Category: Library News

The latest from the City Library

Manawatū author finalist for Best First Novel in Ngaio Marsh Awards

Congrats to Riley Chance (aka Roger McEwan) whose book Surveillance is a finalist for Best First Novel in the 2023 Ngaio Marsh Awards!

McEwan’s novel attempts to answer the question: “what would New Zealand look like under mass surveillance?”

The author, who originally wanted to remain anonymous behind his nom de plume, finally revealed his true identity recently, stating that it was because “I need to get along to events. If there’s a writers’ festival and they say can I come and talk, I have to.

The Ngaio Marsh Awards were established in 2010 by indefatigable #yeahnoir fan Craig Sisterson, to promote crime, mystery and thriller writers from New Zealand.

Another local author made the longlist for the Ngaios: GB Ralph with Murder on Milverton Square. Go, local authors!

Music is a portal to reading

A special feature blog post by Senior Service Guide Zak.

Reading and noise: not two things you’d think would go well together (unless you’re enjoying an audiobook, many of which are available right now through the library on Libby or BorrowBox)… But a good book paired with the right album, I find, is like cheese and wine.

My favourite pairing recently has been Robert Jackson Bennett’s Divine Cities trilogy with the eponymous first album of Finnish prog-folk band Auri.

Divine Cities is what you get when you cross a spy thriller with the sprawling, reality-shattering antics of our favourite fantasy worlds – the gods are dead, the miracles that made life livable no longer work, the people live in squalor, and as they try to eke out a life without the deities that defined their society a series of bizzare murders are making the best and brightest think: maybe magic isn’t completely gone from the world after all. 

Wonder, possibility and myth are the name of the game in this series, which makes folk music – with its traditional instruments speaking of days past and cultures kept alive – a perfect fit.

Auri brings to mind everything from isolated Northern-Irish hamlets to sweeping steampunk skylines, to mysterious coastlines begging to be explored. There’s something about the music that really gets the imagination going, the sound drawing crisp pictures of what you’re reading out of the page – dancing pennywhistles, soaring strings, some of the cleanest choir vocals you’ve ever heard, all accompanied by a rock drumbeat that reminds you not to fall too comfortably into your chair – the story you’re reading has stakes, perhaps apocalyptic ones. 

I’ve never found an album that goes so well with a book it relaxes you into the world and gets your heart racing at the same time… but that’s exactly what happened here. I’d recommend either of these two things alone any day, but truly: do yourself a favour and try them together.

The Divine Cities trilogy – City of Stairs, City of Blades, and City of Miracles – by Robert Jackson Bennett is available at the City Library in paperback, and Auri can be streamed wherever you get your music. [Editor: Auri’s second album Those We Don’t Speak Of has just been ordered for the City Library.]

Website Refresh!

We’re excited to tell you that the City Library website is getting a refresh!

From Monday July 24, the look of the website will change a little, but all your favourite things will still be there.

The aim was to make it easier to find the information you need, faster. Better accessibility with less scrolling!

There are some further improvements coming, but in the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions.

Roslyn Library reopens on Tuesday July 18!

We are delighted to inform you that Roslyn Community Library is all set to reopen its doors on Tuesday 18th July, and we can’t wait to invite our beloved community back in to join us for a hot cuppa and a bikkie when they do!

Our dedicated team will be heading back into the library on Monday to give it a thorough tidy-up and ensure everything is perfectly prepared for the reopening.

While no special programmes are scheduled for the first week, we are simply excited to return to normality and get back to business as usual.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us. We can’t wait to welcome you back!

Matariki | Puanga

On Friday July 14, we’ll be closed in observation of Matariki | Puanga.

Nationally, the holiday is generally referred to as Matariki, but Rangitāne o Manawatū traditionally give prominence to Puanga, an important star near the Matariki cluster that can be easier to see in this part of the motu.

Check out our Kaupapa Māori webpage for a great list of resources, information and activities!

Coming soon to a park near you!

We’re getting out to our neighbourhoods these school holidays and we’d love for you to join us! 

We’re popping up in a park near you with fun and games for the whole whānau! Our friends from Sport Manawatū will be there too. 

