Dorothy Neal White
A VERY SPECIAL EVENT
Let’s Misbehave! Anarchy and intimidation in stories and rhymes for children: an illustrated talk by Gavin Bishop, children’s writer and book illustrator.
Thursday 2 October 2008, 5.30pm – 7pm. This event, jointly hosted by the Friends and the National Library, will begin with drinks and nibbles in the Library’s Main Foyer and move to the Auditorium for Gavin’s presentation. Come early and view the exhibition Grimm Stuff: folk tales and fairy stories in the Turnbull Room in the National Library Gallery (for more information about the display see the Research Librarian’s column below). Come even earlier and look at Cautionary Tales: the satirical engravings of William Hogarth in the main Gallery as well.
Other events that you may like to attend are:
Evening debate: Is the tradition for biting political and social cartooning, pioneered by William Hogarth in the 1700s, alive and well in New Zealand at the beginning of the 21st century? Ian F Grant, founder of the New Zealand Cartoon Archive at the Alexander Turnbull Library, debates the issue with a panel of leading cartoon practitioners. Thursday 30 October 2008, 5.30 – 7pm, beginning with drinks in the and nibbles in the Library’s Main Foyer
Lunchtime tours of Grimm Stuff
Thursdays 18 September and 23 October 2008, 12.10pm.
Lunchtime tour of Cautionary Tales
Thursday 6 November 2008, 12.10pm.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2008
The Annual General Meeting of the Friends was held this year in the National Library Auditorium on Wednesday 28 May 2008. As always we met for preliminary drinks and nibbles in the foyer before the meeting. Our thanks to the committee for their usual generous catering.
The annual elections saw the committee returned with a new President, David Retter (see the last newsletter for an “introduction” by David). Two generous gifts to support the Friends were received from Susan Price (see report on p2) and from the NZ Trained Teachers Association.
A copy of the minutes of the meeting is included with this newsletter.
SUSAN PRICE COLLECTION REPORT
As you may know, Susan Price offers her own scholarship to support research in the Susan Price Collection. You may not know that Susan has, since its inception, been a strong supporter of the Dorothy Neal White Collection Scholarship.
Recently, Susan presented a very generous donation of $10,000 to the Friends to support the (renamed and more widely offered) Dorothy Neal White Collection Research Grant. When making the donation, Susan explained that she thought it was preferable to donate a lump sum that could earn interest and thus benefit the grant over many years, rather than drip-feeding smaller amounts each year. I am sure that all members of the Friends will join the Committee in thanking Susan for her generosity. It is greatly appreciated.
FDNW SCHOLARSHIP 2008
At the AGM we were delighted to announce that Bea Turner has been awarded the Friends’ Scholarship for this year. Bea intends to use the Collection to interrogate the Victorian myths of childhood through the representation of the child and the world in fantasy literature and fairytales of the period. Bea will update the Friends on her research at a meeting next year.
At the AGM it was agreed that the Scholarship be extended to students outside Wellington. No further action will be taken on this until it is clear what access there will be to the DNW and NCC Collections while the National Library Building is being renovated (see article below).
FROM THE RESEARCH LIBRARIAN
Such a busy time! As well as a plethora of researchers and queries, book budget to expend, and end of year reporting, I have travelled overseas twice and curated an exhibition and two displays. Another highlight was being part of the panel of markers for Wayne Mills’s Kids Lit Quiz. Wayne won the Margaret Mahy Lecture and Medal this year. The award citation concludes: achievement in establishing the popular Kids’ Lit Quiz held annually in New Zealand and in 2003 expanding this to an international event.
Australia in May
The first of my travels was to attend All the wild horses (the Children’s Book Council of Australia Conference) held in Melbourne in early May. It was exciting to hear presentations by Australian authors and illustrators. My highlight was listening to the charming, perceptive and eloquent picture book creator, Shaun Tan, describe his childhood and the background to his remarkable wordless picture book The arrival. Another powerful speaker was Jackie French who made an impassioned speech about war as she described writing A rose for the Anzac boys. Our cataloguing summary reads:
“It is 1915. New Zealander Midge Macpherson is at school in England, her brothers are in the army and her twin is listed as missing at Gallipoli. Midge and her school friends, Ethel and Anne, start up a canteen behind the front in France. Anne, daughter of English aristocracy, can’t wait to escape her inevitable future of being married off to someone ’suitable’, and Ethel, a Yorkshire lass, six foot tall and built like a rugby player, isn’t exactly debutante material. Midge, recruited by the over-stretched ambulance service, is thrust into carnage and scenes of courage she could never have imagined. When the war is over, all three girls – and their Anzac boys as well – discover that even going ’home’ can be both strange and wonderful. Suggested level: secondary.”
