Friday, 20 December 2013

Another blog to add to the graveyard

I always said I didn't want my blog to be one of those ones that ends up in the graveyard of blogs that hasn't been updated for ages, with no explanation why. Well, that's about to happen to this one. A while back I posted saying that I was taking a hiatus because life was just getting too busy but that I would be back some time in November. It's December & there hasn't been much in the way of posting. So, I've decided to abandon ship for good. While I really enjoyed blogging at the beginning, I've realised it's just not for me. So, farewell blogosphere! It was awesome while it lasted.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

LIANZA Otago/Southland Weekend School, Dunedin, 15-17 November 2013

I recently attended the Otago/Southland LIANZA Weekend School and thought I would record my thoughts on a valuable weekend. These are the points that stood out to me the most.

  • Be proud of NZ and LIANZA-we are important on the international stage-take advantage of that
  • Don't feel like you are working in isolation-there are always ways to connect
  • Use of libraries is strongly connected with academic success ( but we already knew that!) 
  • Freedom of access to information is vitally important. Librarians should be sharing knowledge whenever possible
  • Libraries ARE a core service. Communicate this clearly to people and be strong in the language you use. 
Laurinda Thomas ( LIANZA President) mentioned the IFLA Trend Report which I found fascinating. The top 5 trends are:

  1. New technology will both expand and limit who has access to information
  2. Online education will transform and disrupt tradtional learning
  3. Boundaries of data protection and privacy will be redefined
  4. Hyper connected societies will listen to and empower new groups
  5. Global information economy will be transformed by new technologies. 
Overall, it was a great weekend and I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people and catch up with others.  Here's a Storify of the weekend that Sarah Gallagher @SarahLibrarina put together:

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 15

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 15: Today's photo is a flashback to our Christmas photo in 2010! The Oamaru Library staff are skilled, friendly and always willing to help you with your enquiry. Thanks for joining us on this virtual library tour, it’s been a pleasure. We hope you learnt a bit more about all the exciting items and services the library can offer. Hope to see you soon!

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 14

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 14: Did you know we have an Adult Literacy Collection? It is hidden away near the APNK computers-please do ask a staff member if you would like direction. This collection is great for people who find reading difficult but want more mature content. Andrina, our Large Print Co-ordinator looks after this collection and is the person to talk to if you would like to know more about the collection or make some suggestions.

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 13

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 13: Local musician and Library Assistant Lynley Caldwell, is pictured with our CD collection. This collection houses a number of music CD's from many different genres- classical, jazz, contemporary, rock, meditative/relaxing and even Lynley’s own CD- ‘Waiting for the lark’-. What kind of CD’s would you like to see in the collection?

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 12

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 12: The Heritage Collection is a comprehensive collection of local history books. These are available for use in the library only. The collection will be of particular interest to local history researchers and genealogists. Located next to the Heritage Collection is the Janet Frame collection which contains a large selection of Janet Frame’s books. A number of these books are in languages such as Danish, French and German.

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 11

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 11: Customer Services Co-ordinator Brenda Wollstein is pictured in front of our Graphic Novel collection. The graphics are a very popular aspect of the library collection and we have some great titles like 'The Sandman' by Neil Gaiman and the Alex Rider series. The Children’s Area also has a graphic novel collection with books like Tintin and Asterix. Do you like reading graphics? What are your favourites?

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 10

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 10: Library Assistant Julia de Ruiter is pictured in front of her display in the children’s area. Displays are the perfect way to showcase the treasures held in our library collections. If a book on display catches your eye, it can usually be taken out there and then. Pop into the library regularly to see what great items Julia has hunted out from the children’s collections!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 9

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 9:
Fiona makes another appearance! She is pictured in our wonderful children’s area. This space is full of awesome materials to suit all kinds of ages and readers. Did you know this area houses the Parents Collection which provides resources for parents about issues their child may be going through? Topics include bullying, divorce, starting school, feelings,adoption & more. It’s a great collection which is often overlooked so be sure to check it out next time you’re in the library!

