Some oddities escape notice in city library

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 10:58 25/01/2013
John  Stears
MARK COOTE/Wellington City Council
Unusual books: Library manager John Stears with some of the city library's more unusual items.

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Have you ever wondered about the history of Lonely Hearts advertisements, the best moments of one-day cricket, how to knit a royal wedding or how elephants behave on acid?

The answers can all be found in Wellington City Library.

Acting library manager John Stears asked the library cataloguers to find some of the more quirky items hidden on the shelves.

Among the discoveries were Elephants on Acid and Other Bizarre Experiments by Alex Boese; Never Kiss a Man in a Canoe by Tanith Carey; Shapely Ankle Preferred: a History of the Lonely Hearts Ad by Francesca Beauman and Peter Murray's Memorable Moments in One Day Cricket, which is shaped like a cricket ball.

There is also the 2012 graphic- novel-in-a-box, Building Stories, by Chris Ware.

It consists of 14 items that tell the story of the residents in a Chicago apartment building and includes a hardcover book, newspaper, printed sheets and cards.

Mr Stears said people had different opinions on what was an unusual item.

"What I think of as unusual might be perfectly OK to someone else," he said. "Many items are unusual because of the way they are presented, not because of their content.

"Like the cricket book with artificial grass on the cover, the graphic- novel-in-a-box that has all the little extras and some of the Korean pop CDs that have some stunning graphics on them."

Many people would never discover most of the unusual books, Mr Stears said.

"We have 800,000 books here. Most people who come in have their favourite section or routine and will only go to certain parts of the library.

"They don't expect the library would have many of these books."

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