Author: Craig Johnston

‘Reading Unleashed’

with Canine Friends Pet Therapy and Palmerston North City Library

Reading to dogs can offer children a non-judgmental, calm, and supportive environment in which to practice both their reading and reading aloud skills. Studies have shown an association between reading to dogs and improvement in reading, motivation, emotional wellbeing, self-esteem, confidence, self-perception, and/or concentration. It is also suggested that the presence of dogs can help reduce a child’s stress levels and, thereby, possibly helping the young reader to develop a more positive approach to learning.

Excited by such potential, Palmerston North City Library and Canine Friends Pet Therapy are very happy to introduce ‘Reading Unleashed’ – a free programme where children can practice their reading in a fun way by reading to one of Canine Friends’ beautiful dogs.

Sessions are available for primary school aged children, and currently run at the Central Library on Wednesdays 3.30pm – 4.30pm during term time. Individual sessions run for 15 minutes and bookings are essential: email The programme also runs at Awapuni and Roslyn branches but is currently on hold due to building maintenance. Please visit the branches’ FAQ pages on our website for updates.

Look forward to meeting you at ‘Reading Unleashed’.

Kay: Content Development Librarian

So you’d like to start a Book Group… 

Ka pai! We love to help book groups thrive. Here are some top tips:  

Set the tone  

Would you like a single genre such as fantasy or biographies, something niche like alien romance, or would you prefer to mix it up with a variety of options? Is your group going to delve deep and get analytical or are you going to keep the tone casual? Either way, it’s important to treat members’ viewpoints with kindness and respect.  

Make a schedule 

Discuss how often you’ll meet and set an initial time that works for everyone. Will it be for an hour after work or a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon? Will you meet in-person, online, or a combination of both? Do you need to book a location? After your first meeting, you’ll have a better idea of how much time your group will need.  

Plan your meetings 

Even for the most casual gathering, it can be helpful to have a little bit of structure for example, socialising for the first 10-15mins then using some book discussion questions to settle in.  

Some great examples can be found here: 

Decide what to read  

This is likely to depend on the members in your group, but some theme ideas include: 

  • Changing the genre each month.  
  • Reading your way around the world with books set in different countries.  
  • Book-to-movie adaptions. 
  • Choosing books set in a certain decade or setting such as beach, city, space etc. 
  • Having a colour theme such as red covers.  
  • Choosing award-winning authors or short-lists such as the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.  
  • Having each member share what they’ve been reading lately.  
  • Following a celebrity book group and unashamedly stealing their choices!  
  • Join in the Big Library Read which happens each May – unlimited digital copies!  
  • Talk to your local librarian, sign up to our monthly newsletter or browse what’s new on our website. 

Accessible Books 

We have a range of formats to suit a variety of reading styles and needs including standard or large print, CD or MP3 and books in a variety of languages including Te Reo Māori. Use your membership number and PIN to access eBooks and Audiobooks on the Libby and Borrow Box apps. 

And if you’d rather have all the fun and no responsibility, check out the growing range of book groups available through the City Library.

Happy reading! 

Awapuni Library is closed

While Awapuni Library is getting some repair work done, we’ve got some great news – we’re still here for you!

We’ve set up some pop-up libraries around the area so you can still get your reading fix and borrow all your favourite books. Check this list for times and dates. We’re also pleased to let you know that our programmes are still going ahead.

Check this FAQ page regularly to stay up to date with the repairs and any changes to our services.

We can’t wait to see you soon!

Mobile Library timetable update

A few tweaks have been made to the Mobile Library timetable. Most of the stops are unchanged, but if you’re a regular user of the service, please check the timetable on our website just in case.

If you’ve never used the Mobile Library before, maybe now is the time to get onboard? If the Mobile stops near your house, you might find it very useful because you can reserve books from any of the other library locations and have them driven to you! The Mobile also has its own stock, which is refreshed regularly, so you can make your selections when it comes around, if you don’t have any reserved items to pick up.

If you don’t have a library card, you can get one on the bus!

You’ll also see the Mobile Library at events such as Explore Esplanade Day.

The Palmerston North Mobile Library service is 50 years old this year. Looking forward to making it a full century, getting out and serving the community!

‘Writing For Children’ panel discussion

Some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s best writers will feature again in this year’s Off the Page series.

We launch on Wednesday 26 April, 6:30pm with a panel discussion on Writing for Children featuring a panel of multi-award winning authors.

Kate de Goldi
 says, “there is nothing quite as rousing and nourishing for a writer as close proximity to the imaginative life and perspective of young people”. Read about Kate’s life in books and thoughts on reading or listen to her talk about her passion for hooking children into good quality literature and her work co-editing Annual, a collection of stories, comics, poems, crosswords, games and songs – created by some of the best New Zealand writers and illustrators – now up to its third edition.

Brigid Feehan thinks that young people and older people sometimes see things clear and true – things that people in the middle might be too distracted to see. Her latest novel, The Life and Times of Eddie McGrath, portrays the forming of a strong bond between an old woman and a young girl, who only meet by chance, over their shared affinity for animals. Read about her approach to writing for young adults.