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 8

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 8:
Andrina Butcher is our Large Print Co-ordinator, which involves buying Large Print books, co-ordinating the arrival of the National Library Audio Book tapes, buying DVDs and more! She is pictured by our DVD collection which we have been expanding over the last few months. Are there any DVDs you would like to see in this collection? You can comment here or fill in one of our online suggestion to purchase forms

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 7

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 7:
Library Assistant Yvonne Wilson is pictured with our Dorothy Cayford music collection. Miss Cayford was a well-respected musician and singing teacher in Oamaru and bequeathed her sheet music collection to the library after her death in 1995. This collection is a unique and valuable asset and is of particular interest to music students and teachers. It contains notated musical scores of classical, musical and operatic genres. It also includes popular music of Miss Cayford’s time. Feel free to come and browse through the collection at your leisure.

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 6

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 6:
The Community Noticeboard is a great place to find out about different activities happening around the community. Community Services Librarian Jean Rivett organises this board so come and see her if you want to promote a community based activity.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 5

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 5:
Our public use computers are a great resource for the library. They allow students to print out homework materials, tourists to keep in touch with their families, provide access to government websites and much more. We are super lucky that the Waitaki Community can use these computers for free as they are provided by APNK ( Aoteroa People’s Network Kaharoa). APNK is part of National Library and works with local government staff at public libraries to bring a free broadband Internet service to communities around the country. Thanks @Peepsnetwork!
You can find out more about APNK here:

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 4

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 4: Chris Meech is our Reference and Heritage Librarian. He is pictured here browsing books in our reference section which is located near the APNK internet computers. These books are not for loan which means you can’t borrow them but they do contain a wealth of information. Books in this section include Black's Medical Dictionary, The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, The Oxford Companion to American Literature and much more. Feel free to ask staff at the desk for direction!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 3

Day 3:
Fiona Kerr is our Youth Librarian. She's our ukulele star and plays at Toddler Time and Wriggle and Rhyme each week! Fiona is pictured in our Young Adult area. This section is full of great books, magazines and audiobooks which you can take out for free. With the comfy armchairs and couch, it’s a great place to hang out with friends or use the wifi. What is your favourite part about our YA area? What would you like to see in it?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 2

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 2:
Jean Rivett is our Community Services Librarian. What is that, you say? Well, amongst many other things, Jean plans and promotes the majority of the events at the library, buys fiction books and much more! Jean has been working at the library for nearly 20 years so she has a lot of experience to draw on, especially in helping you find the perfect book to read. The fiction section is a treasure trove of reading material so why not come in and explore?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Oamaru Library Tour: Day 1

Welcome to Day 1 of the Oamaru Library Tour! Today I want to introduce you to Philip van Zijl who has been our Library Manager since early 2011. Philip is originally from South Africa and enjoys spearfishing and tramping. You can often spot Philip around the library so feel free to come and have chat.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Oamaru Library Tour!

Exciting news! Keep an eye out for our virtual Oamaru Library tour series that will be happening soon on the Waitaki District Libraries Facebook page and on our Twitter account @WDLibraries. Each day we will post a photo showcasing a different aspect of the library and the awesome services we offer. You can find posts on Twitter using the hashtag #OamaruLibraryTour. Stay tuned! :)

Monday, 26 August 2013


I've decided to take a temporary break from my Weekly Inspirations posts and from blogging regularly. I'm definitely not abandoning ship but life is just too crazy right now. I might post occasionally if the inspiration hits but at the moment that is not very often! I'm still studying-my last paper so I can get my Certificate in Literature and Services for Children and Young People and I'm finding it is taking a lot of time and brain power. I'm definitely still committed to blogging and will start up again in late October. I'll miss posting my thoughts on here for the next couple of months but am looking forward to coming back refreshed and ready to go! The cute picture is my animal alter-ego waving goodbye (temporarily).

P.S.I'll still be active on Twitter so feel free to chat me up ;) @JuliadeRuiter

Monday, 19 August 2013

Book Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore is an American author and has written a trilogy of fantasy books, of which Fire is the second. This was my first attempt at reading a 'hardcore' fantasy book for quite a while and I finished it in one day! It usually takes me about two chapters to know whether a book is going to be a winner for me or not and as soon as I started reading Fire I could tell I was going to enjoy it. 

This novel follows a young woman named Fire who is part human/part 'Monster.' Because she is so beautiful and can control people with her mind she is hated and feared by everyone around her. The powerful King of her country finds out about her talents and commands her to travel to the King's City so she can interrogate prisoners for him. As she embarks on this journey, she ends up learning a lot about herself and about human nature. There are the usual evil characters, unexpected romance and plenty of action & fighting scenes.

