Friday, 21 December 2012

It's the most magical time of the year.....

.....And also the craziest! In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays I think we can lose sight of the simple but best things about Christmas. For me, its family, good food and getting away from it all ( internet, TV, mobile reception) at our bach. I'm so looking foward to a break! Merry Christmas and I hope you all have a safe and relaxing time.
Enjoy the below picture- it appeals to my cycnical/sarcastic sense of humour :)


Tuesday, 18 December 2012


I've been feeling very inspired and motivated this week after reading blogs written by (fabulous) librarians like Rita Meade and Ingrid Henny.

Reading about how positive and passionate people can be about their job, makes me think about what my focus is. Am I constantly thinking about the negative- budget cuts, the future of libraries, career paths, upcoming study? Or, am I focusing on the really awesome, satisfying parts of my job?
I don't want to become one of those people whose glass is half empty, so my resolution is to make sure I turn my negatives into positives. I'm finding that I'm being inspired by librarians via Twitter and blogs. Its been a great way to realise that other librarians get frustrated the same way I do and feel the same satisfaction seeing a happy patron walk away.
A colleague recently sent this link through ( A future librarian's promise by Carlie Graham) and it really spoke to me as it did to her. It is well worth checking out. My favourite is:

Be creative.I will never stop looking for ways to innovate to bring truly cool and useful things to library members. I promise to work to bring art, culture, beauty into libraries, and will seek out simplicity.
If you have any stories about great library moments I'd love to hear them! Just leave a comment here on the blog or if you're on Twitter, tweet me @JuliadeRuiter
Julia :)

P.S. This made me giggle!

Librarian Fact #218

Library assistants are capable of finding lost books using no more than a ladle, a skein of wool, and seven safety pins.



Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Book Review: Artichokes Heart by Suzanne Supplee

Here comes book review number nine of my 30 Day Book Challenge which has gone a little over 30 days! I forgot how crazy this time of year can become! Just a brief review this time, taken from Amazon - don't really have the time right now to write a proper one! :(
Cursed with the nickname “the Artichoke” after wearing an ill-chosen green jacket to school way back in sixth grade, Rosemary continues to cope with the cool kids’ disdain by making food her friend. It’s a treacherous ally, though, and when she tops 200 pounds, she decides to make radical changes and begins to lose some serious weight. Then, Rosemary discovers that an A-list girl wants to befriend her, the boy she adores returns her feelings, and (most incredible of all) her mother has cancer. Rosemary’s wry first-person narration deftly portrays characters in her single-parent family, her high school, her mother’s beauty salon, and her Tennessee town.
Jolted by fears of losing her mother, Rosemary begins to look beyond her previous preoccupations to see other people’s vulnerabilities as well as their more evident flaws. In her first novel, Supplee brings a cast of original characters to life in this convincing and consistently entertaining narrative.
While I enjoyed this book;  I'm not as enamoured with it as I was with one of Supplee's later titles- Somebody Everybody Listens To.
I'm looking forward to finishing this challenge- though it has been fun!
Next ( and last) review coming shortly
Julia :)

Thursday, 6 December 2012


I am proud to announce that I am now an ereader convert! I bought an iPad last week -*happy dance* and made myself download an ebook onto my Bluefire reader app.
I just finished Revived by Cat Patrick last night and I loved the book and the whole ereading experience.

It wasn't all a smooth transition though. At first I didn't like it as the font was too big and the screen was too bright but after a few adjustments I was set :) The only thing I don't like about reading off of the iPad is that it's not very comfy in bed unless you are sitting up. I always read before bed so that was a bit of a bummer. Maybe if I'm good until Christmas, Santa will bring me a smaller Sony ereader like my library has? :)
Our library has a great selection of ebooks and I've been having fun searching our catalogue. This is quite a momentous occasion for someone who swore they would always love actual paper books and never read ebooks and definitely would NOT write a blog post about them!
I still feel a little like I'm betraying the old school books sitting on my shelf but it's just so much fun on the iPad!

