Neutral or?

I have been thinking about neutrality over the last few days, especially as it relates to work. On Saturday I got the 3rd-to-last copy of Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics from our local bookshop and it will be available to the public tomorrow. I have a personal opinion about the book but it’s irrelevant; as a book buyer my job is to buy what people want regardless of my personal opinions or preferences. Want lesbian vampire mysteries set in the Wild West and translated from Chinese? Sure, let me see what I can find for you.

On the other hand…when it comes to looking after our kids, abuse, injustice, and wars I am not neutral and just can’t be. I watch the news at night and weep,  and I try to understand what is happening and why.

The situation in Ferguson makes me so terribly sad. I do not understand how Police can ever justify shooting an unarmed black youth. While I don’t condone the looting etc, I think I can kind of understand why they get to that point, our of sheer frustration and a seeming lack of options.

I watch the situation in #Ferguson and am pleased that ‘my kids’ – the kids in my communities – do not grow up in the shadow of so much violence, but sad for those kids that have such hard lives. Neutral? Hell no!


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Injury break

Two years ago I had a car accident due to a drunk driver and damaged my shoulder. This led to de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, a painful inflammation of the tendon that runs from thumb to shoulder. Aka texter’s thumb! They threatened to put my wrist in plaster 18 months ago but we got it under control.

My husband has some serious health issues and, while he was out of town for two days seeing the surgeon and discussing some very, very scary options, I crafted endlessly because it’s my stress relief. Overuse of scissors = major flare-up. I am doing no art, craft, letter writing or blogging for a while to let it heal. See you all in a week or three…



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Family history

Today I have been reading an article someone has sent for the community newspaper my husband and I publish every month, about the WWI Roll of Honor board at Kakaramea. the same person sent me one last month about the Alton War Memorial. It’s got me thinking about all the amazing information we hold, and the fact that quite a lot of it is not easily findable for people. I’d love to get it all digitized, but that takes time and money. On the other hand, I’m aware that increasingly it is the unique holdings of museum and libraries that are significant. I think this is a project that has to go on my ‘needs doing’ radar. Just add it to the list….

And from this month’s as yet unpublished Patea & Waverley Press — The photo below  is Frank Anthony. His father ran the Manutahi Hotel in the early 1900s. Frank & his 3 siblings went to Kakaramea School during this time. Then the family moved to a remote farm at Whakamara. When WWI broke out he joined the Royal Navy & was injured in 1916, with long term lung damage, he was repatriated back to NZ in 1918, & returned to Taranaki.

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These are some of the things that have inspired me recently, right up till this evening:

  • Seeing New Professionals working hard on their careers
  • Watching Twitterbrarians being so dedicated to what they do
  • The #LIANZA14 programme – really looking forward to it
  • My new art supplies (not that I bought any, of course!)
  • The #LIANZAcba winners tonight
  • A new art group on FB that’s great fun
  • My staff, who just keep on rocking
  • The new girl’s bookclub in Waverley that they are running themselves


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When people need help

I watched Lotta Dann on Seven tonight talking about her alcoholism, and how she has beaten it. She chose to tackle it on her own, but many (most?) people need help. I admire her for speaking out, and Corrin for being so supportive.

I’ve written about this before, but it sticks with me, so …. a few years ago a young man wanted to get a job at the local meat works but couldn’t because he failed the drug test. We encouraged him to quit the drugs and he talked to us often. All we could do was encourage him, and suggest support networks. When he got the job he came in to tell us and was so proud of himself, and excited to be earning good money.


We are in a unique position to help people in so many ways, which is a huge privilege but also brings a burden of confidentiality. We have to make sure we take care of ourselves and each other, because people’s stories can be harrowing. Do you have a support network so you can keep supporting others?

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Getting my ducks in a row


I try hard to be organised. Honestly, I do! As a full time library manager with two committee roles, and active art practice and a monthly community newspaper it pays me to keep my ducks in a row. Can you hear the but coming?

I use GoogleDocs, EverNote and OneDrive. They are all okay but none does quite what I want, and may be because I am not sure exactly what it is I need. Do I need instant access anywhere, or brilliant searching/filing tools, or easy sharing or?  The other problem is lack of consistency on my part. One committee email gets filed in EverNote while another goes in a folder in my Inbox.

Does anyone out there have the perfect ducks in a row solution? I’d love to hear about it.

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Cool teens comp

We’re doing a cool Instagram competition for our teens as part of the coming school holidays and the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards. I’m excited because, I hope, the kids will be excited.  

My staff and I are coming up with ideas of how the kids can earn the segments on their Hell Pizza wheels – so far we have come up with quite a few choices and need to select three or four of them. Here’s what we have so far:

  • Email/facebook us a book review.
  • We organise questions and clues for them to find certain books and answer some questions about the books.
  • Answer some questions from the library catalogue that we have prepared.
  • Create an illustration (graffiti art or cartoon etc) from a book they have read.
  • Do the Instagram competition.
  • Complete a page of the holiday booklet.
  • Come in and read for 5 minutes to a librarian.
  • Read a finalist book and get 2 clicks on your pizza disc.
  • Tell us about what you read.
  • Draw us an A4 picture about a book your read.
  • Write a short book review.

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Librarians can’t help themselves!

A colleague and I are in Wellington for some r&r prior to me attending a LIANZA meeting tomorrow. We have shopped, although I suspect that should be SHOPPED, and had amazing food. But we have also visited Te Takere, and had a tour of NZMS with Andy Fenton @fentnz this morning. Because librarians just can’t help themselves…

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Bit of work, bit of leisure

My colleague Maria and I are in Wellington – part work, part leisure. Tonight we had a fabulous dinner at the Intercontinental. I had beef tenderloin with truffle jus; oh my! Tomorrow morning we’re off to see Andy at Micrographics for a scanner demo. All good fun. Now my lavender pillow is calling me…

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Yesterday I overheard a teen on her phone in the library – Nah, I’m at the library relaxing, you come here… How cool is that!



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