I am reading the Library’s copy now and can highly recommend it.
While in Melbourne, I also visited the State Library of Victoria and met the Librarian responsible for their children’s literature collections. It is not often that I meet someone whose role is so close to mine, collecting children’s books for adult clients.
The second of my travels was to South Korea (see below). Between and around these journeys, I was working on the exhibition Grimm Stuff: folk tales and fairy stories which is now open and runs to 8 November in the National Library Gallery. Books include several volumes of stories collected by the Grimm Brothers, stories by Hans Christian Andersen, a case focusing on Cinderella, and another on flower fairies.
Another feature is a selection of both New Zealand and European tales interpreted by acclaimed New Zealand author and illustrator Gavin Bishop (see the information about our next event). Folk tales from around the world are also displayed. There is brief information about the authors and collectors, but my main focus was on showing how illustrators, from Victorian times to the present, have interpreted traditional tales.
The exhibition has many links with Cautionary Tales: the satirical engravings of William Hogarth (in the main Gallery), but as you enter the Turnbull Room you leave the black and white world of Hogarth’s engravings behind and enter the colourful world of Grimm Stuff. This is not just because most of the children’s books are illustrated in colour, but also because the Gallery staff have created a fairyland to showcase the books from the Dorothy Neal White and National Children’s Collections. Thank you to Peter Ireland, Chris Cane and Aaron Lister for working your own particular brands of magic to make the exhibition look so very good. Another thank you to the Preservation staff for making each individual book show to advantage.
In addition to the exhibition, there is a display of illustrated versions of Aesop’s fables in the Dorothy Neal White display cabinet in the Reading Room on the ground floor and another cabinet on the first floor featuring works by three illustrators in the Hogarth tradition – Posy Simmonds, Charles Keeping and Raymond Briggs.
Cooperation and Kimchi: A Korean adventure
“I am writing this letter to cordially invite you to speak at our International Symposium.” So began my adventure to South Korea. My paper – Books from afar: building the National Children’s Collection at the National Library of New Zealand – included sections on the importance of a library’s collection development policy and on the need to weed public library collections as these were issues Ms Sook Hyeun Lee, the Director of the National Library for Children and Young Adults (NLCYA), was keen to air.
The courtesy and care of the many charmingly phrased emails I exchanged with Korean library staff was indicative of the level of kindness and care that I was to encounter throughout my stay in South Korea. Each of the four international speakers had their own guide to smooth their way and take them sightseeing.
Han Sang Won and I visited the National Korean War Museum on the anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War and took part in a “wartime food” tasting. I only ate what was recognisably vegetable. I don’t know what meats were available during the Korean War, but not many, and I didn’t plan to start eating rat at this stage in life! We moved around the museum amid very orderly groups of uniformed 4-6 year olds and, movingly, groups of war veterans.
In mid afternoon we met for a tour of the bright yellow NLCYA building and attended the opening of an exhibition tracing the development of Korean children’s literature from 1990 to 2008. This was also part of the celebration of the second birthday of this library. Just over four years ago the Korean National Library decided it needed to have a separate library focused on children’s books and services to act as a model and leader for Korean public libraries. The result is an impressive building with equally impressive Korean and foreign language collections and spaces for parents to come in and read to children, for children and adults to use independently and for adult researchers. As you would expect from a tech-savvy nation, there were also plenty of digital resources. The NLCYA is a reference library, so users cannot issue books and take them away.
An entertaining tussle broke out when Ms Lee wanted to demonstrate the book-drop to us as the girl reader thought Ms Lee was removing a book that the girl still wanted to read. Eventually, she slid her library card into the slot and dropped her book through so that we could see the printout she requested with her latest reading on it. It is also possible to call up your entire reading log – important in a country where the approach to reading is somewhat more regimented than here (but more of that later).
The Second International Symposium: Problems and Challenges the 21st Century’s Libraries of Children and Young Adults Face was held in Gyeongju 5 hours south-east of Seoul by road. There were three other international speakers (from the Netherlands, France and Canada) and 6 Korean speakers. While the international guests shared similar views on libraries and reading, there was a diversity of approach among the Korean librarians.