I'd love to hear of your ebook experiences, just send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter or leave a comment here on the blog :)


Monday, 3 December 2012

Friday, 30 November 2012

Book Review: Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick

Woohoo! The 30 Day Book Challenge is nearly finished! This is review number eight :) Just a short review today, as work has been flat out and my brain is kind of overflowing with appointments I have to organise and places I have to be and people I have to text/message/email. It's just been that kind of day.

As far as conclusions to series go, I really enjoyed the final book in Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush Hush sequence. I got just a tad bit involved with Patch and Nora's story but funnily enough I completely forgot that there was another book coming out. So, when I saw it on the acquisitions shelf I admit- I did a happy dance. I couldn't wait to get into it and the story didn't disappoint. Filled with thrills, chills and romance I was engrossed from start to finish.
I like Fitzpatrick's style of writing and the story literally flew by.

There was the requisite plot twist which I actually didn't see coming ( I pride myself on being able to predict storylines), epic battles ( well, for me anyway) and some awesome quotes from Vee.

A satisfying conclusion to a great YA series.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Book Review: Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances Dowell O'Rourke

Here comes another book review for my 30 Day Book Challenge- only three more to go now!

This was a very light, easy read, which I got through in one sitting.
It follows a teenage girl, who, when she was younger convinced her parents it would be awesome to live on a farm. Now, she wishes she hadn't because she is ridiculed at school for being a country hick. 

This book was much like others of its kind and when compared to something like Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee, it really doesn't stand a chance.

The style of writing didn't make me connect with the story, which is what I really look for in a good novel. I didn't relate to the main character or her family and somehow felt that the whole book felt a bit half- hearted.

Not a terrible book, but certainly not my favourite either. Next up on the review list is Artichokes Heart by Suzanne Supplee- currently one of my favourite authors.

I'd love to hear any feedback about the blog or the books I'm reading- just leave me a comment here on the blog or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter


Friday, 23 November 2012

Book Review: Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford

This is the best book I have read so far for my 30 Day Book Challenge. I love everything about it, from the beautiful photographs, mouthwatering recipes, to the whole story behind the book. This time, instead of writing my review ( I'd probably use 'love' far too many times!) I thought this excerpt from the cover describes the book very well.

"Luminous at dawn and dusk, the Mekong is a river road. a vibrant artery that defines a vast and fascinating region. Here, along the world's tenth largest river, which rises in Tibet and joins the sea in Vietnam, traditions mingle and exquisite food prevails. Award-winning authors Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid followed the river south, as it flows through the mountain gorges on southern China, to Burma and into Laos and Thailand...North Americans have come to love Southeast Asian food for its bright, fresh flavors. But beyond the dishes themselves, one of the most attractive aspects of Southeast Asian food is the life that surrounds it. In Southeast Asia, people eat for joy. The palate is wildly eclectic, proudly unrestrained. In Hot Sour Salty Sweet at last this great culinary region is celebrated with all the passion, colour and life that it deserves"

If you get a chance to read this book, I thoroughly recommend it. 10 out of 10! Below are some photos of recipes from the book :)


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Book Review: The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier

Here comes another review for the 30 Day Book Challenge!
I came across this book after I saw it on the trolley of new items for our monthly book chat members. I've been going through a phase of picking out quite melancholy/depressing books e.g.The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted ( Bridget Asher) and Into the Darkest Corner ( Elizabeth Haynes). When I read the back of this book and saw themes of death, family problems and secrets I knew I had to read it.
This book follows two friends- Kate and Elizabeth and is set in post 9/11 America. When Elizabeth passes away from cancer, Kate is left wondering how to cope without her best friend. She finds Elizabeth's journals and begins to read through them. As she does, she realises the Elizabeth she knew was very different to the real Elizabeth as portrayed in her journals.
What I liked about this book, was that it was very real. The way the characters dealt with grief was real. The relationships bewteen husband and wife and parents and children were real. Elizabeth's journals seemed real. Bernier writes with insight- something I've grown to appreciate in the books I've been reading lately. If you're after a read with some substance, I'd recommend this.
I'd love to hear what you think of the blog and of the books I've been reading/reviewing. Just leave me a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter
P.S. I think this might be the longest post title ever!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Book Review: Three Summers by Judith Clarke