Pop up Play @ Awapuni Park, Tuesday 4th July, 10 am – 12pm

Pop up Play @ Rangiora Reserve. Tuesday 11th July, 1pm – 3pm

Pop up Play in The Square, Thursday 6th July, 2pm – 4pm

Pop up Play @ Monrad Park, Thursday 13th July, 10am – 12pm

Keep an eye out for any weather-related updates, but a bit of drizzle won’t put us off! Have your gumboots and raincoats at the ready – if the sun isn’t shining we’ll become puddle explorers! Come on Palmy, Let’s Play!

Does my self-published book fit in the Library’s collection?

Congratulations! You’ve written a book! Not everybody can say they’ve done that!

Now you’d like the Library to buy your book. Okay, first read this article about library supply companies.

Got it? Right, now let’s have a look at what the librarian is thinking about when they’re deciding about purchasing your book.

The number one thing they’ll want to know is ‘will people who come to the Library want to read this?’ A library generally only holds onto books that people want to take home and read. So you want to make your book attractive to someone who’s browsing. Make sure it has a good cover. (You’ll find a blog post about covers here.) A snappy blurb. A great first sentence, etc.

Make sure you know what genre you’re writing in. Perhaps even go to the library to find books similar to yours. That way you can tell the librarian where you think it fits. Where it will get the most usage.

If you’ve written a thriller novel for adults but printed it in A4 size, your book will quite literally not fit in the collection. The Fiction shelves are spaced for novels of a certain size range.

If you’ve written a children’s picture book with 100 words per page, you might have written a chapter book by mistake. Again, go to the Library and see what other books are similar to yours, and how they are presented.

All set? Great. Now, read this article on how to approach the Library about your book, or go to the Local Author Resource page for more.

How to ask the Library to buy your self-published book

Firstly, congratulations on writing a book!

Next step: contact the Content Development Librarians. The City Library does not accept unsolicited materials, and we do not accept donations, so contact us first and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

We can’t buy everything. As Lemmy from Motorhead often said: where would you put it? Content Development Librarians decide which books to buy, based on the current shape of the collection, the buzz around the book, past performance of an author, and all sorts of other factors. If there’s legitimate demand, we’ll hear about it.

Content Development Librarians are often away from their desks doing various jobs, so be sure to send an email or make an appointment to chat with us. We love talking to local authors!

Please bear in mind that a public library does not hold copies of a book forever. There is a constant rotation of stock, and when your book is removed from the collection, it is purely a practical thing and not a judgement on its quality.

Have a look at our page of advice for authors too – you may find your question already answered on there.

What to put in your email/one-sheet

Kick off with something like “New book from local author”.

Give us a quick blurb – basically the same thing you’d put on the back cover of your book.

Tell us anything unique about it – this might be your “elevator pitch“.

Attach a good quality cover image.

Tell us the price, the release date, the ISBN – all the publication details.

Make sure to include a link to where we can buy the book. Maybe from Wheelers, or a local bookshop.

It’s always good to end by thanking the recipient for their time.

When will you hear back?

Generally, with public libraries, you won’t hear anything back. They’ll either buy your book or not.

After all, you’re the one who will know when your books are sold at shops or through Wheelers, and your email is a sales advertisement not a customer query.

Since there are more and more self-published books every year, the Library receives more and more emails. It might take a few weeks to look at them and make a decision.

If you really need to know so that you can sign up for the Public Lending Right Scheme, you can always check the Library’s catalogue any time.

‘Versions’ writing project

Every year the City Library gives you the opportunity to get published!

We give you a writing prompt to get you started. Let it take you wherever it will!

Submit your finished short story, poem, play script, or song, and we’ll publish it.

Maybe you’ve never written but want to give it a try, or maybe you’ve already done a lot of writing but want something quick and fun to do. Versions is for everyone!

We’re all about celebrating the abundance of creative talent here in the Manawatū.

Keep your eye on our What’s On page for the prompt announcement each year, or contact us to learn more.

‘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 all Library locations during term time. Individual sessions run for 15 minutes and bookings are essential: email See all the times and days available on the What’s On page.

Look forward to meeting you at ‘Reading Unleashed’.

Kay: Content Development Librarian