Sunday, 30 December 2007
Have you expired? If you're reading this, you're probably wondering how that could be. You're not really expired, but your library card could be. Whenever I tell a library patron that they've expired, I can't help but chuckle. Library cards have a 3 year life span, unless you live in a rural area, in which case they are good for 1 year. We see all sorts of old cards being renewed, so don't be embarassed because you haven't been here in a long time. We've even seen the orange paper cards that were issued prior to automation in 1986. Children are now able to get a colourful new card, featuring Zoose the Moose. Having conducted a tour for a class of school children, I can
tell you the new card is a hit. We would like to welcome you back to visit the library any time. For more information about library cards visit the My Library Card section on our webpage.
I bet you've taken a mouthful of a nice cold glass of milk, only to find it was sour. Every food item has a shelf life. I was reading an issue of Real Simple magazine and they mentioned that they have a list of food and other consumer product expiration dates on their website. Did you know for example that an unopen jar of maraschino cherries lasts 3 to 4 years, but an open package of frozen vegetables lasts only 1 month? As far as a shelf life goes, it says that honey has an indefinite shelf life. The list also covers household products and cosmetics.
What about the animal kingdom? What sort of life span does an animal have? The average longevity of a polar bear is 20 years. This means that Bubba the polar bear at the Lake Superior Zoo, in Duluth, was close to his life span when he passed away. Born in 1989, he passed away on August 8 of this year. The domestic cat has an average life span of 12 years, and a maximum longevity of 28 years. We should all be so lucky to have a cat live 28 years. My cat Nermal lived to see her 18th birthday and I was very proud of that.
Source: The World Almanac And Book Of Facts 2007
How long is a passport good for? Passports for children (3 to 15 years of age) and adults (16 and over) are good for 5 years. Passports for children (under 3 years of age) are good for 3 years. You will soon need a passport to travel to the United States by land. So if your idea of fun is a day trip to Grand Marais for lunch and shopping, you're going to need a passport. The good news is, if you were issued a Canadian passport after January 31, 2002, you may be eligible for the simplified renewal process. To find out if you are, or for any other passport questions check out the Passport Canada website.
When do health cards expire? Your photo health card has an expiry date that is linked to your birth date. Renewal forms are mailed to you, but you can renew your card up to six months prior to its expiry. You can find information on renewing your health card, by visiting the Service Ontario website. It is a hub of government information. Here you can find out information on renewing other cards as well, such as an outdoors card, which is good for three calendar years. You need an outdoors card in conjunction with a fishing licence in order to fish.
The Service Ontario website is just one of the many sites you can find through our home page. Just click on the Virtual Collection and on the left hand side of the screen you will see a link to Service Ontario.
Articles On Expiration Dates
For further information on this topic visit our Virtual Collection and choose the Student Edition database. It is designed for high school students, but I found some interesting articles in it, by searching under the key words expiration dates. To access the databases in the Virtual Collection you will need to use your library card number and telephone number.
I would like to thank local columnist Annette OBrien, for the inspiration for the subject of this column. If your library card has expired, please make it a new year's resolution to renew it. Since this year is almost expired, I wish you good health and happiness in 2008. Happy New Year everyone, from all of us at the Thunder Bay Public Library.
Karen Craib, Library Technician
Sunday, 23 December 2007
Lynne Truss tackles boorish behaviour with a humourous slant in her book Talk To The Hand, The Utter Bloody Rudeness Of the World Today. This book does not provide solutions to tricky situations but rather mourns the loss of good manners in today's society. You may find yourself nodding in agreement and saying wow, that's happened to me. She explores the effects that modern conveniences have on our communication skills. Automated telephone systems, online banking, and self-service kiosks, all contributing to a general attitude of do-it-yourself. People seem to be tuned out and plugged in, whether it is a cell phone attached to the ear or text-messaging, listening to an
ipod or leaving a message at the beep.
The Canadian version of Reader's Digest published the results of a politeness poll in the October 2007 edition. A check of the 15 biggest cities in Canada found Moncton to be the most courteous on the consideration of strangers. In their article The Trouble With Technology 60% of Canadians surveyed felt that technology was to blame for a lack of manners. You can view the full results of the poll on their website, or you can read a copy of the print version available at the Brodie, Waverley or Mary J. L. Black libraries.