One of the key factors that make a book enjoyable for me is how I relate to the characters. This wasn't a problem with Fire. Although she isn't my favourite book character ever ( that would have to go to Tris from Veronica Roth's Divergent series), I was definitely on her side.

What stood out to me the most in this novel was how complete it was. I feel that with fantasy novels, the settings and characters are often very complicated and hard to keep track of. Whilst there were a lot of characters in this novel and the setting changed numerous times, it still felt pulled together and complete.

I would recommend this book to older teens ( 15 & older) because of more mature themes.   ( But of course as a librarian it is not my job to censor!)

Overall I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Weekly Inspiration ~ 5-9 August

Actually enjoying an assignment:
I'm studying a children's services paper at the moment ( of my own choice!) and the assignments look really valuable. I'm looking forward to learning about lots of other practical areas of children's librarianship.

Pittacus Lore:
I've been making a conscious effort to try and read more for relaxation purposes rather than textbooks or professional reading. This series has been really popular in our library and I can see why. I've finished both the first and second in one day each and I can't wait to read the third.

Kristin Cashore:
Cashore has written a rather gritty YA fantasy series which exceeded expectations. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, Graceling and Fire, more than the third, Bitterblue. I would recommend these books to older teens as they deal with some quite grown up themes ( not that it is our job to censor of course). 

My job:
Has anyone had those days or weeks, when everything seems to be ticking along nicely, problems have been resolved and you find renewed passion for your job? Well, I'm having one of those phases now and I hope it lasts for a long time!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Weekly inspiration ~ 29 July - 2 August

The end of Comment July!! 
I enjoyed this month of commenting on blogs every day of the week but boy, am I glad it's over! You can read my reflections here.

Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men:
This song makes me feel nostalgia for something I can't quite put my finger on. 

Planning a jungle themed Toddler Time:
It still brings a smile to my face when I realise that I get to listen to the Jungle Book soundtrack as part of my job!

Hairy Maclary:
I had heaps of fun planning and delivering this specially themed Toddler Time. We also had some special canine visitors :)

As always, I'd love to hear what has been inspiring you this week. Just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Thursday, 1 August 2013

My Top five YA novels

In the time I've been reading YA novels, these are the five books that have really stood out to me and that I'd be happy to read again and again. I've done book reviews for all of these books here on the blog except Winter of Fire, so just click on the tiles for a more in depth review.

1: Somebody everybody listens to by Suzanne Supplee: 
I reviewed this book for one of our local papers,The Waitaki Herald.  You can read it here. 
I really, really enjoyed this. 

2: Winter of Fire by Sheryl Jordan:
I got this book given to me as a prize when I was at primary school. It has such good memories associated with it, but I've also reread it as an adult and really enjoyed it. ( I haven't put a book cover on because none of the ones I can find are the same as the copy I own!)

3: Divergent by Veronica Roth:
Ah, Veronica Roth. In my eyes she is almost equal to JK Rowling. Probably the best YA series I've read. Cannot wait for Allegiant!!!!

4: Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt: 
This is the most recent read for me. I really enjoyed the story line and thought it was something a bit different.


5:Saving June by Hannah Harrington:
I read this as an ebook while I was on holiday and I probably enjoyed it the most out of all the books listed here. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Comment July: The End!

I think I'm the only person who participated in Comment July so I'm not going to feel guilty for finishing up early! I didn't do #BlogJune because I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up so I was quite excited at the prospect of Comment July. So, here are my thoughts and observations about the month, in no particular order or importance:

  1. It was hard to stay on track
  2. Finding blogs to comment on was easy at first but became progressively more difficult to track down
  3. I felt I rarely had anything of real value to say
  4. I discovered some interesting blogs and helped other people do the same
  5. It was a good exercise in planning ahead and being organised
  6. It helped me post on my blog more often
  7. I wish more people would comment on my blog but after my experience it's probably because they don't feel there is anything they need to say.
  8. Some blogs were super easy to comment on & others were a pain!
  9. Blogs are great sources of inspiration
  10. I don't like black backgrounds on blogs/websites
  11. I'm glad it's over and I don't feel guilty
  12. It was good to challenge myself :D

Friday, 26 July 2013

Weekly Inspiration ~ 22 - 26 July

30 Dr. Seuss quotes that can change your life: 
I've always been a Dr. Seuss fan so when I discovered these quotes via Pinterest I was very excited. My favourites are numbers 7, 25 and 28. Which ones do you like?