At one extreme, there was a library with a fiercely regimented programme for mothers to guide their primary school children’s reading. It included “after-reading-activities (for example, writing about the book in fun and diverse ways)” and questioning the children about what they had read. Bear in mind that this was not schoolwork but recreational reading time. The speaker proudly noted that it resulted in children turning away from fiction to reading science books. At the other extreme was the passionate and eloquent librarian who spoke about “Sharing books, sharing lives”. She bemoaned the fact that “reading for pleasure had to be given up to get into the top colleges.” She asked, “Will children really learn the joy of reading when they are introduced to the lists of must-read-books and are told the 100 reasons to read?” She concluded that libraries needed to create a welcoming atmosphere where learning and leisure could happen together, and to supply a wealth of diverse resources arranged so clients could find them easily. But above all “Children learn how to make reading a part of their lives by looking at others who lose themselves in the joy of reading. This is more important than their looking for the list of essential books to teach how to read for their children.”
Of course, I wasn’t absorbing all this with my fluent Korean, as my only reliably pronounced word is still “kimchi”. Although we each had our own personal guide to translate in everyday situations, for the symposium we had the assistance of an extremely accomplished professional translator. Wan He translated each of our presentations into Korean, capturing the precise intonation and expressiveness of each speaker. It was highly diverting to hear “yourself” speaking Korean. When Koreans were presenting, she sat between two of us and provided simultaneous “whisper” translation.
Following my presentation, the questions focused on the need for weeding collections and how to gracefully decline to buy books that clients want you to purchase, but that you consider unsuitable. These questions were great openings for the reiteration of the importance of the collection policy and for documented procedures to address such issues and challenges to books (censorship). As Ms. Lee was keen to get them managing their collections, I stressed that dated fiction and picture books may be just unappealing or boring, but outdated non-fiction could be a source of misleading information and very unhelpful to the clients they are intending to help.
After the symposium closed, all the speakers shared a banquet. The seating plan was interesting – with the two librarians with extreme views choosing to sit as far apart as possible! There were many side-dishes including several varieties of kimchi plus soups, stews and rice. So what is “kimchi” or “kimchee”? As well as being what you say when you have your photo taken in Korea, it is a side-dish of fermented vegetables in a (usually) spicy sauce that is served with a bowl of rice at almost all meals.
We spent one and a half days sightseeing around Gyeongju and travelling back to Seoul. On our only wet day our guides each had an umbrella, and we walked around arm-in-arm beneath them. When it became apparent that the umbrellas were not keeping us dry, the male Library Director in charge of our group bought disposable raincoats for each of us. The same male Director also introduced us to Korean rice wine with lunch. One sip told me it was a potent brew and I only had half the cupful. Not so my companions, all of who promptly fell asleep when we re-boarded the bus for Seoul.
The Korean Kiwi in the adjacent seat on the flight to Seoul commented that the travel guide I was reading “tells you things even Koreans don’t know!” That seemed to be true and there’s nothing like being there to help you understand another culture. This trip was a rewarding experience, professionally and personally. I have a link to a wonderful new library and I look forward to recommending some more New Zealand and Australian books to add to their International Collection – they hold several Hairy Maclary books but nothing by Margaret Mahy, for example. My hosts’ warmth, kindness and polite formality will be enduring memories and I know that I was singularly fortunate to have visited South Korea as their guest.
Research Librarian, Dorothy Neal White Collection & National Childrens Collection
NATIONAL LIBRARY BUILDING REDEVELOPMENT
The Prime Minister and Minister responsible for the National Library have announced government approval of funding to redevelop the National Library of New Zealand’s Molesworth Street building in Wellington. The total capital required for the redevelopment is $69 million. Work on the building is expected to start towards the end of 2009 and be completed by late 2011.
The redevelopment will be a major transformation of the existing building but uses the existing structure’s ‘bones’ to deliver continuity on the Molesworth Street site. The original concrete cladding will be removed and the floorplates extended to all four edges, this will extend the building to the edge of Molesworth Street, allowing the development of a 12 metre deep, five story high atrium that will then be covered in a glass skin. The building will be the same height it is today. The lead architect is Andrew Barclay of Warren and Mahoney. Above is an artist’s view of the building from the corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets.
The expansion of the building will provide more exhibition and collection storage space for the collections, and enhance the preservation of the collections through updated controlled storage environments that meet international preservation standards. The existing building has dated plant and equipment and no longer meets top international preservation standards.
