Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Ngā haurongo Biographies

Recent Biographies

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Online databases

Online biography resources can be found at mygateway.info. Check out the Biography portal page for databases such as Biography Resource Center and the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, for example, contains over 3,000 biographies of famous New Zealanders (it does not, however, include people who are alive).

Biographies can also be found on many of our other databases for particular subject areas including arts, music, and business. Ask at any library enquiries desk if you need help with these resources:

Searching the catalogue

Catalogue Quicksearch

Looking for a particular person?

When looking for titles on a particular person, the best approach is from the Search screen, click on "Advanced" to the right of the search box, then choose "Call Number" in the dropdown menu, enter the word "biography". In the next row choose "Any Field" in the dropdown menu and then as much of the individual's name as is known - then click 'Search'.

Looking for a particular occupation?

To find titles about people in a particular occupation, also choose the Call Number search type, and enter the word "biography" and the job in the next row e.g. 'politicians'.

Looking for biographies about people from a particular country?

To find titles about people from a particular country, also choose the Call Number search type, and enter the word "biography" and the name of the country in the next row e.g. 'Russia'.

To find all our biographies...

To simply see all our available titles in the adult Biography collection, choose the 'Call Number browse' search type, and enter the word "biography". This will take you to an alphabetical list of all the titles catalogued as 'biography'. This search will not return the latest biographies first, so if you wish to only check the latest biographies, use our All new biographies quicksearch.

Shelf help

Each library has a dedicated, sign-posted area for biographical books. The Children's and Young Adult sections of each library branch also have collections of biographies aimed at younger readers.

Biographies on individuals:

Biographies on individuals have a spine label of 'B', followed by the first 3 letters of the subject's surname e.g. biographies of Robert Muldoon will be labelled B MUL. Members of royal families however are labelled according to their first names i.e. books on Queen Elizabeth's I and II will both be found at B ELI.

Collected biographies:

Biographies on more than one person have a spine label of Bc, followed by the first 3 letters of either the title or author of the book. Check the catalogue to confirm in each case. These collected biographies are shelved in the same general area as, but apart from, the other biographies.

Other places to look:

In addition to the Biography sections, there are books about some individuals shelved along with titles on the subject for which they became known. Books about popular, jazz and classical music musicians and composers are shelved in the subject area rather than with biographies. Though new books about artists, architects, photographers, actors and sports people are shelved in the biography section, older titles can be found with the relevant books in the main non-fiction sequence. You'll find some of these call numbers listed in the table below.

Biographies of: Dewey number:
Architects 720.92
Classical music composers & performers 789 & 789.2
Cricket players 796.358092
Movie actors 791.43092
Photographers 770.92
Popular music & jazz artists 786.9
Rugby & league players 796.33092

eBooks and eAudiobooks

You can also borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks to read or listen to on computers and mobile devices.

Check out:

Useful websites

Magazines

Check out reviews of newly released biographies in magazines.

Contact us

This page is written and maintained by library staff. Our aim is to keep you informed about the Biographies section of the library and to highlight parts of the collection which may interest you. We would be pleased to hear from you about this page, contact us with any feedback enquiries@wcl.govt.nz.

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