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 :)