One piece of advice Philippa Werry offers to young writers is, “Be curious. People tell each other stories every day. Learn to listen to them”. Philippa wanted to be a writer from very young and wrote stories, poems and book reviews for the Children’s Page in the Saturday Evening Post newspaper, “and I still have the book that I pasted them into!” Check out this Stuff article about her influences and how she writes.

Anna McKenzie was born here in Palmerston North before moving to Hawkes Bay. Extremely versatile in her approach, her most recent novel tells the story of a young woman coming of age in the years of WWI. Listen to Anna talking at NZ Festival Writers Week about the origins of Evie’s War, the stories that stand behind it and the research that supports it.

The Off The Page series includes talks, readings, discussions and workshops from and for writers and connects the Manawatū to the beating heart of contemporary literature. The series is a partnership between Massey University School of Humanities, Media and Creative Communication, Bruce McKenzie Booksellers and the Palmerston North City Library.

NZ Music Month 2023

Support local music this May! The Central Library will host live performances (details coming soon), as well as a screening of NZ Music gig photographs on the big screen in Sound & Vision.

If you’re a local musician and would like your music video featured on our big screen, please get in touch! (All necessary clearances must be provided.)

Thanks to our awesome partners Manawatū People’s Radio and Radio Control 99.4FM, not only will the live performances sound great, they will be recorded too.

Local music legend DFresh has collaborated with Hamilton music legend Dujon Cullingford on this special funk, soul and disco playlist on Spotify. It will also be playing in Central Library’s Sound & Vision area during May. Chock full of retro NZ sounds!

Were you part of the music scene in the 70s, 80s or 90s? We need your help! Manawatū Heritage is adding some band photos from newspapers from those decades, and would love it if you can provide information about them. Perhaps you were in one of the bands, or you know who the people are. What genre did they play? Where was the photo taken?

Here’s an example: this gig poster from The Stomach‘s collection doesn’t say the year it happened – maybe you know? We can extrapolate from some clues. Radio Control was called Radio Massey, and the band Rungled was still around, so perhaps late 90s? For images like this which are already loaded into Manawatū Heritage, you can use the comments field to add detail, or simply email us, quoting the digitisation ID (or just copy us the link).

Other ways you can get involved in NZ Music Month:

ANZAC Day, Tuesday 25 April

This year ANZAC Day falls on a Tuesday, and all Library locations will be closed that day. You can see all open hours on the Locations page.

After April 26th, the Central Library will be open till 6pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, to give you a little extra time to grab a book in the evening.

Of course, the Library’s digital offerings are accessible all day every day, so you’ll never be completely caught short!

Leading up to this day of remembrance, there’s a talk about Gallipoli, by Glyn Harper; a display of WWII activities during 1943; and an opportunity to lay a poppy at the Central Library or Youth Space.

April Hours

Lots of dates for your diary in April!

School holidays are from 7 April – 23 April. Keep an eye on our What’s On page for all the cool activities.

Easter runs from Friday 7 April to Monday 10 April, and the library is closed over that period, including Saturday and Sunday. So remember to stock up by Thursday 6 April for your long weekend reading!

Then we have ANZAC Day, which is on a Tuesday this year.

If you find yourself low on reading material over Easter, remember you can always jump on one of our ebook/e-audio apps and you’ll be presented with a cornucopia of literary delights, available 24/7.

You can also indulge your inner cinephile by accessing movies from Beamafilm or Kanopy at any time of the day or night. (Just don’t stay up too late, you might miss out on hot cross buns in the morning!)

Closed dates:

Friday 7th April – Good Friday

Saturday 8th April – Easter Saturday

Sunday 9th April – Easter Sunday

Monday 10th April – Easter Monday

Tuesday 25th April – ANZAC Day

For any other queries about open hours, check the Locations page.

Versions Tuawhā submissions are open!

The Versions writing project is on again this year!

This is a great opportunity to see your name in print. If you want to have a go at writing a short story, a poem, or a play, use our prompt as a jumping-off point. Your story doesn’t have to be directly related to the prompt, it’s only there if you need something to get started.

Deadline for submissions is August 31, and we’ll publish a physical book as well as an ebook in October.

Prompt – The day Mark Twain came to town.

There will be some workshops to help you along the way – keep an eye on our What’s On page.

Submissions and questions can be sent to

Let your creative muse fly!

Census 2023

Palmerston North City Library will be hosting events where you can get assistance with filling out your census form.

During these drop-in sessions, there will be Census staff/volunteers from Stats NZ on hand to help.

You simply need to bring your paper forms or online code.

Outside of these events, you are welcome to come in and use the computers and free wi-fi to self-complete your census forms.  Library staff cannot fill out the forms for others, but we can put you in touch with people who will help.

Times and locations:

Central Library March 8th, 11am – 1pm

Te Pātikitiki Library, March 14, 10am – 1pm

Ashhurst Library, March 14, 3pm – 5pm

Roslyn Library, March 15, 10am – 1pm

Youth Space, March 15, 2pm – 4pm

Awapuni Library, March 16, 10am – 1pm