Month: September 2021

Sinag Sri Lanka Foundation donates 76 books to Palmerston North City Library

The Sinag Sri Lanka Foundation of New Zealand has coordinated the donation of 76 books to Palmerston North City Library.

The books cover a wide range of genres, from novels, educational books, children’s stories and Jataka stories.

Jataka stories are Buddhist stories of the past lives of Siddhartha Gautama before he became the Buddha in his final life. These stories illustrate different teachings of relating to Buddhism. Each story features the Buddha, but in diverse forms: he appears as an animal, a king, a wandering ascetic, a monkey and more!

The donated books come in a mix of English, Tamil and Sinhala. Tamil and Sinhala are official languages of Sri Lanka. The variety of languages allows more people can discover the work of Sri Lankan authors, and so speakers of Sinhalese can access books in the language. All of the Jataka books are in English.

The books were donated by the Martin Wickramasinghe Trust Fund and Samudura Publishers. The President of the Sinag Sri Lanka Foundation of New Zealand, Mr Tishan Sampath Dissanayake helped coordinate the donation with help from the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canberra.

The books were presented to Mayor Grant Smith by Tishan Dissanayake from the Sinag Sri Lanka Foundation on Friday 24 September. A big thank you to the Sinang Sri Lanka Foundation of New Zealand and the Sri Lankan High Commission for the donation to the Library and Palmy residents!

The books will be processed and added to our collection before becoming available to borrow in the future. The library currently has around 40 books in Sinhala and Tamil for the Sri Lankan community, and this donation offers more variety, especially for children.

Kia ora rawa atu to the Sinag Sri Lanka Foundation, the Martin Wickramasinghe Trust Fund and Samudura Publisher for your kind donation!

Postscript: this post was updated on 27 September following updated information from the donors. Our apologies for the errors.

Publishing industry affected by Covid

Among the many unpleasant and upsetting effects of Covid-19, there was one that came as a complete surprise to me: the availability of books.

One of my consolations in Lockdown was that I still had books to read. When I ran out of library books I re-read some old ones I had at home. If I wanted to, I could use ebooks and e-audio (available from the Palmerston North City Library – just sign in with your card!). And I was looking forward to all the new books that would arrive once Lockdown ended.

The first effect for book-buyers when we got back in the Library at Level 2 was that Auckland was still at Level 4, and that’s where all the big distributors are. So, no new book deliveries.

Ironically, individuals could still order books from overseas, which has made Auckland publishers and booksellers understandably upset.

Libraries usually order books either direct from the publishers (mostly in Auckland) or from Library supply companies, which provide specific services we need such as partial cataloguing and processing. The company we use is in Auckland. Selection of titles could continue, we just couldn’t get any deliveries.

Even if the publisher is overseas, most deliveries go through distributors in Auckland.

This is tough for library customers in Palmerston North, but even tougher for people in Auckland whose livelihoods depend on the publishing cycle not being interrupted too much. (Plus all the booksellers around the country who are affected.) Remember that a publisher usually has to plan each release a year in advance, to coordinate getting the book printed, deliver books to shops, schedule promotions, author tours, launches, and so on.

Some titles have been delayed, and some will simply be abandoned, as publishers focus on the books they have confidence in getting a good return on. Due to the turbulence of the last couple of years, they have less capacity to take a chance on a title now.

Another thing which blindsided me: a paper shortage. For various reasons, including less plastic being used, and more deliveries happening due to online shopping, a lot of pulp now becomes packaging instead of pages.

On top of that, shipping has been massively disrupted. The cost of a shipping container has increased hugely, and will possibly do so again next year. Some people I’ve spoken to say it might double, or more. This increased cost will have to be passed on to the end user, and will affect everything from books to guitars to cars.

Is there an upside to this rather gloomy post? I like to think so. Maybe this will bring about a change in our society’s culture of consumption. Some have already chosen this path – now the rest of us are being forced to ponder it.