Hairy Maclary's 30th Birthday
I've been busy planning a Hairy Maclary themed toddler time for next week and it's been really fun revisiting some of my favourite childhood books. This one I remember particularly well :)

Comment July: Weekly Roundup #4

It's been a quiet week on the #CommentJuly front, mainly I think because I'm running out of blogs to comment on and can't find many posts that I feel are worth contributing to!

The Adventures of Library Girl:

The 'M' Word-Marketing Libraries:

The Busy Librarian

If you know of any great library related blogs that I haven't already featured on here, I'd love to hear from you! Just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Holiday fun

I had the best experience this afternoon. During the school holidays our computer bookings are through the roof and I love it! It’s a great chance to connect with kids who wouldn’t normally come into the library. The opportunity to get to know them a little better came today when one 7 year old asked me if I wanted to play Hangman with him. He was so cute and earnest I couldn’t resist! After running it by my manager ( it’s not strictly work) I got the go ahead so I headed out the front to where about five kids were gathered. For about half an hour I played Chess, Hangman and Guess Who. It was so fun seeing them become more comfortable with me and I was able to share with them some of the things I get to do as a “li-bear-ian”  :)
It's moments like these, that make me love my job and our little ( ish)  library even more.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Weekly Inspiration ~ 15-19 July

It's been a quiet week on the inspiration front so here is my lone piece of randomness :)

Agnostic Maybe:
I like this blog in general, but the post I've linked to really stood out to me. I've commented on it as part of #CommentJuly so read my previous post for more details.

And because I can't leave this post with just one item on it here's the quote I've been saying to myself every morning when I drag myself out of bed.

Comment July: Blog of the week #3

This was a hard decision this week because I read some really awesome blogs but the one with the content that has really stuck with me is:

Agnostic Maybe!

Comment July Weekly Roundup #3

The blogs I've commented on this week have been a bit more library oriented which I've enjoyed more than the book/review focused sites I commented on last week. One negative experience I've had is, after commenting on a blog I discovered I'd been automatically signed up to a random website and started receiving emails from them. It took me about 15 minutes to deactivate my so-called account. Not a pleasant experience.

Library lost and found:
I'm subscribed to this blog and find that about 80% of the posts have really resonated with me. Definitely worth checking out. 

Reading with tea:
Another book review type blog that just makes me want to go and read in a cozy corner for the rest of the day

Agnostic Maybe:
Great blog. Enough said. 

The Picky Girl:
I didn't like the content of this blog as much as I liked the design. Because most of the posts were book reviews, it wasn't of 'library knowledge' value as such but I'll remember this blog as a readers advisory tool in the future.

Kiwi Librarian:
The post I read ( Perched on a high horse) was one that I really identified with. Awesome blog full of great insights.

Is anyone else in the blogosphere participating in #CommentJuly? If you are, I'd love to hear from you! Just tweet me @JuliadeRuiter or leave a comment here on my blog :)

Friday, 12 July 2013

Comment July Weekly Roundup #2

This week's roundup seems to feature a lot of blogs about reading and books rather than libraries. Nevertheless I enjoyed reading them!

The Octopus Librarian:
Abigail Willemse has only just recently started her blog but it is full of great insights and information about the library profession. 

Miss Bookish Girl:
Miss Bookish Girl describes her blog as 'Musings on cooking, books and other sundries of life' which is right up my alley. A great blog to get lost in.

A Striped Armchair:
I enjoyed this blog because it had very in depth book reviews. I'm not very good at writing reviews so I always appreciate when someone takes the time to write detailed posts.

Amy Reads:
This blog is similar to the above blog and I also enjoyed browsing through the posts.

Dolce Bellezza:
Yet another blog chock full of book reviews-yay! :) I love the vintage vibe of this blog.

If you've been participating in Comment July, I'd love to hear what blogs you have commented on and any thoughts you have about it. Just leave a few lines here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Comment July: Blog of the Week #2

This week's blog of the week is .....

Two of my favourite things are books and food so I really enjoyed this blog and am looking forward to reading it on a more regular basis :)

Weekly Inspiration ~ 8-12 July

Positive quotes gallery:
I recently discovered this great website with heaps of positive and motivational quotes which I've found have really resonated with me.

Castle Hill:
Last weekend I stayed at Lake Lyndon Lodge and we made an afternoon trip to Castle Hill. It was the only time it didn't rain during the whole weekend so I took the opportunity to snap a couple of pics. Here is my favourite ( taken with my iPhone so quality isn't amazing)

Into the River:
This blog post by Emma Neale perfectly describes how I and probably many other librarians feel about this controversial book.

