Library Notes 25 March 2020

Published on 25 March 2020



Pam Coleman – Community Engagement Librarian


Fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 outbreak can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and our community stronger. There are countless variables we can’t predict or control, but we can control our reactions, and we can model resiliency, compassion and reason as we form communities of help, hope and light.


“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if only someone remembers to turn on the light.”

– J.K. Rowling


It’s important to be informed but it’s vital to recognise that we are all anxious and this can take its toll, physically and mentally.  I do this by stopping, recognising where I am feeling that anxiety (neck, head, shoulders, stomach – wherever in your body you feel it) and then breathe! It is ok to feel like this, it’s a normal and valid response but it is a sign to take time to be kind to yourself! Try to do some other activities you enjoy. Our workplace whanau are creating a menu of personal self-care activities that we enjoy, no surprises that this includes reading but many activities include crafts, crocheting, knitting, watching movies or reading magazines.


Stories, whether through books or film, have the power to uplift us, look at familiar things in a new way, and expose us to new ideas. That’s something we need in these tense times, when it’s so easy for things out of our control to get the better of us. Immersing yourself in a book helps to focus the brain through the actual process of reading. Books, movies, magazines and audiobooks take us into a new world. There is something relaxing about grabbing a good novel and reading it in a quiet location. You spend the next couple of hours lost in a strange new world. And you forget everything around you and all the stressful things happening in your life. You get immersed in this new world that your body and mind is completely relaxed. And so, books can be something we turn to for comfort and reassurance, or to help us process what’s happening around us.


Micheal Morpurgo, one of my most favourite children’s authors highlights the extraordinary power of stories. It is something that has resonated with me as a child, mother and librarian.

“As a child in times of darkness what I longed for and loved was the sound of my mother or father’s voice speaking this extraordinary word music that made pictures in my head, and telling me stories so funny, or exciting, or touching, that I never wanted them to end. And all this wonder came out of books.”


When we, both children and adults, are bored (for me it’s spending too much time on my cell phone on social media!), our levels of worry and disruptive behaviours may increase. We all need ample time to engage in play and other joyful experiences without worrying or talking about the pandemic.


Here are some ideas for activities that are cheap and cheerful for you to do together. Grown-ups can join in to – in fact they MUST!


1.         Snuggle on the couch and read your favourite books.

2.         Play indoor hide and seek.

3.         Make a music playlist, and throw a dance party.

4.         Try a new cookie or cake recipe. Bonus idea: Set up a camera or smart phone and film a cooking show!

5.         Play board games.

6.         Design and go on an indoor treasure hunt.

7.         Set up an in-home nail salon and try some nail art techniques.

8.         Make and blow bubbles.

9.         Have an indoor picnic.

10.       Create your own bingo cards and have a bingo tournament.

11.       Learn and play a new card game.

12.       Teach yourself to juggle.

13.       Make a maze on the floor with tape.

14.       Play indoor volleyball or soccer with balloons.

15.       Make paper airplanes and see whose plane flies the farthest.

16.       Write a secret message in invisible ink. (lemon juice)

17.       Play “I Spy” inside or out the window.

18.       Have a tea party.

19.       Make some play dough.

20.       Create a nature scavenger hunt in your back yard.

21.       Play “The Floor is Lava.”

22.       Have a pillow fight.

23.       Make an indoor obstacle course.

24.       Build a giant fort out of blankets, chairs and pillows

25.       Put on a puppet show. (use socks)

26.       Do a puzzle.

27.       Write letters to family and friends.

28.       Build a bridge or building with toothpicks, newspaper, Q-tips or straws.

29.       Play hangman or tic-tac-toe.

30.       Make a time capsule! One day your kids can use it to tell their kids all about this craziness.



Library Services Available


We strongly believe our libraries are at the heart of every community and we mirror, reflect and service our community according to their needs. Libraries Horowhenua are taking extra practical steps to ensure our community have access to our services during this challenging time.


In this extraordinary time our physical library has to be closed to keep everyone safe and well. Our digital library is open and we will be working hard to be present online through email, our website, this column and on social media through all our libraries’ Facebook sites.


In addition

·       We will be extending loan periods on all of our books and materials. Renewals will be extended and repeated as necessary.

·       Any items returned to the libraries during this period of unprecedented disruption, will have all fines forgiven.

·       eBooks, audiobooks, and online resources are available 24/7 on our website through our online platforms eWheelers and Libby


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