The National Library is currently working on a plan to relocate the collections and staff out of the building while the redevelopment takes place. This is a complex exercise given the valuable and often fragile nature of the collections, and the special storage conditions that we will have to replicate. A plan is also being developed to ensure that as much of the collections and services as possible continue to be available to the public during the redevelopment period.
David Retter has written to Penny Carnaby, CEO and National Librarian, asking that the Friends be kept in touch with progress on the move, and offering the committee’s assistance when decisions are made about the services to be offered while the building is being redeveloped.
LIANZA BOOK AWARDS
The 2008 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards were awarded at a function held at the National Library to mark the beginning of Library Week on 18 August 2008.
Russell Clark Award
Christchurch based author and illustrator Gavin Bishop received The Russell Clark Award for his intriguing hardcover picture book Rats (Random House). The Russell Clark Award was established in 1975 and celebrates a distinguished contribution to illustrated children’s books. Gavin Bishop has been a regular recipient of LIANZA nominations and awards and was the winner, with Joy Cowley, of the New Zealand Post Book of the Year 2008 for Snake and Lizard. The judges described Rats as “a brilliant story, from a master illustrator that will be around for a long time.” Gavin Bishop will be giving an illustrated talk at the National Library on Thursday 2 October 2008 at a function co-hosted by the Friends of the Dorothy Neal White Collection (see p1).
Esther Glen Award
Wellington writer and teacher Mandy Hager was awarded New Zealand’s longest running book prize, The Esther Glen Award. The Award was established in 1944 and is given to the author who is considered to have made the most distinguished contribution to literature for children. The prize was presented to Hager for her young adult fiction book, Smashed (Random House) and is defined by judges as “a stand-out story about seeking the truth, with characters that are believable, strong and still in our minds long after we close the covers.”
Elsie Locke Award
Graphic Designer Heather Arnold claimed the Elsie Locke Award for her first book Draw New Zealand Birds. A step-by-step guide. (Raupo). The judges described Arnold’s book as “a timeless professionally written book…” The Elsie Locke Award was established in 1986 and celebrates a distinguished contribution to non-fiction for young people.
Te Kura Pounamu
The Te Kura Pounamu was presented to Kai Ora! 2 – Tikanga a Iwi series (Hana Ltd) by Kararaina Uatuku, Hana Pomare, Charisma Rangipunga, Hana O’Regan and Che Wilson. The Te Kura Pounamu celebrates a work in te reo Māori that promotes excellence in library resources in Māori and makes a distinguished contribution to literature for children and young people. The judges said this fantastically photographed series was “unique with nothing else available on the topics in Maori or English.”
Judging Panel Convenor Bob Docherty congratulated New Zealand authors, “there is real quality writing and such a variety of genre and style”.
The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards ceremony is sponsored by Wheelers Books. The awards celebrate the unique contribution made to cultural heritage and national identity by New Zealand authors and illustrators. Each award consists of a medal or taonga and $1,000 prize money.
LIANZA Children’s Book Awards Coordinator
NEW ZEALAND POST BOOK AWARDS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS
This year the awards were held in the Concert Chamber at the Wellington Town Hall. Invited guests entered through a tunnel woven from branches and leaves of native plants and refreshed themselves with a glass of wine or juice. We then entered the concert chamber, transformed into a “big top”, and sat at tables with plentiful nibbles to be consumed at a gentle pace as the awards ceremony progressed.
I am sure it is not just the glow of reflected glory (the chair of the judging panel sits near my desk) that makes this ceremony shine in comparison to recent years. Each nominee must have felt that their efforts were acknowledged, as two actors dramatised a section from each nominated book. The actors were especially skilled at dramatising the non-fiction, and earned laughter and hearty applause for their efforts. Congratulations to the Awards Committee for the event and for the thoughtful judgements. The full list of awards follows with a few words from the judges reports:
Book of the Year and Junior fiction Awards
Snake and Lizard, by Joy Cowley. Illustrated by Gavin Bishop. (Gecko Press)
“This series of short stories wowed the judges with its sly, gentle humour, and wry observations on that fundamental aspect of humanity – the nature of friendship. Illustrating this unlikely but lovable duo of quirky ground dwellers are Gavin Bishop’s watercolours that exquisitely capture both characters and the book’s American South West location.
Young Adult Fiction
Salt, by Maurice Gee (Penguin New Zealand)
“Great fantasy involves a fast moving plot, and magical powers, but also successfully depicts physical and psychological journeys. Gee does this and more.”