This is book review number 3 of my 30 Day Book Challenge
Three Summers follows Ruth, who survived a  fatal car crash when she was a baby and now lives with her grandmother. She meets a boy named Tam and becomes somewhat obsessed by him. I'm sorry to say I didn't really enjoy this book. It might have the been the style it was written in, or the fact that I didn't really connect with any of the characters, but I just couldn't 'get into' the book. I also didn't like the fact that I couldn't figure out the date the book was set in. This made it hard for me to place what kind of society the characters lived in which was very off putting. The book wasn't awful but I've certainly read better. 
I'd love to hear what you're currently reading and if you have any recommendations for me. Just leave a comment here on the blog or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter

Julia :)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Book Review: The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones

Here comes another 30 Day Book Challenge review! This is another great book written by one of my favourite authors, Nicole Mones. The Last Chinese Chef follows a widowed American food writer, Maggie, who travels to Beijing to find out more about her late husbands secrets. Her trip also doubles as work, as she is asked by her editor to profile Sam, a half Chinese American who is the last in a line of gifted chefs going back to the imperial palace. I read this in a weekend and really enjoyed it. I love reading about food and Mones has satisfied my literary cravings. As she describes the food, I feel I'm eating it alongside the character.
" According to the classical pattern he started with a few lacy-crisp deep-fried dishes: pepper-salt eel fillets like translucent little tiles...and an aromatic stir-fry of yellow chives studded with tiny. delicate fried oysters. Back in the kitchen, he stir-fried tender mustard greens with wide, flat tofu-skin noodles and plump, fresh, braised young soybeans. These glistened on the platter in a light crystal sauce. After that there were lamb skewers, delectably grilled and crusted with sesame".
The thing I liked most about this book, was how Mones described traditional methods of Chinese cooking. Publishers Weekly described the book as 'Sumptuous' and this is how I would describe it too.
A satisfying read but have some snacks ready to alleviate the cravings that are sure to happen!
I'd love to hear what you think of the blog or any of the books I've been reading for this challenge. Just leave me a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Book Review: Making your House a Home by Clare Nolan

Hi everyone,
Here comes review number two of the 30 Day Book Challenge!
I'm a bit of a magpie when it comes to pretty books, so when I saw this new book in our library I couldn't resist :)

Basically, the book is all about how to decorate your home on the cheap, seasonal living and appreciating the small things in life. It is beautifully photographed and very sensible in the tips and ideas mentioned. My favourite part of the book was the fact that it had sections devoted to the seasons. The Americans have such distinct seasons and seem to decorate their homes accordingly- oranges and reds for autumn and cozy throws and candles in winter for example. I'd love to apply this way of living to me in New Zealand- the book gave me some good inspiration for this.  A great weekend read- I've flicked through it multiple times already. Technically, this wasn't really reading but it was a nice break from some of the other deep and meaningful books I've been reading for this challenge :)
Does anyone have any other great books about home decorating etc that they would recommend? I'd love to hear from you! Just leave a comment here on the blog or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter

Monday, 12 November 2012

Book Review: Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Right, book review number one of the 30 Day Book Challenge! I took the wrong book with me away this weekend so the Nichole Bernier book should be my next review :)
I really enjoyed this book. As I've mentioned previously, I'm really loving reading books about Chinese/Americans and their struggle to find their cultural identity.
Dreams of Joy follows mother and daughter Pearl and Joy.
At the beginning of the book, Joy finds out that her father committed suicide because of her and that her mother really is her aunt and her aunt is her birth mother. Shocked and betrayed by the secrets her family kept from her, she decides to leave Los Angeles and go back to China. The story is set in communist China and provides a fascinating yet shocking account of what the citizens of China at that time had to go through. Lisa See has written in haunting yet realistic prose, the memories and scenes she captured in the book will stay with me for a long time. I can't wait to read another of her books. 5 out of 5 stars!

