Banned books the topic of Book Night event

The air was a bit blue on Book Night at The Open Book second-hand bookshop in Ponsonby but not from inclement weather.

About 30 people attended the cosy Book Night event, which was a collaboration between the shop and nationwide book-group organisation Book Discussion Scheme (BDS). The scheme introduced the annual all-age reading event 3 years ago. It’s loosely based on a similar event in the UK.

Auckland journalist and BDS book-group member Megan Nicol Reed acted as MC for the evening, which also featured AUT Librarian and social media expert Kim Tairi, law honours graduate Melanie Brebner and shop owner Hayden Glass. Brebner’s 2017 honours dissertation focussed on Into the River and book censorship in New Zealand.

"Librarians aren't neutral and libraries are not neutral places,” said Tairi, who discussed the role of libraries in a democratic and open society. She expressed the view that libraries can provide safe and supportive settings for younger readers to tackle books that have challenging content.

Poet and short story writer Anna Livesey, who coordinated the evening’s speakers, summed up the event with: “a great crowd, everyone spoke wonderfully, and lots of questions!"

Book Discussion Scheme is a non-profit organisation and New Zealand’s only nationwide book group specialist. It lends book sets and discussion notes to about 12,000 readers across the country and caters to adults, high /continued
school and tertiary students, ESOL readers and prison-based groups. The Scheme has been operating for 45 years and is based in the Christchurch suburb of Sydenham, where it houses more than 50,000 fiction and non-fiction books.

Selfies and comments from people who joined in Book Night can be viewed on the interactive map at

THE OPEN BOOKSOP, 201 Ponsonby Road, T: 09 360 1741,