Category: Library News

The latest from the City Library

Top Ten… Adult Non-Fiction books of 2021

As another year draws to a close, we thought it would be fun to look at what some of our most-borrowed (and beloved) items were for 2021. The search has uncovered some surprises and confirmed what we already suspected – this list of adult non-fiction proves that we love a good mystery, we love a story of triumph, and that we love to cook. Starting with our most popular books at the top – here’s some inspiration for your reading list. They’ve got the public vote that they’re good!

10. Wild at Heart: The Dangers & Delights of a Nomadic Life, by Miriam Lancewood.

Miriam Lancewood’s first book Woman in the Wilderness told how she and her husband, Peter, lived for six years in the wilderness of New Zealand, hunting and gathering, and roaming the mountains like nomads. A year later they left New Zealand to explore other wild places.

9. Becoming, by Michelle Obama.

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private. A deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations.

8. A Richer You: How to Make the Most of Your Money, by Mary Holm.

Author and New Zealand’s financial expert on how to make your money work in the real world. We live in uncertain times. But this need not affect how you can make the most of your money.

7. 7 Ways, by Jamie Oliver.

Naked Chef television personality Jamie Oliver has looked at the top ingredients we buy week in, week out. We’re talking about those meal staples we pick up without thinking – chicken breasts, ground beef, eggs, potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, and shares 7 achievable, exciting and tasty ways to cook 18 of our favorite ingredients.

6. The Cause of Death, by Cynric Temple-Camp.

Spontaneous combustion and exhumation, drug mules and devil-worshippers, a gruesome killing beneath the Palmerston North Airport control tower, a mysterious death in an historic homestead, rare diseases, drug-mules, devil-worshippers, a first-hand dissection of the infamous Mark Lundy case … provincial pathologist Dr Cynric Temple-Camp lifts the lid on the most unusual stories of death and murder he has encountered during his 30-year career

5. Bella: My Life in Food, by Annabel Langbein.

Annabel Langbein, New Zealand’s well-known food writer, writes about her remarkable life and how food has shaped it, highlighting some of the recipes that have resonated most strongly with her over the years.

4. Impossible: My Story, by Stan Walker.

Stan Walker speaks with startling honesty about abuse and addiction, hardship and excess, cancer and discrimination, and growing up in a family where love and violence were horribly entwined.

3. Supergood, by Chelsea Winter.

 These plant-based recipes are 100% meat-free, egg-free and dairy-free with loads of gluten-free options to inspire every cook.

2. The Official New Zealand Road Code 2019/20: Including Licence and Study Guide.

Your guide to becoming a safe and responsible driver. The essential for all learner drivers!

1. The Quick and the Dead: True Stories of Life and Death from a New Zealand Pathologist, by Cynric Temple-Camp.

A dead body without a trace of trauma; alien parasites; worms of the brain; crocodile attacks; bizarre eating disorders and surgical puzzles. Pathologist, former medical officer and self-confessed death-aficionado Cynric Temple-Camp’s compelling stories will leave you with a new lease on life, as he seeks answers to the questions posed by disease and death.

If any of these books catch your fancy, you can click on the linked title to go to our website, which will then show all of the formats of your chosen book. Many of our books are available in a digital format as well as a physical book, so even if the physical book is on loan, you’re away on holiday or the Library is closed for the festive season, you can still borrow or reserve a copy for the hottest books your Library has on offer.

Library Hacks: Google sign in super tip

Here’s a cool tip to save you a few precious seconds when signing in to your Google account.

Did you you know that you don’t have to type in the part of your email address to sign in?!

So if your email address is just enter samsmith2468 and then your password. So easy!

Remember, this only works for Google/Gmail accounts.

@libraryhacks are a new series of technology and library related tips to help make your life easier – look out for them.

New Zealand’s Christmas Tree

One of the joys of the festive season is seeing all the pōhutukawa trees flowering. The strong green and bold red really help gives the tree its nickname as the ‘New Zealand Christmas Tree’.

We often see stunning scenic shots of pōhutukawa on beaches but here in Palmy we love our pōhutukawa trees in Te Marae o Hine The Square. You can even catch a glimpse of these trees from the windows overlooking The Square on the First Floor of Central Library.