As always, I'd love to hear what has been inspiring you this week. Just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

20 random things about me

1: I'm extremely impulsive

2: I have two brothers and two sisters

3: My favourite colour is blue but I will always secretly love pink

4: I'm obsessed with watching random YouTube videos

5: I LOVE technology especially learning new things

6: The Disney cartoon version of Anastasia is my favourite movie

7: I don't like fruit except really summery stuff like pineapple or nectarines

8: I almost studied occupational therapy before the library sucked me in :)

9: I have an irrational fear of spiders

10: I would rather hang out with my family then anything else

11: One of my proudest achievements to date was when I won Best Pianist for our House Choirs and Best Director for House Dramas at high school ( about 5 years ago, but still important to me!)

12: I literally love every kind of music out there: country, pop, dubstep, rap, reggae, rock, classical- you name it I've probably got it.

13: Coffee is awesome

14: I am a compulsive list maker. I just can't help myself.

15: I play piano and guitar and would love to play cello one day.

16: I detest any kind of physical activity, except maybe dancing. And possibly yoga.

17: I would happily be a hermit for the rest of my life ( I'd probably draw the line at growing a shaggy beard though)

18: I hate all seafood

19: My  favourite musician is Mark Knopfler.

20: I could eat Watties baked beans every day for the rest of my life.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Weekly Inspiration ~ 1-5 July

This week has been a fun one, with lots of school groups performing in the library as part of Maori Language Week 2013.

Comment July: I've been very inspired after reading through lots of blogs and commenting on the ones that really spoke to me. It's been a great experience so far. See my previous post for a roundup of all the blogs I've commented on this week.

Libraries are treasures: I enjoyed reading this article about how precious libraries are. Here is one quote that stood out to me in particular:

"I get butterflies just thinking about all the words, ideas and knowledge contained on those shelves. What a privilege we have to walk among great writers, ancient to contemporary. What history we can witness, what language we can absorb. A public library is a treasure"

Rediscovering favourite songs: I've been listening to 'Send me on my way' by Rusted Root non stop for the last week. Matilda used to be my favourite movie as a kid ( I'm pretty sure I watched it every Friday night) and I could never find the song that played as the movie ended, until I randomly came across it while looking for songs for an upcoming mini road trip. I was super stoked!

She was a bookworm like me!

As always, I'd love to hear, read or see anything that you have found inspiring or motivating over the last week. Just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Comment July: Blog of the Week #1

Drumroll please..........
This weeks blog of the week is:

I have really enjoyed looking at Megan's blog over the time she has been posting.I like that she is unafraid to think outside the square and challenge traditional methods of library operation. I'm eagerly anticipating future posts. #NoPressure Megan ;)

Comment July Weekly Roundup #1

I've really enjoyed the first week of Comment July. Here is a list of all the blogs I've commented on this week.

Audacious Fizz: 
I wish I could comment on all the posts on this fabulous blog. I love the way Megan challenges librarians to think in different ways- I know she has definitely inspired me to make some changes in my day to day work activities.

The Well Read Kitty:
Reading is one of my favourite hobbies so I loved reading this blog all about books!

My Best Friends Are Books:
If you want the latest information about children's and YA books, Zac's blog is the place to go!

The post I read-'So, you want to be a librarian?' was such a good one. I liked that it made me think in different ways and really assess why I enjoy being a librarian so much.

Letters to a Young Librarian:
I really enjoyed this post about why manning the circulation desk is so important.

If you've been participating in Comment July, I'd love to hear what blogs you have commented on and any thoughts you have about it. Just leave a few lines here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Friday, 28 June 2013

Weekly Inspiration ~ 24-28 June

It's been great getting back to work after being sick with the flu but it hasn't all been smooth sailing. While I was sick I was getting a little stir crazy so I worked on quite a few blog posts. When I got to work and wanted to publish one I noticed they were all gone! I'm so gutted as I'm always so careful with saving my work. I've tried to write them again but the inspiration just isn't there. Has anyone had a similar experience? Is there any way to find my posts?

On a brighter note, here are the things that have been inspiring me this week.