Tahi: one lucky kiwi, by Melanie Drewery, Ali Teo & John O’Reilly (Random House New Zealand)
“… a clever balance of superb illustrations; chatty dialogue matched by excellent design and production values.”
Which New Zealand spider?, by Andrew Crowe (Penguin New Zealand)
“This often entertaining overview of those eight legged, eight eyed creatures we love to hate, illustrates just how appealing and comprehensive non-fiction can be when presented by the right hands.”
Best first book
Out of the egg, written and illustrated by Tina Matthews (Walker Books)
“This book impressed the judges with its contemporary take on the tale of The Little Red Hen, which Matthews cleverly moulds in a new direction right to its satisfyingly upbeat (and altruistic) ending.”
Children’s Choice Award
The king’s bubbles, by Ruth Paul. (Scholastic)
“A book that skilfully integrates the written with the visual, The King’s Bubbles is a highly original story, beautifully told, and illustrated with considerable flair and expertise — right to its celebratory “let them be” ending.”
LIBRARY WEEK 2008
As part of Library Week this year, all around the country, children gathered to hear the story Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig. The following article and pictures were published in the National Library’s weekly News and Notes
Pigging out at Thorndon School
Attendance at the Thorndon School Library last Wednesday was high, given the half-hour’s notice, for the synchronised Nation-wide reading by our own Lynne Jackett (National Childrens’ Collection Librarian) of Piggity-Wiggity Jiggity Jig.
After a very warm greeting from the 60 + group of excited children from the junior school and their teachers, the group sat transfixed as Lynne read the tale of the poor little pig with the very long name.
A brief question-session about the story followed in which the youngsters demonstrated their vocab-power, providing further proof that the younger generations are getting cleverer as well as bigger: a certain photographer was blown away that a six year-old knew what ‘countenance’ means!! And while the children showed their immense appreciation of the storyteller and the story, the offer of a second reading was declined in favour of morning tea and a run around the playground. Well we couldn’t argue with that!
Christchurch Centre Celebrate Biggest Storytime
St Mary’s Primary School piglets trotted across the road to National Library to hear Michelle, one of our reference team here in Christchurch, read the national read-aloud book Piggity Wiggity Jiggity Jig by Dorothy Neild. The nationwide reading was a part of National Library week. Everyone (staff and children) wore their little piglet masks as Michelle read the story. The children then enjoyed a morning tea, including biscuits decorated to look like piglets and a healthy apple!
There has not been a great deal of activity on the FDNW website, but you can find recent newsletters and the 2008 AGM minutes there, as well as information about the displays currently showing in the National Library.
Suggestions and contributions to the site are welcomed by webmaster Jeff Hunt -phone 04 479 6123, email email@example.com or contact him through the website http://www.dnwfriends.nzl.org/
People with access to the internet might also like to read the National Library’s “Create readers” blog. Written by School Services staff from around the country, this blog is all about children’s and young adult literature (especially from New Zealand), literacy research, and ways to get – and keep – kids reading.
Create Readers features events, reviews, author interviews, reading lists and tips and tricks for creating engaged and motivated young readers.
STORYLINES FESTIVAL – WELLINGTON FAMILY DAY
Te Whaea Dance & Drama Centre, Newtown, Sunday 8 June 2008, 10am-3pm
The Storylines Festival moved from Courtenay Place out to Te Whaea Dance and Drama Centre in Newtown this year. Some of us had concerns that we would miss out on the “passing trade” of Saturday shoppers that we had waylaid in previous years. However, a venue with plentiful free parking adjacent soon proved to be a big asset. Families flooded the building to watch performance, engage in book-related crafts, listen to authors talk about their books and buy books from several booksellers’ stands. Hairy MacLary was there in 25th birthday mode and proved a great hit with the children.
I did not see a lot of the activity as I was assisting Barbara Murison to run the Scholastic Books Out Loud story reading room. As usual, we had filled the first slot with one of us (me, as it happens) as we did not expect many people to be ready for a story at that time. However, we had no sooner taken a photo of me dozing with no audience, when children and parents began to arrive – so I had to sing for my supper after all. Joy Cowley read chapters from Snake and Lizard to a packed room and much applause. And the “rock star” award had to go to Gavin Bishop, who not only had a sizeable audience, but had parents clamouring to take his photo with their child. Both of these famous children’s literary figures demonstrated some of the empathy with children that makes their books so popular.