have had an impact in Tony’s life. Tony began singing solo at the Town Hall from the age of six and has the gift of being able to read music and intuitively understand how the parts come together. Today he continues his love of music by playing the organ during Christmas church services.

It also seemed natural for Tony to continue in his father’s footsteps into a life of academia. In fact you might say Tony is the embodiment of life-long learning. Tony taught in primary and secondary schools for fourteen years including three stints in England.

He has a BA in French, MA in English, an Engineering degree and has completed ¾ of a Chemistry degree.

This is his 15th year as a student with Christchurch Polytechnic, most recently completing a Diploma in Information Technology in 2006 and he is currently enrolled in the Polytechnic’s Computing 4 Free Excel course. Tony is also a fluent reader in French, Spanish, German and Italian and continues to regularly attend Italian classes in Christchurch to maintain his fluency.

We talked at length about the difference in studying towards a chemistry degree versus an arts degree, the impact of a teacher’s gender on their approach to teaching and whether qualifications are still an important indicator for employers.

Through Tony’s love and expertise in languages I learnt the term patronymics. A patronym or patronymics is the component of a personal name derived from one’s father. For example, many English names include the patronym ‘son’ as in Johnson (son of John), whereas the Irish and Scots use the prefix ‘Mc’ or ‘Mac’ as in McDonald (son of Donald). Barnett, Tony’s surname, includes the Hebrew patronym ‘Bar’ (son of Nett). This led to a discussion on the Scandinavian influence of many English place names and the Danelaw. I found these stories fascinating as it prompted me to compare it with my knowledge of whakapapa and the origins of Maori place names and personal names.

You might expect Tony to be a regular borrower, using the library to extend his studies and pursue his interests, but Tony isn’t even a member of the library.

He doesn’t borrow books because his caravan doesn’t have adequate lighting for sustained periods of reading. Instead he reads in the library.

You might also expect that with his knowledge of computing that Tony would have a computer at home and would have no need to use the computers in the library. Tony does have a computer but it isn’t connected to the internet because he is concerned about viruses. So he uses the library’s computer to access his email and search for information.

The library is Tony’s home away from home; a place to read the newspaper, check email, and be amongst people.