The Librarian's nitty-gritty guide to social media: This book is so good! I can't stop raving about it to anyone who will listen. Definitely recommend this :)

Maori Language Week: I look forward to this every year. Our library always hosts lots of school groups performing Waiata and Kapa Haka and they are so cute! Here's a picture of a group from last year performing :)

Seven Sharp's Sharpest Town: Was stoked to find that Oamaru made the cut! I'm looking forward to seeing what parts of town the team have covered and whether it's a true representation of how awesome Oamaru is.

As always, I'd love to hear, read or see anything that you have found inspiring or motivating over the last week. Just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Thursday, 27 June 2013


This post is inspired by Abigail Willemse's post ' #CommentJuly- The Ground Rules'. I thought I would make my own guidelines on here for quick and easy reference. See Abby's blog also for how #CommentJuly came about :)

So, here are my guidelines for #CommentJuly:

1: I will comment on at least one blog every day for the month of July. As I'm going to be away I may comment twice on some days in advance.

2: At the end of every week I will post a link to all the blogs I've commented on and do a quick feature on the blog I found most valuable that week.

3: I will also post to Twitter every time I comment so that other participants have easy access to blogs I've found.

Are you going to be participating in #CommentJuly? If so, post a comment and your blog URL in the comments section & I'll make sure I check your blog out :)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Book Review: Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

This is another book that I'd been meaning to read for ages and because I got a nasty case of the flu I (finally) had nothing to do but sit in bed, reading and sleeping ( the one perk of being sick).

The book follows Jenna, a 14 year old girl whose face has been badly disfigured from a car accident.She has been practically housebound for a year after the accident, wearing a mask to help her face heal and dealing with the trauma from the accident.

Soon after she plucks up courage to go outside into the 'real world', she runs into a gypsy boy Ryan, who strangely, doesn't judge her for her terrible burns. Ryan also has something he is ashamed of and I think this helps cement their connection.
This is the beginning of a strong friendship that eventually turns into a romantic relationship.

Ryan lives with his Mum, who makes and sells jewellery, on a river boat. Ryan just wants to have an ordinary life and stay in one place long enough to make meaningful friendships. Jenna's family are trying to live a quiet life, but find it difficult continually seeing the boy who caused the accident.

What sets it apart from other YA novels is the subject matter. Jarratt deals with some pretty sensitive issues -alcohol abuse, mental health and even murder. Jarratt navigates these areas with class. She delves into the characters emotions and lets us feel the anger, sadness and fear that they feel. For me, this made what could have been a typical YA novel into a really special one.

For her debut novel, I think Laura Jarratt has done a really good job of crafting a relatable and satisfying read.

I'd love to hear your recommendations for any books you've enjoyed, just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Friday, 21 June 2013

Weekly inspiration ~ 17-21 June

Due to flooding, snow and a nasty case of the flu, this instalment of 'Weekly Inspiration' has been cancelled. Hope everyone is keeping safe and warm!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Movie Review: Song for Marion

Song for Marion: with Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Eccleston, Gemma Arterton.

What a fantastic film! When I Googled it, it had really bad reviews which strangely enough, just made me want to go and see for myself. After reading the synopsis I thought it sounded like something only people over 60 would watch ( no offence anyone!) but still an interesting movie. While the majority of the people in the cinema were over 60, at least from what I could tell (!), I loved this film so much. I went with my friend and we both couldn't believe how much we enjoyed it.

It follows an elderly couple Arthur ( Stamp) and Marion ( Redgrave), who has cancer. Marion is a member of  the OAPz ( Old age pensioners, z for the 'hip' factor) choir led by the vivacious Elizabeth (Arterton). She faithfully attends even though she is quite ill.

Arthur is an extremely grumpy and pessimistic man while Marion is the opposite and lives her life with happiness and a sunny outlook. When she takes a turn for the worse and dies, Arthur resigns himself to the fact that he will be sad and alone until he too dies. But, with some encouragement from Elizabeth he rediscovers his love of singing and joins the OAPz.

The movie continues with the OAPz entering a prestigious choir competition and some problems between Arthur and his son. It is resolved in the end, in a very realistic way which some critics have cited as being anti-climactic, which I completely disagree with. I thought the end was very moving ( if you've seen this film, let me know what you thought).

I don't know if the people who reviewed this saw the same film as me because I thought it was so moving and poignant. It really brought home to me the importance of family, how precious life is and making the most of your situation.

I would highly recommend this film, if you're in the mood for a well acted, moving and life affirming movie experience.