I'd love to hear if anyone has read this and what you thought- just leave a comment here on the blog or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sneak Peek

For my own organisation I thought I'd post the list of the books I'm planning on reading for my 30 Day Book Challenge:

1: The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier ( fiction)
2: Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford ( non fiction)
3: Artichokes Heart by Suzanne Supplee ( young adult)
4: Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances Dowell O'Rourke ( young adult)
5: Dreams of Joy by Lisa See ( fiction)
6: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis ( non fiction)
7: Three Summers by Judith Clarke ( young adult)
8: Making a House your Home by Clare Nolan (non fiction)
9: The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson ( fiction)
10: The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones ( fiction)

Let me know if you think there are any others I should read! :) I'm very excited about this challenge!!


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

I love reading!

Now that I've finished my study, I have more time for reading ( yay!). So, I've decided to  take on a 30 day book challenge. In the month of November and a little into December, I will read and review 10 books (yes, 10!) I'm going to aim to read a variety of fiction and non fiction. To start with I am currently reading: The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier. I'm enjoying it so far- review will come in a couple of days :) 

If you have any recommendations of newish books I should read, I'd love to hear them. Just leave me a comment here on the blog or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter

Until Further Notice I Am Alive by Tom Lubbock

Until Further Notice I Am Alive is written by Tom Lubbock, a man who was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and given only months to live. 

The tumour affected the parts of his brain that control speech and vocabulary. It was saddening yet fascinating to read how his speaking and reading skills decreased but he was still able to write about it.

 This book made me think a lot about the fragility of human life. In a split second we can be gone from this world- this is why this book was very sobering. It is not a long book, it only took me an hour to get through but it has really stuck with me. It is a very poignant read and I highly recommend it. 


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Top 5 books from my childhood

I've been feeling quite nostalgic lately so I thought I would compile a list of my favourite books from my childhood. Here we go......

1: Noddy goes to school by Enid Blyton
I have a picture of me "reading" this when I was about three- I had the whole series and read them avidly
2: The Enchanted Wood
Any of the Faraway Tree series I loved - who wouldn't love to live near a magical tree that had a different land ( like the Land of Topsy Turvy) at the top every time you went up??
 3: Bony legs the witch by Joanna Cole
Both my sister and I loved this picture book which is based on a Russian folk tale.
4: Drina dances in Italy by Mabel Esther Allan
This was from my ballet phase!
5:Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
My most favourite teacher ever, read this to us at primary school and I lapped up every word of it!

I'd love to hear about your fave books, just leave me a comment here on the blog or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter. Also, please excuse the weird layout- the computer wasn't on my side today!


Monday, 15 October 2012

Give the people what they want!

For these school holidays the library offered craft activities like scrapbooking and bookmaking and boy, were they a hit! We haven't offered activities like this for a while and I was so happy with how popular they were. For me personally, it was a great 'out of comfort zone' experience. I love craft but haven't really taught it to a group of people as such. After talking with my colleague who is also the youth librarian, I decided to keep it really simple. I figured that the children probably wouldn't be that interested in all the finicky details. I/we were right! I did a brief introduction of what scrapbooking is all about, a show and tell of how I put a page together and what materials were available. After that chaos reigns! I'll let these pictures tell the rest of the story :) I'd love to hear some more school holiday tales, either here or on Twitter @JuliadeRuiter

Introducing what scrapbooking is all about

He made a sweet card for his Mum :)

Getting into the complicated side of things!

Explaining how colours work together.


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

My favourite libraries

Since libraries are all so different in layout, design and purpose ( academic, public etc) but so similar in that they are all places of knowledge and community,  I thought I would compile a list of my favourite libraries, big or small. 
Note: I haven't personally seen every one of  these libraries in person. Some I have come across in my virtual travels :)

1: Law Library of Munich, Germany.
Sci-fi/futuristic at it's best! Love the groovy chairs and modern lighting. Munich, here I come!

