Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Over the next few days I am looking forward to plonking myself down in front of the box with a glass of wine and a mince-pie to enjoy some festive flicks to get me in the mood for some Christmas cheer.  You may notice there are fair few children’s movies in this list, but I always find Christmas brings out the big kid that hides inside us for most of the year.

Again this list is in no particular order and, unlike my music selection, I have too many movies to choose from and can’t bring myself to omit any of them!  Last blog of the year so have an amazing Christmas and we will see you in the New Year rearing to go!

 13. Miracle on 34th Street (1994/1947)

I find the 1994 a bit saccharine and I have never seen the 1947 version, but always good to remind us what it’s all about.

12. Love Actually (2003)

One for the girlies…

11. It’s a Wonderful Life

I have a terrible confession….I have never seen all of this film.  However, I have just found the entire film on You Tube, so guess what I’m doing tonight!

10. Trading Places (1983)

love it!  Eddie Murphy at his best.

9. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

8. Bad Santa (2003)

Can’t really put a clip here cause of all the swearing but hee hee heee

7. Home Alone 1 and 2 (1990/1992)

Great fun.


6. Die Hard 1 and 2 (1988/1990)

Has to be two of the best action movies ever with a Christmas flavour (ha that rhymes!)


5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

This is my traditional wrapping presents movie.

3. Elf (2003)

I’m not a big fan of silly movies and I was very reluctant to watch this when it first came out, but boy was I wrong…sooo funny.

2. The Polar Express

Visually this film is beautiful and a firm favourite in the Smith household.

1. The Snowman

Brings a tear to the eye every time….beautiful.

We’re all going on a summer holiday

Distant and sunny shores are calling you for a well-earned rest this summer and three new DVDs that have been added to CPIT’s library collection this week which may give you inspiration for your escape: 



   Shapiro, J., McCormick, M. and Harding, Z. (2006). China Pilot Guides

    Traveller Justine Shapiro explores traditional Southwest China, the region of  Guanxi,  and the provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan and Sichuan, while Megan McCormick journeys through Central China, from Shanghai to the Yellow Mountains, and from the Yangzi River to Xi’an, the ancient capital of China. Zay Harding completes the tour, travelling through the four provinces of Southeast China from Guanzhou to Nanchang.




HKand T

McCormick, M. (2006)Hong Kong & Taiwan pilot guides

 An entertaining mix of traditional and popular culture, landmark attractions and insightful discoveries – essential for the traveller or the armchair enthusiast interested in Hong Kong or Taiwan. Visit the Taroko Gorge, the Happy Valley racecourse, take tai chi lessons on the Kowloon waterfront, visit Jade Mountain, and have a shopping trip to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. 






Crowdy, M., Mehta, S. and McCormick, M. (2002). Indonesia pilot guides

Join Megan McCormick, Shilpa Mehta and Mark Crowdy as they explore the climate, food and festivals of the Indonesian archipelago’s major islands of Bali, Sulawesi, Java Sumatra, Lombok, Komodo and Flores. At Kula Beach, Bali’s New ear celebrations, come face to face with a Komodo Dragon, the sulphuric lakes in Flores, Climb Anak Krakatau volcano.





Don’t forget the Travel and Tourism Subject guide for more resources, databases and websites. 

Summer reads

CPIT library have an impressive and varied collection of current fiction and with many new additions to the collection this month there is something for everyone:


Moore, A. (2012). The Lighthouse

Futh, middle-aged and recently separated, stands on the outer deck of a North Sea ferry. He is heading to Germany for a restorative walking holiday, yet he cannot forget his mother’s abandonment of him as a boy and his first trip to Germany with his newly single father. It was on this first trip that he neglected to do something, and this omission threatens to have devastating repercussions the second time around.  shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize.






Kingsolver, B. (2012). Flight behaviour: a novel

Flight Behavior transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman’s narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel’s inhabitants and unearths the modern complexities of rural existence. Characters and reader alike are quickly carried beyond familiar territory here, into the unsettled ground of science, faith, and everyday truces between reason and conviction.




imagesCA5DJ54LMoyes, J. (2012). The girl you left behind

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time. Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened… In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.




imagesCAM59M90Jonasson, J. (2012). The one hundred year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared.

Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn’t want to begin. His one-hundredth birthday party to be precise. The Mayor will be there. The press will be there. But, as it turns out, Allan will not …Escaping (in his slippers) through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving a suitcase full of cash, a few thugs, a very friendly hot-dog stand operator, a few deaths, an elephant and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, Allan’s earlier life is revealed. A life in which – remarkably – he played a key role behind the scenes in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century. The One Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is a charming, warm and funny novel, beautifully woven with history and politics.



May, S. (2012). Life! Death! Prizes!

