A non-NaPoWriMo post, prompted by an article in today’s Christchurch Press. There was a bit of verbal jousting last month when the Ellerslie International Flower Show opened in Christchurch. For non-Kiwis – Ellerslie is a suburb of Auckland, where the flower show used to be held. We more or less snaffled the show from under their noses. It makes sense – we’re the “Garden City”, after all. Still not sure if keeping the name “Ellerslie” in the title is a sop to their egos or a carefully calculated way of rubbing salt into the wound …
But I digress. When the show opened, one of the national current affairs programmes had a threeway discussion between the mayors of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. It was, to be blunt, about pissing on trees. Quite a lot of chest-beating, and arguments about which city could claim to be the cultural capital of New Zealand. Wellington is the capital city, and has various prestigious festivals. Auckland has warmer weather, a bigger population and even more cultural festivals. Christchurch has snaffled one festival from the other guys, and, despite appalling weather, had broken all the attendance records. Mayor Bob Parker suggested that Auckland actually has too many festivals, and that we might consider hosting a couple more for them.
It’s one of those discussions that is never going to actually have an answer or a conclusion. (Or, perhaps, a point.) But a new bit of information has surfaced, that makes me feel quietly smug (needed, given that our usually invincible rugby team has been losing as many matches as they’ve been winning this year). Apparently we are the supreme users of public libraries!
Christchurch has the highest level of library membership in New Zealand. Seventy-two per cent of Christchurch people are library members, compared with a 51 per cent average in Auckland, Wellington, Manukau and the North Shore.
Christchurch people also borrow more, with about 16.9 items issued per head of population on average every year, compared with a national average of 12.68. Nearly six million items were issued in the year to June 30, 2008, from the collection of 1.1 million items, while 3.8 million visits to the network of 19 libraries was recorded in the same period.
Yay Christchurch! We’re the SuperReaders!