 2: Upper Riccarton Library, Children's area, Christchurch, NZ
This library has a great vibe. My colleague Fiona and I visited it after a conference and were blown away at the level of service offered and how resilient the librarians were after a period of really tough events. Some librarians at other Christchurch City Libraries had changed libraries nearly six times since the first earthquake! Props to everyone who works there- you do a fab job :)

3: Library from Beauty & the Beast, fictional France
I wish I could find a picture of it, but anyone who has seen the Disney movie 'Beauty and the Beast' will know how AWESOME the library is! Seriously, its about 5 stories high and has ladders to get up and across- the whole shebang. Oh, to be a millionaire beast! And, yes, I am a little kid at heart who stills likes revisiting my favourite Disney movies :)

4: Biblioteca Geral University of Coimbra, Portugal
 Wow, just wow. 

5: New York Public Library, USA
Any library with chandeliers and I'm so there! This part of the building is probably as big as our whole library!

6: Oamaru Public Library, New Zealand:
Lucky last- how could I leave out my fantastic local library + work place?! This picture is of some pupils from a local school performing kapa haka routines for Maori Language Week 2012- just some of the awesome things our library is involved in :)

Thanks for reading- I'd love to hear/see some other libraries that you think are pretty snazzy! Just leave a comment here or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Book Review- Somebody Everybody Listens To

Hellloooo Nashville and sweet southern charm! I loved this easy yet poignant read by Suzanne Supplee. This book follows singer Retta-Lee Jones & her dreams. Retta lives in a small southern town in America. She longs to get away and follow her dream of becoming a famous singer but feels guilty because of her struggling parents. 

 Before reading this novel, I'd picked it up numerous times but always ended up leaving it on the shelf because I thought it wasn't going to have enough meaning to it. You know; girl leaves hometown, moves to Nashville, struggles away, falls in love, becomes famous, live happily ever after etc etc.
I was pleasantly surprised by Supplee's writing. While the book mostly follows the above plot summary it does so with grace, grit and a spectacular ending. 

Supplee has done a superb job of making the reader feel a connection and empathy with the characters. For me personally, it raised questions of 'what would I do in this situation?'. It's definitely a relevant read for teens wondering what to do with their life. Retta wants to pursue her singing career but feels held back by family responsibility and the realisation that she is going to be completely alone in Nashville. This book is also firmly rooted in reality, with no airy fairy descriptions of what people want to believe Nashville is like. Supplee tells it like it is, which I appreciate.

 “It's amazing when you think about it, all the possibilities, the things that might happen in this brief life if you're brave enough to try.” 
-Retta Jones

 After reading about Retta's journey, I wanted to go to Nashville and buy a pair of sky blue boots like Retta did for myself! 
I think the raw, honest way Supplee has gone about writing this novel, is what sets it apart from other books of it's kind. If you are after an inspiring, easy weekend read, I'd recommend this. 

I'd love to hear from anyone who has read similar books or has any recommendations. And, I always appreciate a tweet with your thoughts or feedback :)


Monday, 24 September 2012

Let's Make it Happen

I've just been reading the September/October 2012 copy of the American Library Association magazine and I came across an article by Meredith Farkas that I thought was interesting. See the article here:
The article is all about not being scared to bring up new ideas/ways of doing things. I don't think this modern library design in the Netherlands was dreamed up by people who hated change! 

 " If you want to make something happen, the biggest thing holding you back may be you". - Meredith Farkas

Libraries are all about change and for that to happen positively we need people who are willing to speak up and get their ideas out there on the table. 
That said, its not always as easy as this sounds!  I can relate when Farkas mentions that she had only been out of library school for a year when she saw an area she thought could use improvement. When I first started working in the library, I had so many ideas that I felt very passionate about but was way too scared to mention them to anyone! As I've grown in confidence and knowledge though, I don't feel so apprehensive about getting my ideas out there. I mean, whats the worst that could happen? My ideas won't always work or be received positively but that doesn't mean I should stop voicing them. I find it helps to mention it to a trusted colleague first before somewhere like a staff meeting. Then, if they see an obvious flaw you will only be embarrassed in front of them!