Billy’s Mum is dead. He knows – because he reads about it in magazines – that people die every day in ways that are more random and tragic and stupid than hers, but for nineteen-year-old Billy and his little brother, Oscar, their mother’s death in a bungled street robbery is the most random and tragic and stupid thing that could possibly have happened to them. Now Billy must be both mother and father to Oscar, and despite what his well-meaning aunt, the PTA mothers, the social services and Oscar’s own prodigal father all think, he knows he is more than up to the job, thank you very much. The boys’ new world, where bedtimes are arbitrary, tidiness is optional and healthy home-cooked meals pile up uneaten in the freezer, is built out of chaos and fierce love, but it’s also a world that teeters perilously on its axis. And as Billy’s obsession with his mother’s missing killer grows, he risks losing sight of the one thing that really matters.



Other new titles include:

I believe in Father Christmas

Every year back in Scotland I would complain about how early the Christmas cards would be in the shops and the lights would be switched on (5th of November in Paisley!) and I have therefore been enjoying the lack of forced commercialism here in New Zealand in the past few weeks. However, I do feel a saddening lack of Christmas cheer with the apparent absence of Christmas movies on the box and very few tunes on the radio. So to get me and you into the Christmas mood I thought I would share my top seven (couldn’t think of ten) seasonal music in no particular order, but feel free to comment on which is your No.1.  With a follow-up blog of my top ten Christmas movies to come next week. I know this has little to do with CPIT library, but as it’s Christmas……

7.  In my humble opinion the only decent song Mariah every did, argue at your peril!

6.  This brings a tear to my eye nearly every time. Beautifully sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 movie  “Meet me in St Louis” 

5. The hair!  The jumpers! The smouldering looks!

4. I almost didn’t put the video in for this as Shane MacGowan of The Pogues really is a sight for sore eyes.  

3. I love this song…so dark and moody and about anti-commercialism with fits perfectly into this blog.

2. Couldn’t really have a top ten without this classic…

1. Such a great video, again a bit dark and moody (reoccurring theme!)

19 days to go!

I know, I know…I can hear the groan from here, but we might as well face the inevitable and embrace Christmas for all the good things that it is.  Such as bringing together family, friends and loved ones…oh and of course the food!  Being an expat experiencing my first Kiwi Christmas I was a little concerned that the usual traditional Christmas fare would not be on the menu, but seeing mince pies in the shops reassured me that everything was going to be alright. 

There are several Christmas cook books here in CPIT library for inspiration and Jamie Oliver’s latest Christmas cooking  programme is available to watch through eTV (Just log in using your usual login details and search for Jamie Oliver Christmas 2012).  Jamie made some amazing DIY Chocolate truffles which I highly recommend you check out.


© David Loftus

I’ll be back soon to spread some more Christmas cheer soon….it won’t hurt too much I promise!

Library Apps – EasyBib

The Library has recently acquired a couple of iPads and  I have been exploring apps which could be useful to you when you are studying.

One of the first apps I tried was EasyBib, available for Android, iPhone and iPad. It does a pretty good job of creating a reference list for you, which you can then adapt for use in your assignment.

All you have to do is use the camera on your tablet or phone, and take a picture of the publishers barcode on the back of any book you have been using for your assignment. The app looks up the details and formats a reference in either MLA, APA or Chicago style.


Most schools at CPIT use APA referencing and you should get yourself a copy of our APA referencing guide ($5 from the Library Service Desk), and make sure you understand what referencing is and why it is important to get it right.

You will always have to check and correct the references produced by the EasyBib app as they may not conform exactly to the CPIT requirements. In the example I have shown you will see that EasyBib has produced the correct details and layout, but has not included an edition statement. 

Easybib results no title

The downside to the app is that it doesn’t work with e-books, journal articles, or websites – only print books, so this is not an alternative to learning about referencing, but it does reduce the effort involved in keeping track of the print resources you have used.

I didn’t notice much difference in the performance between my phone (an android) and the iPad, but I can’t help but think the phone would be a lot handier. If you would like  help with referencing, and understanding APA, please ask at the Library Service Desk or make an appointment with Learning Services.

If you have a chance to try it out, why not let me know what you think?

Library as Learning Space

I recently read an interesting article on the design of learning spaces. It featured research into how students rank  the design of space in Colleges in the US. I was not entirely surprised to discover that less than 30% found any space inspiring, and even fewer found designated spaces effective for study and learning.


I was interested that more than 70% of students said they prefered to work alone, as opposed to in a group. We struggle in this library to provide enough quiet study space, and that is partly due to the fact that many students seem to prefer to study collaboratively, in small groups, with lots of discussion. Perhaps Polytechnic students are different, or the nature of assignments?

Future plans for the CPIT Library space will include more individual study space, and quiet corners, and more flexibility in how a space can be configured and used, in the hope that we can be both inspiring and effective.