Did you know that the pōhutukawa, while a native plant of New Zealand, is actually not native to our region? Its natural habitat ranges from the North Cape to Tokomaru Bay on the east coast of the North Island, up and over o Urenui, north of New Plymouth on the west. It once formed an almost continuous band of forest along most of the northern coastline.

A map of the North Island showing the distribution of pōhutukawa. A thick red line extends from Gisboune to north of New Plymouth.
Pōhutukawa distribution, by @gallicist on Twitter.

The exact natural southern limit of pohutukawa’s original range is difficult to know because the trees have been so widely planted.

Pōhutukawa can live for hundreds of years in their natural coastal environment. While it is common to see 100-year-old trees growing in home gardens, both pōhutukawa and northern rātā (another tree known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree) can probably live up to 1000 years.

If you want to find some information on the pōhutukawa and other native trees, we have some great books in our catalogue. Search Native New Zealand Trees on the library website here. From John T Salmon’s Native trees of New Zealand to Robert Venell’s The Meaning of Trees and Andrew Crowe’s Which native tree? New Zealand native trees: a simple guide to their identification, ecology and uses, the library can help you discover more about our native taonga this summer – ideally under the shade of a blooming pōhutukawa tree.

Summer Reading registrations open today *** NOW CLOSED ***

What is it?

The Summer Reading Programme is our popular summer challenge, which promotes the enjoyment of reading for children aged 4 – 10 years. Readers of all abilities can participate.

This year, our programme is online due to Covid-19. Readers will still be supported by library staff over summer with the app Beanstack. Readers log their reading on the app to complete ‘activity badges’ which help to earn incentives.

We provide assistance to parents and families in what services the library has to offer as well.

So READLOGDOEARN and if you earn 4 (or 5) incentive activity badges you’ll have successfully completed the programme and can take home a finale grab-and-go pack to celebrate!

iRead – Intermediate Reading Programme

This programme is for children aged 11 – 13 years and requires them to write and submit short online book reviews.

For every three reviews completed, readers can select one new book as a reward. It is possible to earn up to five new books during the programme. Some of these book rewards are the latest titles.

There are also some additional online activity badges that can be earned too.

Te Reo Māori Programme

We are pleased to offer a Te Reo Māori programme, which we run through local schools in Term 4.

Please contact Christina Winitana by email for more information.

Multilingual Options

The Summer Reading Programme supports speakers of other languages by offering our ‘Global Legends’ online activity badges. Translated hardcopy materials are required to complete these reading activities.

These activities have been created and supported by multicultural groups within our community and facilitate connections for children who are speakers or readers in another language.

How do I participate?

There are more than 600 places available, however our reading programmes are very popular so we might have more people who wish to register than we have space for.

To secure your place, register on our website from 9am Monday 22 November. Registrations remain open while places are available.

*** Registrations are now closed ***

When does it run from?

The Summer Reading and iRead Programmes 2021/22 both start on Monday 6 December, and finish on Thursday 27 January.


The Summer Reading Programme is available online and through all Palmerston North City Library sites: Central, Ashhurst, Awapuni, Roslyn and Te Pātikitiki for incentive collections.

iRead is also run online, and through the Library at Central, Ashhurst, Awapuni, and Roslyn for incentive collections.

Want to know more?

Contact Rhonda Chenery, Children’s Programme Coordinator


Phone: 351 4100, ext: 7057

Countdown to Christmas!

The best thing about Christmas (in my opinion) is all the great Christmas books and movies.

We are so lucky that we are spoilt for choice for Christmas themed titles in our library. Whether its with classics like Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol or Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or new ‘classics’ like Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson or The Little Yellow Digger Saves Christmas by Peter Gilderdale we have something for everyone.

Check out some of our titles like Christmas stories for children, Christmas love stories and romances, Cookbooks for Christmas kai to wow your friends and family, Christmassy movies and Christmas music. We also have an extensive collection of movies online that you can use as part of your library membership.

The great news is that using the library for Christmas cheer will help keep the coins in your pocket.

Outside of the Library, you can visit Santa’s Cave at Te Manawa. It’s a Palmy Christmas Tradition. You can book a free ticket to the Christmas Parade held at the Arena this year. The free tickets are available at Ticketek.