In this article Farkas mentions that it's often easier to come up with ideas when you are relatively fresh to the profession. While I agree with that, its also hard because you feel like you don't have any experience/a right to speak up.
Finding or teaming up with people who have a similar vision to you may help. Two brains will always be better than one :) I know for me personally, I have a great team of people I work with that are willing to hear out my ideas and I trust their feedback. This has definitely made me more confident in coming up with ideas and thinking outside the square.

The future of libraries is going to change- that much is obvious. I guess it all depends now on how we ( the passionate, foward thinking people!) are going to approach it.

I highly recommend reading this article- I've also just read on Twitter that Meredith has presented a paper at the LIANZA conference 2012- I have some conference envy right  now! 

Thanks for reading- I'd love to hear some comments from some like-minded people- here or on Twitter @JuliadeRuiter

Julia :) 

P.S. Just realised this is my second post on change- I must love it!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

It's a crazy life!

Wow, it has been ages since my last blog post and so much has happened- mostly in my personal life. I've just had a few days break in Christchurch, I'm going to be moving house, am trying to get an assignment done that just doesn't want to work,and am working on preparing a scrapbooking class that I'm going to run in the school holidays. Phew! Oh, and in two weeks I'll be off to Queenstown with my family to celebrate my birthday! 

It was so refreshing to have a break from work but I am definitely glad to be back ( even with the mountain of work that awaited me when I walked in the door this morning!). Even though my life is crazy busy, work is the one thing that stays the same every day!

The paper I'm working on at the moment is all about the reference encounter and user education. When I'm on the front desk helping patrons, I'm really focusing on using the skills I have been learning in the modules. It has definitely changed the way I treat reference enquiries. When I finish work today, I'll be rushing home to get my assignment done-wish me luck! 

Will update with a proper post about reference/user education when things calm down a bit!

Hope everyone has had a great week! As always, any comments and feedback are welcomed, here or on Twitter @JuliadeRuiter


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Technology and children today

The recent introduction of ebooks into our library has made me think about technology and the impact ( positive or negative) it is having/will have on the young children of today. I'm a bit of a fence sitter on this one. One on hand I think it's amazing that children can pick up how to work new devices so speedily but I also think you should let kids be kids and use their imagination.

It is amazing how fast technology evolves and changes. It's not that long ago that massive, bulky computers were introduced and now we have interactive televisions (as seen on the advertisement for the latest Samsung TV). It literally blew my mind!
 I've grown up with technology but sometimes my brain just can't handle how often and how fast the technology changes. I remember being at primary school and using a computer for the first time. It was white and had one whole game on it! I'm only 20 and I can remember life without technology. I think this shows how many advances have been made in this area.

Some people are concerned that children using devices like cellphone and iPads too frequently could affect their development. I'm sure there are some health issues that could come with excessive use but at the same time there is a positive side too. It can aid with development, rather than stunting it. I cracked up a few weeks ago when my cousins 3 year old picked up my iPhone, swiped his finger along the screen to unlock it, went to 'Photos' and scrolled through to see if there were any of him! I swear I had never shown him this before! They are at an age where they are learning new skills at an incredible rate- it's no wonder using technology comes to easily to them.

As a librarian, I'm thinking about how we can incorporate the knowledge of technology that these children will have and use it in our libraries in a way that they will appreciate. I think it's pretty exciting that we literally have the world at our fingertips wherever we are- lets utilise that any way we can.

I think technology is part of our lives now and we have to come to grips with the fact that children today are growing up in a very different world. I believe we should embrace technology and have fun with it!

I'd love to hear any comments or feedback here or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter,

Have a great rest of the week :)


Friday, 31 August 2012

Book Review- Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is the first book by 22 year old author Veronica Roth.  I LOVED this book! It is now one of my favourite books of all time!  Divergent is the first in a trilogy. It is followed by Insurgent ( equally as good) and the last book is still being written- how will I wait??!!

