Banned Books Week


Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

How do you choose which books to read? By author, title, genre, subject…? How would it be if someone else made those decisions for you?

Throughout history, monarchs, governments, religions, and social goups have sought to restrict access to certain books for all sorts of reasons. Even today, books are often challenged (requested to be restricted/banned), restricted (access is limited to certain people), or banned outright.

Some of the odder banned and challenged books are:

The Lorax (Dr Seuss): Challenged in California because it criminalised the forestry industry.

Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): Banned in 1930’s China because it challenged the inherent superiority of humans over animals.

Animal Farm (George Orwell): Simultaneously banned for criticising (USSR) and promoting (USA) communism.

But aside from some frankly bizarre objections, many books are challenged for their political or religious views, or for the scientific or medical information they give, or (in many cases) because people are worried about the impact they might have on children.

For more information on what books have been challenged and banned, and why, check out Auckland Libraries’ resources on banned books.

In New Zealand, the Office of Film and Literature Classification manages the censorship of books, magazines, films, video games, and a variety of other media. They have guidelines about what can be banned or restricted, and for what reasons. Currently there are about 1300 titles that are banned outright and many others that have age restrictions. There are details of classification decisions on the OFLC website. They also provide an interesting timeline of the history of censorship in New Zealand.

This week is Banned Books Week, which is designed to highlight the issues surrounding censorship and intellectual freedom. Libraries (including CPIT Library) believe that it is important for people to have access to information, whether we personally agree with it or not. The Library and Information Association of Aotearoa New Zealand has adopted a Statement on Intellectual Freedom that puts this much better than I could.

CPIT library has put together a display of books that either are currently banned or restricted somewhere in the world, or that have been banned in the past – obviously, we don’t have any books that are currently banned in New Zealand! Come and have a look this week – how many have you read?

Finding our databases – Having trouble?

There seems to be an intermittent issue with off campus access to our databases.

Here is a link to our tutorials which show you three examples of using a database at CPIT. If you follow the process in these tutorials you should gain access to your database, however if you still cannot access the databases due to technical issues, try the following alternative access method.

1. From the Library home page at click on Primo Library Search in the right column.


2. Click on Sign in in the top right

primo sign

3. Enter your normal CPIT username and password

4. a. Click on Journal Articles then

b. Click on Find databases(which will appear after step 4a.)


5. Click on All databases


6. Browse for your database by selecting a letter

e.g. C for CINAHL


7. Click on the database link of your choice.

Not sure which database is best for your subject?

Here are some commonly used databases:

Proquest Central – Huge general database suitable for a broad range of topics including nursing, social work, business etc.

CINAHL – Nursing and social work

Gale Virtual Reference – Good general online encyclopedia for an overview of a topic.

Still not sure which database is best for you? Then ring us at 940 8089 or 0800 24 24 76 and ask for the library or email us at

Happy Suffrage Week – 120 years


Today around campus you might see people wearing a pink camelia, one of which has just been handed out to me.

It is signifying that today in history 120 years ago on 19 September 1893,  women in New Zealand were given the right to vote. New Zealand History Net  also provides a summary of this significant event.

Interestingly the notice below digitised from the Alexander Turnbull Library collection was from 1902 after women won the right to vote.


Statistics New Zealand and The Ministry of Women’s Affairs have put out an infographic illustrating trends for women in employment, education and childbearing for 1893, 1953 and 2013.

Christchurch City Libraries has also blogged about Suffrage Week including several articles from Papers Past  published in 1893 in our very own Press one of which is a telegram from Premier Richard Seddon to Kate Sheppard.

From our Library on this topic

Grimshaw, P (1987) Women’s suffrage in New Zealand

The suffragists :women who worked for the vote: essays from the dictionary of New Zealand biography (1993)

Squee! It’s official – Twerk & Selfie are real words!

I think this is buzzworthy but apols if you already knew that the Oxford Dictionaries is constantly updated to include new words. If you suffer FOMO and want to be sure you’re up with the latest lingo, check out the August 2013 dictionary additions.

Wondering how they decide how to add a new word to the Oxford Dictionaries? It’s explained here.

Obvs, it’s not smart to use some of these slang words in a formal situation but srsly, common usage makes it ok to use them in casual chat among other geek chic. For your assignments however, I recommend using the more traditional Oxford English Dictionary (OED). The OED is regarded as the accepted authority for the meaning, history, and pronunciation of the English language whereas Oxford Dictionaries is all about the current, popular usage of language. 

Image  Image

Both dictionaries are available online but you can avoid confusion by using the Library to access the more formal OED. Just click the Subject Guides & Databases link on the CPIT Library home page  then select the Encyclopedias & Dictionaries guide, where you’ll find the OED listed. Bookmark that page or add it to your Favourites – it’ll be totes handy for assignments!

If you prefer a print dictionary, you’ll find one beside each of the “stand-up” permanently logged in computers, some in the Reference Collection (in the orange room behind the Library service desk) and lots more upstairs on the general shelves at PE1625-PE1628. 



Hidden book paintings revealed


When I opened my email the other day, Meg, our Liaison Librarian for Creative Industries, had shared this link from Colossal: art & visual ingenuity  blog  by Christopher Jobson on the secret fore-edge painting of books. This is an intriguing art form which is thought to date back to the 1650s. It is cleverly demonstrated in a set of gifs created by librarian, Colleen Theisen  at the University of Iowa who showcases a series of  books published in 1837 recently added to their archives. Great to see an old art form that can still surprise in this day and age of high tech distractions.

Tongan Language Week – 1-8 September


Mālō e lelei.

The theme for 2013 is Fakakoloa Aotearoa ‘aki ‘etau Hiva Fakatonga – Enriching Aotearoa with Tongan Music.

Census 2006 showed we have 50,000 Tongans in New Zealand, the third-largest Pacific group, after Samoans (131,000), and Cook Islanders (58,000).  About 80 per cent of Tongans live in Auckland and just over 60 per cent speak the language.

Read more about Tongan history and culture in Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand and on Wikipedia

Here are seven lessons from Unilang to help you begin learning phrases in the Tongan language.

You can listen to some Tongan songs including Hala vuna, Leiola and Ko e mea ne ofa ai au on the Pacific Paradise CD in the Pasifika Collection in the Library at M1844PAC

Here is an article from Australian Network News on New Zealand artist Rizvan Tu’itahi who shares what it means to be Tongan and below is his short film in Tongan called Feilaulau

More from the Library :

Futu Helu, I. (2012) On Tongan poetry

Mahina, O (2004) Reed book of Tongan proverbs

A history of Tongan song and dance can be found in the Oxford Music online database .

And here’s a You Tube video from UNESCO on the traditional lakalaka dance.

See the Human Rights Commission website for Tongan cultural activities for this week around New Zealand including a Tongan cultural performance at Riccarton High School on Friday 6th September.