It’s World Nursery Rhyme Week

World Nursery Rhyme Week was launched in 2013 and promotes the importance of nursery rhymes in early childhood development and education.

Over 5 million children from 113 countries have taken part since 2013!

Every year five nursey rhymes are chosen as a focus for the week, but you can celebrate with whichever nursery rhymes you know and love. This year’s chosen nursery rhymes are:

Incy Wincy Spider
Sleeping Bunnies
Wind The Bobbin
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Down In The Jungle

Palmerston North City Library is celebrating all week, with activities at Central Library in the Children’s section. We have nursery rhyme colouring in activities, decorations, and certificates to earn for reciting to us your favourite nursery rhyme.

Check out our Facebook page for daily clips with a new nursery rhyme to sing along to. As well as English, we’ve got some diversity with Te Reo Māori, American Sign Language (which isn’t related to New Zealand Sign Language) and really shows how expressive sign languages are.

Come join in the fun! Nursery Rhyme activities are on weekdays from opening to 12:30.

Yacht Rock?

I love reading and learning new things from the books. Usually I learn about new places or moments in history but this weekend I read Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey and I discovered ‘Yacht Rock’. There were many references to this new concept throughout the book so of course I had to do a Google search on it. According to this book Yacht Rock is used to describe songs that have a sailing/water theme.

Curiosity got the better of me so I downloaded a playlist on Spotify. There are some really great songs there but I struggled to find a sailing theme in them. Like Steal Away by Robbie Durpree, What a Fool Believes by the Doobie Brothers, and Arthur’s Theme by Christopher Cross – where is the sailing theme? There isn’t even one word mentioned about sailing, or yachts. So, I looked up Wikipedia, as we all know how accurate that is, and found their definition fit more with what I had concluded myself, that Yacht Rock is just a collection of soft rock music from the mid 70s to mid 80s.

The book wasn’t bad either. It was a a light, humorous read, and if you are into Yacht Rock there is a lot of great song recommendations through it.

The long tailed bat

So, a mammal won the Bird of the Year competition Bird of the Year 2021 | Bird of the Year . Interesting choice. The pekapeka long tailed bat won over other New Zealand birds including kōkako and hoiho yellow-eyed penguin.

The pekapeka long tailed bat can be found all over New Zealand but the threat for survival is at the highest level: nationally critical. Bats aren’t the first thing a lot of people think of when they think of threatened species in New Zealand, so although it might be an ‘interesting’ choice to be named ‘Bird of the Year’, it is good to get the spotlight on these cute little bats.

Here are some facts on this bat from the Department of Conservation website:


The long-tailed bat (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) belongs to a more widespread family and is closely related to five other species of wattled or lobe-lipped bats in Australia and elsewhere.

The North Island and South Island long-tailed bat was confirmed in 2018 as one species.  It has the highest threat ranking of ‘nationally critical’.

Long-tailed bats are widely distributed throughout the mainland, Stewart Island, Little Barrier and Great Barrier islands and Kapiti Island. They are more commonly seen than short-tailed bats as they fly at dusk along forest edges. 

  • Long-tailed bats are smaller than the short-tailed bat, chestnut brown in colour, have small ears and weigh 8-11 grams.
  • They are believed to produce only one offspring each year.
  • The bat’s echo-location calls include a relatively low frequency component which can be heard by some people.
  • It can fly at 60 kilometres per hour and has a very large home range (100 km2).
  • An aerial insectivore, it feeds on small moths, midges, mosquitoes and beetles.


Causes of decline are combinations of:

  • Clearance and logging of lowland forests
  • Cutting of old-age trees for fire wood
  • Predation by introduced animals such as cats, possums, rats, and stoats
  • Exclusion of bats from roosts by introduced mammals, birds, wasps, and human interference.

The Great Kiwi Bake Off

The Great Kiwi Bake Off is happening again on TV, but why don’t you have a go at home? We have tons of great food books and magazines to help you out, or go online and have a look for some inspiration. PressReader has a great collection of magazines you can access from home for free too.

Last week was a Kiwiana themed bake off, I wonder what theme they are doing this week?