Divergent is set in a dystopian world where people are divided into 'factions' depending on which virtue ( courage, truth etc) they prize most highly. It is narrated by the main character Tris. When they turn 16 they have to undergo tests that show them what faction suits them best. They then have to make their choice for life at a choosing ceremony. This was probably my favourite part of the book-something about the finality of it really resonated with me. The plot thickens when Tris ( the main character) finds out that her test showed she wasn't suited for any particular faction which makes her divergent ( something you could die for).

For me, the characters were really well crafted. I felt like they were  real people that I might run into on the street one day. They had obvious flaws but many good traits too. What I liked about it the most, is the fact that the characters had to make such hard choices. It definitely made me  think about how I  would act in similar situations. Once again I prefer teen fiction from adult because it is so straightforward. Even though the characters have been through a lot, they don't tend to be cynical or depressing. If you haven't read teen fiction before I definitely recommend giving it a go :)

If you are after an exciting, fast paced read, with some romance thrown in there too, this is the book for you!
You can also check out Veronica Roth's website:

I'd love to hear any feedback or other recommendations- leave a comment here or on my Twitter account @JuliadeRuiter

Have a great weekend,


Friday, 24 August 2012

The changing role of libraries

Hello brilliant people!

I've been thinking a lot lately about how libraries are changing so rapidly. I know our little library in Oamaru is no exception. I get the feeling that lots of people all over the library sectors are opposed to change but actually it is one of the things in life that you know for certain will happen. For me, personally, I would rather just deal with it and adapt to new ways of thinking and working, than fight it.
In a library context, change means the library is no longer a sacred space of absolute silence and stern librarians, it is a vibrant, exciting place of lifelong learning, community interaction and recreation.

 I feel very excited that I have come into libraries at a time like this. You no longer have to be the traditional librarian. People with other skills in areas like music, graphic design, web design skills and teaching are central to making the library a community hub. Already, just in my first few years of working in libraries ( and working in general) I have learnt an astounding amount. I have learned what it means to be professional, the difference librarians can make for individuals, how to utilise my non-library related skills like music and art and how to go after what I really want. I don't think this would have been possible in the library of 5 or 10 years ago.

What I love about libraries now is the way they all seem to be buzzing with activity- it's so cool! I was recently in Christchurch for a course and my colleague and I had the opportunity to visit some of their libraries. We were so impressed! In the face of so much change the librarians have shown their resilience and have created true community hubs.

There are so many things libraries can offer the community but also so many obstacles to overcome. Sometimes I find it hard to stay positive and upbeat but after reading the Public Libraries Framework 2012-17 I felt much more motivated. It reminded me of why I work in and love libraries. It also gave me perspective- NZ libraries are not the only ones going through tough times. I definitely recommend reading it- the team who put it together has done a great job.

I've just arrived back from running a Wriggle and Rhyme session and I'm feeling so happy about the impact we are having with the mums and their children. Librarians DO make a difference in people's lives and I really think we need to remember that and keep on being  positive, skilled and vibrant advocates for lifelong learning and community spirit.

Any comments are welcomed, or tweet me @JuliadeRuiter- I'd really love to hear from you!

Julia :)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Book review- The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Okay,  I love this book so much! It is different to other young adult fiction that I normally read but I really enjoyed it. The main character is called Ashala Wolf and she is the leader of a tribe of rebels that all have special supernatural talents. It is set in a government controlled dystopian world where anyone with certain gifts deemed ‘dangerous’ are taken away but nobody knows what happens to them. Ashala is captured by the soldiers and the book tells what happens to her after that and her fight for the truth and freedom. The author is Australian with Aboriginal roots. This gave the book a really cool, tribal/spiritual feel that I loved. I felt it was written well and with finesse. It did get a bit confusing in parts though as the plot jumped from different times in her life/dreams. This novel explores themes of loyalty, courage and betrayal. All is not what it seems……
Overall, a great, entralling read for fans of anything a little different.
As always, comment and let me know if you’ve read it and what you think. Or, tweet me @JuliadeRuiter