Have you seen this film? Let me know what your thoughts, just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Friday, 14 June 2013

Weekly inspiration ~ 10-14 June

Oliver Jeffers books: I've only recently discovered these picture books and they are so cool! I particularly like Stuck- the illustrations are brilliant!

Discretion: how far is too far?: A topic that comes up frequently in discussions with other librarians is that of discretion when wiping overdue fees etc. Some people think that older patrons should have their fines wiped automatically, other feel that rules should never be broken. I'm a fence sitter on this one- see my previous blog post for more thoughts.

Books on Prescription: Waitaki District Libraries recently launched this great scheme. You can check out an article about it here. Basically, the Southern Primary Health Organisation donates a range of mental health and well being books to the library, which people can then check out 'on prescription'. They may get their referral from a doctor, psychiatrist or mental health specialist. I think the library is the perfect place for these books to be accessed, as the library is seen as a safe place for many people. 

What has been inspiring or thought provoking to you this week? Just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Discretion: how far is too far?

'Use your discretion' is a phrase that comes up frequently at our weekly staff meetings. It is normally the conclusion we come to after discussing issues like whether to wipe overdue fees for older patrons and whether or not patrons should be given access to our front desk telephone.

While I agree in theory with this view, sometimes it doesn't work in a library's favour. For example, if some librarians are extremely lenient with writing off overdue fees and others fastidiously stick to the rule book what does that say about the library? That it doesn't have clear rules and policies? That it is prepared to be flexible in order to please patrons? That a bit of give and take is acceptable? My personal solution to problems like a large amount of overdue fees that a patron is questioning is to halve them ( if reasonable). That way, the patron (theoretically) goes away happy and the library has reinforced their overdue books policy while also showing some goodwill towards the patron.

I, for one, am all for the freedom to make professional decisions whilst at the circulation desk but I also like to know where the boundaries are. I think if we give free reign of discretion as a quick 'fix it' solution it can do the library a disservice. Patrons may not know where they stand and would also have the right to question why some librarians follow the rules to the letter and why some seem to disregard the rules altogether. Also, if you are regularly discussing issues like this, maybe some policy changes need to happen. I think it's important for all staff to be aware of what the preferred policy is for any tricky situations, but also to feel confident that they can use their own judgement if necessary.

What are your thoughts on discretion? I'd love to hear them/discuss any tricky situations you've had- just leave a comment here or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Top five 'Coffee Table' books

Here's a list of books I've read that I would love to stack on my coffee table. I own one of them ( Cupcakes and Cashmere) and plan to to own the others one day :)

1. Cupcakes and Cashmere by Emily Schuman: This is a great book to flick through and get tips for decorating your home, packing for trips and how to achieve that perfect smoky eye. Beautifully photographed and designed. Her blog is also well worth checking out.

2. Hers: design with a feminine touch by Jacqueline de Montravel: This book has tons of great ideas to spice up different areas of your home. A very glamorous book with achievable ideas. Be warned: this book will make you want to go and revamp every nook and cranny of your home! 

3. Shabby Chic Interiors by Rachel Ashwell: I love Shabby Chic style! Enough said.

4. At my French table by Jane Webster: I haven't actually read the text in this book through properly but it is so pretty and filled with gorgeous photos, I had to include it.

5. My Amalfi Coast by Amanda Tabberer: This book single handedly started my obsession with Italy! Love this glimpse into rural/local Italian life. Stunning photographs and just an all around gorgeous book.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Book Review: The Last Quarter of the Moon by Chi Zijian

This book is written by award winning Chinese novelist Chi Zijian.The book follows the Evenki tribe who roam the remote forests of China, raising reindeer to trade for supplies.

The story begins with the tribe voting whether to settle in a village nearby or whether to continue their nomadic lifestyle.
We never find out the main characters age, but know that she is an elderly woman telling her story. She has a peaceful childhood which ends in the 1930's when the Japanese army invades China. Her tribe cannot avoid being involved in the war which forces them to take steps to becoming less isolated. I really enjoy historical books so this was a major seller for me when deciding to pick this up.

 This book began beautifully. Here's an excerpt:

'A long time confidante of the rain and snow, I am ninety years old. The rain and snow have weathered me, and I too have weathered them. Nowadays the summer rains are more and more sporadic, the winter snows lighter by the year. They're like my roe-deerskin under-bedding, which has shed it's hairs from constant rubbing. It's thick undercoat has vanished with the wind, leaving behind scars accumulated over many moons. Seated on the deerskin, I'm like a hunter watching over a salt lick, but rather than deer with their beautiful erect horns, fierce winds swirling with sand awaits me.'

