Since I was a small child with an outsized love of reading I've been a great fan of Whanganui's library system and since returning to live here I've been a regular visitor to the colourful, well-lit and comfortable Davis library.

I'm also a frequent borrower from its impressive and up-to-date collection.

Staff at both the Davis and Alexander reference library are unfailingly helpful and pleasant. It's great to see them patiently guiding members through the self-checkout technology that recently appeared at the Davis.

The customer service has been peerless from both long-serving staff and younger ones, but (yes, there is a but) any thought of providing library customers with great service seems to have been absent from a series of recent management decisions.


Someone has decided to stop the incredibly useful practice of archiving a few months' worth of papers from around New Zealand. Worse, the rotating racks of latest copies have been moved from their seven days a week accessible home in the far corner of the Davis to the Alexander, where they're only available Monday to Friday.

And if you're popping into the Alex (only on weekdays, remember) to use its reference works, research your family tree or even catch up on the National Business Review, no one has thought of providing a box to deposit a book you may wish to return.

That's apparently in the too-hard basket so you'll have to make your way to the Davis and that can be an inconvenience on a wet, cold day, especially if you have mobility problems.

All those Agatha Christie novels have turned me into a sleuth in the Poirot tradition, so I made my way to the area of the Davis that has for so many years been graced by the newspaper collection - not to mention the mostly-older regulars who could be found there, seven days a week, catching up on the latest papers (especially from their home towns).

What great mystery lay at the heart of this incomprehensible crime against readers?

All was revealed! Where once newspapers stood there are now rows of regimented bound reference copies of New Zealand Statutes, no doubt eagerly pounced upon at weekends by those seeking the likes of the Mercantile Agents Act 1908, since repealed, which required shopkeepers to use red ink to write the price on some books or magazines.

As Monsieur Poirot might well advise our library decision-makers: "It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely."

CAROL WEBB, Whanganui
NZ's worst seats

It is welcome news that council is planning to undertake upgrading of what should be one of the jewels in our crown, the War Memorial Centre.

This is an absolutely fabulous asset to our town that has been neglected for far too long.

I have attended numerous meetings and events in and around the centre over the years, many of them hosted in the concert chamber.

I have to agree, in part, with council chief executive Kym Fell, but I would go much further.

The seating in this hall is the most uncomfortable that I have encountered anywhere in the world, and while the replacement of seating is welcome, it is also a disgrace that it hasn't been addressed long ago.

Let's be certain, it didn't suddenly become uncomfortable, but generations of users of this hall have endured the distraction of growing pains on body, legs, and wherever, trying to enjoy one of the most celebrated examples of post-war modern architecture in New Zealand, and I'm very much looking forward to enjoying future experiences to match.

C WARREN, Kaitoke
Hospital art great

In response to the letter about hospital art, the hospital is not an art gallery.

However, be pleased, Doug Price, that people care enough to donate there artworks.

For the past seven weeks, 11 days of these being a visitor to ICU, I must say the photos on the wall leading to ICU are just out of this world. The photographer has to be congratulated. These made this walk worthwhile.

Since leaving ICU and being back in a ward, walking down the main passageway is so bleak and dull. Doug Price might like his painting down there?

I must say at this point the doctors and nursing staff are just amazing and caring - perhaps they might like a piece of art in their station as a mark of appreciation.

Thank you to the amazing photographer and I ask: Did the fisherman catch his fish?

Tasteful question

In reply to KA Benfell's letter (Chronicle, November 27) in which your correspondent attempts to answer my question "Are Catholics cannibals when they partake in Holy Communion?" I offer this rejoinder.

The simplistic response of "No, it doesn't" provides no insight or contrary evidence to a legitimate debate concerning my initial question. Maybe a representative of the Catholic Church could provide a reasoned argument against my question, - or then again maybe not, because deep down they are aware and realise such a belief is inane and illogical.

PAUL EVANS, Parkdale