Julia :)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The value of study

I am currently studying with the Open Polytechnic and thought I would share my experience of studying while working full time. I've been thinking quite a bit lately about how much value study adds to my working life and whether its "worth it". I've decided it definitely is, even if this is how I feel sometimes!
 Study makes going to work every day have a meaning other then just earning a living. The things I learn and topics I think about  in study have helped me so much in my ability to solve tricky reference enquiries, deal with unhappy customers and make difficult decisions on the spot.  Having that background makes me feel confident that I do know what I'm doing and that I can handle anything the day may throw at me.
The paper I'm doing at the moment is called User Education and Reference and I'm finding it very relevant and timely. The first assignment is all about information literacy in libraries  and how librarians can use learning theory to make classes they may teach more beneficial. Even though I often send withering glances to my textbooks wondering why they torture me so, I do realise the value of study. It gives you that 'professional' knowledge and gives you up-to-date facts and issues to think about. I think library studies students are at the forefront of latest library issues and how to solve them. ( Not that there aren't other fabulous people out there doing the same!)

So, I will endeavour to have a more positive outlook on study and the fact that poor me has to spend evenings slogging away on my assignment after a hard day of work *sob*!

Any tips or comments welcomed, either here or on Twitter @JuliadeRuiter

Julia :)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Book Review- Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah

Kitchen Chinese is the first novel by food and travel writer Ann Mah.

You can tell she loves to write about food because the descriptions made my mouth water! The first chapter opened with a extremely enticing account of the main character eating Peking duck pancakes. The book is worth reading just for that!
This is now one of my favourite books of all time ( even though it is not young adult fiction!). I love the way it is written- with a sense of humour and little anecdotes here and there that we can all relate to.

“The vibrant depiction of Beijing, lush descriptions of sumptuous Chinese meals, and Isabelle’s struggle with how others perceive her distinguish Mah’s first novel.”

It really transported me to Beijing ( where the book is set). I could almost smell and taste the places and food Mah was describing. 
 I enjoyed reading it so much,  I only let myself read a chapter a night so it would last as long as possible :)

Books about Chinese/American seem to be relatively common in our library so I found another author who writes similar stories- Nicole Mones ( on recommendation from a patron, actually). I am now reading 'The Last Chinese Chef' and enjoying it.
If you want something a little different, light and refreshing, I thoroughly recommend giving it a go.

P.S.- If you have any book recommendations I'd be very excited! Leave a comment here or message me on Twitter @JuliadeRuiter

Monday, 6 August 2012

YA fiction- you could say I'm a fan ;)

Hi, I'm Julia and I'm addicted to reading 'young adult' fiction.
Anyone else out there love YA fiction? I'm only a recent convert to the genre but can't believe I haven't discovered it earlier!
There are heaps of things I love about YA fiction- it's to the point, there is always a conflict that actually gets resolved and they don't seem to be all doom and gloom like so many of the adult fiction I've read lately. Don't get me wrong- I do enjoy adult fiction. I've recently just finished Ann Mah's Kitchen Chinese which I enjoyed so much I read it twice :) But there is something special about YA fiction I can't define that really sucks me in. I'm a big fan of Dystopian fiction. I LOVED 'Divergent' & 'Insurgent' by Veronica Roth so much so that I think I'm going to buy my own copies. You can check out her website/blog here: ( and she's only 22!)

There are so many exciting things happening in the world of YA fiction and I can't wait to keep you all updated :)
And of course, if you have any recommendations for good YA books, let me know,

Friday, 3 August 2012

I've done it. I've finally made the committment to blog regularly about the community service I love the most- libraries. My aim is to post pertinent, current and interesting thoughts and updates about what is going on in our library here in Oamaru and in libraries around the world. Hope you enjoy!

Our lovely library :)