 I loved the narrative- it made me feel as if I was sitting around a campfire listening to old stories. The way Chi describes nature is so beautiful and calming. She has a way of capturing what we feel and putting it into words.

This novel had a slightly tragic feel to it while also reminding us of the beauty of the simple things in life. I can't fault anything about this book. It is a eye-opening read and one which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Weekly inspiration ~ 3-7 June

Hope everyone had a safe and relaxing Queen's Birthday weekend- I heard there were no deaths on the road so that is awesome news. I headed up to Christchurch to catch up with my sister and had a great time. We went to Lyttleton, the mall ( if you know me, that's no surprise!) and the Botanical Gardens which was gorgeous. Here's a crazy photo I took in the really, really strong wind in Lyttleton- literally thought I was going to get blown away!

Here are the things that have been inspiring me this week:

LIS discoveries:That awesome moment when you realise that you can use the search box  in circulation history, instead of scrolling through tons of pages to find out if a patron has had a book! Brilliant.

New ways of searching: My current assignment focuses on the finer points of searching on catalogues and databases- truncation, wildcards, Boolean logic etc. While I'm very familiar with these I don't tend to use them. But, after working on this assignment I'm determined to try and incorporate them more into my searching skills. Do you have any tips and tricks for better searching?

Currently Reading: The last quarter of the moon. I'm loving this book by Chinese author Zijian Chi. It is beautifully written and her descriptions of the Chinese landscape are amazing. Full book review to come soon.

Three things libraries need to do to survive: I thought this blog post had some really great ideas, especially the one about libraries needing to get a new definition of who we are and what we do.

I'd love to hear what you've found interesting or motivating this week, just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Friday, 31 May 2013

Censorship: a dilemma

Censorship has always been something I've been quite intrigued and interested by, but have never really had a chance to apply to a real life situation. Until now!

There has been an adult fiction series- The Assassin's Creed that has been extremely popular with primary school aged children. I know that the video game has a rating of at least R16, so naturally staff are concerned that the content wouldn't be appropriate.

We had a discussion about it and decided all we could do was let the parents know if we happened to see them that the content may be too violent or explicit etc for the children. One of our concerns is that parents may question why staff are letting these books go out to junior borrowers.

I looked back over my old Children's Literature paper I did through the Open Polytechnic and most of the readings said that librarians are there to encourage intellectual freedom. I completely agree with this but also feel that there is a fine line between being neutral and non-judgemental  when it comes to what borrowers choose to read and making sure everyone feels that the library is a safe place for families to go.

I remember my Mum not letting me read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when I was 11 because she thought it was too dark. At the time, I thought it was ridiculous (and I was already halfway through it!) but now I realize it was a form of censorship that parents have a right to impose. As librarians we have a different role but I still feel that we should be looking after our impressionable younger borrowers while still giving them freedom to read whatever they choose.

Of course, the dilemma I mentioned in the title is that we aren't sure what to do about this series. Do we just ignore the fact that kids are getting the books out and leave it to the parents to censor? Do we put a restriction on the series? Do we direct them to another series similar to it but more age appropriate? Is this any of our business and should we just let it be?

What are your thoughts on this library issue? I'd love to read your comments/feedback here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter with the hashtag #censorship


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Movie Review: W.E.

 W.E. with:  Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, James D'Arcy, Oscar Isaac. (2011)

I thought I'd mix things up a bit and review this movie our library recently acquired, which I love. Directed by Madonna, this movie is set in the present day and also in the 1980's. It follows two women- one is the infamous Wallis Simpson, the other a New Yorker with the same name and a keen interest in her life. 

The thing I most enjoyed about the movie was the plot. It changes seamlessly between the two women. Modern day Wallis is somewhat obsessed with the real Wallis Simpson and visits an exhibit about her at a local museum every day. As she examines pieces on display from Wallis' life ( a cocktail glass for example) the film enters real Wallis' world and starts telling her story. Both Wallis' were victims of abusive marriages but I thought Abbie Cornish  (modern day Wallis) did a stellar job of portraying this.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the cast was perfect, the settings were beautiful and the fashion was gorgeous. The whole story had a very glamorous feel to it. The film felt very authentic, for her directing debut I thought Madonna did a great job. I highly recommend this movie.