Climate change, colonisation, homelessness, poverty, inequal access to healthcare, the various ripple effects of Covid-19 – all of these things and more are coming to a head, and maybe there’s a better way forward if we look at them all together, holistically.

Ummm… so anyway, back to the library. Long story short: if new books become scarce, your local public library exists to provide for everyone, collectively. We’re always keen to hear your suggestions for purchases, and even if books take longer to get published and delivered, we can put your name on the list and let you know as soon as they’re available.

Long live reading!

Noho ora mai.

Piers and Bowstring Arches: The Second Fitzherbert Bridge

Image depicts concrete bridge surrounded by wooden scaffolding.

Do you remember the old Fitzherbert Bridge? Completed in 1935, this was actually the second of three vehicle bridges built to cross the Manawatu River. You can learn more about this once iconic Palmerston North structure from the display in Second Floor Heritage Area of the City Library. This features photographs, engineers’ plans, historic documents and even the menu from the civic luncheon to celebrate its opening by the Governor General. The display will be on view until 24 October. More images can be viewed here, on Manawatū Heritage.

Learning Te Reo Māori through technology

This week are we celebrating Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. Radio New Zealand shared a great story about Te reo Māori growth being boosted by apps. It talks about how more people are learning and using Te Reo Māori thanks to social media, websites and apps. Such a great thing, why rely on traditional lessons?

This article has a great list of useful apps including:

Other good apps not mentioned in the article are:

What is a karakia?

What is a karakia?

Karakia are Māori prayer and a way in how we connect with our Atua, used for spiritual connection or guidance.

How do I do a karakia?

Before you start your karakia, you need to think about what you want to pray about. 

Some prefer to close their eyes, bow their heads to the Atua above or stare at a spot and focus in on the spiritual connection and what you are asking for.

When should I do a karakia?

Anytime, anywhere, any way that you feel is comfortable.

This could be anything, from guidance when travelling afar, starting your workday/hui, before you eat, going to bed at night or finishing for the day.

Why do we do karakia?

The reasons why we do karakia and what karakia is are the same. We seek connection with our Atua for spiritual guidance or to give thanks for what we have received.

Here is a short karakia that can be used before you start your day at work or at the beginning of a hui, or the start of something special to you.


Tuia i runga

Tuia i raro

Tuia i roto

Tuia i waho

Tuia te kupu

Tuia te korero

Tuia te mātauranga

Ā kui mā

Ā koro mā


Hui e

Taiki e!

Ngā mihi.

Want to get published?

If you want to see your name in print, submit some writing to the Versions project!

The Library is running Versions again this year. We’ve put out three photos from Manawatū Heritage as prompts. Simply pick one and write something based on it. It can be a short story, a poem, a play, heck we’d accept a song if you feel like writing one! Then we publish the submissions in both physical and digital format.

This is NOT a competition. We publish ALL submissions! (Everyone’s a winner!)

If you’ve never had work in print before, it’s a real buzz.

If you want help with your writing, get in touch. We just want to encourage people to create.

Get your submission in by September 30th, 2021.

For details, head to the Versions Facebook page, or contact

The 143-Storey Treehouse – coming soon!

How many more stories can they add to this large-scale building project? I don’t know, but let’s hope they never run out of material. Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s incredibly successful book series gets another addition in October. Of course, with potential delays in shipping and printing due to Covid-19, we’re loathe to put a specific date on when it will be available, but if you put your name on the reserve list here, you’ll be notified as soon as a copy is ready for you!

Books returned after lockdown

We were closed for the first day of Delta Level 2, Wednesday 8th September, but that didn’t mean we had the day off. We were kept busy with so many items being returned and over 600 items on our request list. We found almost all of them – only 45 left on the list at the end of the day!😁

The Square book-drop, one of the many times it needed to be emptied.
Some of the holds we have found.
The Hold shelf – we needed to add some extra shelves!