Peggy Post, daughter of the etiquette guru Emily Post offers up some suggestions for handling many of life's dilemmas in Excuse Me, But I Was Next. What to do when someone cuts in line in front of you? This happens quite often. You are standing in line to pay for an item, when another cashier opens up the till next to you. The person at the end of the line quickly heads there first. Or how about nosy questions? Do you dye your hair? How much money do you make? or Are you pregnant? Lots of practical everyday advice on tipping, cell phone etiquette, place settings, and unruly children. And yes, regifting is acceptable but only under very specific circumstances. To find out what they are you will have to borrow a copy of the book.
How about doing something just for the sake of kindness? In 2002, four young men embarked on a journey across Canada with the goal of committing as many random acts of kindness as possible. Their book Cool To Be Kind recounts their journey. Unlike most cross country tours which involve donations, the only requirement is that the recipients of an act of kindness pass along the same courtesy. These are not grandiose acts, some things are as simple as dishwashing, a massage, a hospital visit, or a hug. You many even remember hearing about their visit to Thunder Bay. They were introduced at the Fort William Gardens during a Lakehead University Thunderwolves game and sold chuck-a-pucks. The next day they lent a helping hand cooking for the shelter house. Their website can be found at www.extremekindness.com
You may have heard of the concept of committing an act of kindness and instructing the receiver to do the same being referred to as pay it forward. The term Pay It Forward was popularized by the novel of the same title by Catherine Hyde which was also made into a movie. As part of a social studies assignment, Trevor must come up with an idea for world change and act upon it. He decides to start a goodwill chain. He begins by helping out three people telling them that in return they must pay it forward by helping three others. At first it appears that his attempts have failed, but slowly the plan takes root and spreads. The library has a copy of the novel in print and audio cassette, as well as the film version on dvd.
If you are interested in guiding your child into using good manners there are a number of materials to set them on the right path. Mama Bear comes up with a plan to help her family correct their rude behaviour in The Berenstain Bear's Forget Their Manners by Stan Berenstain available in both print and electronic format @ your library. On dvd, again featuring the Berenstain Bears, is the title Bears Mind Their Manners which teaches children simple life lessons and family values. Emily Post's The Gift Of Good Manners by Peggy Post is a guide for parents wanting to teach children the finer points of behaviour by setting the example.
Perhaps this holiday season we can take the time to focus on our social skills and etiquette and declare 2008 the year for kindness.
Michelle Paziuk, Library Technician at the Brodie Resource Library.
Sunday, 16 December 2007
It’s no secret that the Christmas season is absolutely and positively my most favourite time of the year – nauseatingly so, as one close friend recently observed. I revel in the traditions instilled in me since childhood. Attending Christmas Eve Mass is an abiding joy and I never complain about having to arrive half an hour early just to get a seat. I love baking for Christmas and every year I insist on hosting the family Christmas dinner at our house. As I cook, I blissfully and enthusiastically warble Christmas songs much to my kids’ and cats’ disgust (obviously they have no appreciation of good music). I decorate the Christmas tree immediately after Remembrance Day, which is why we switched to an artificial tree a few years ago because the real ones began to exhibit severe signs of Charlie Brown syndrome by the time Christmas Day rolled around. Oh yes, and I routinely display a few of my most cherished Christmas possessions well into the spring. I also love learning about how other countries celebrate the season and often incorporate some of their traditions into my own. So, for me, writing an article focusing on just one aspect of the library’s extensive, multi-cultural, Christmas collection is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment. Instead, I have listed a veritable smorgasbord of Christmas delights, all of them non-fattening, all of them (and more) awaiting you at the Thunder Bay Public Library.
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS. 2nd ed. by Tanya Gulevich. c2003
If you are fascinated by the religious traditions and holiday celebrations of other nationalities during this time of year, then this comprehensive, illustrated guide is for you! With over 240 alphabetically arranged entries, including folk and religious customs, history, legends and symbols from around the world, it offers an abundance of information on Christmas, New Years and related days of observance such as Hanukkah and Kwanza.
CREATING YOUR PERFECT CHRISTMAS: STYLISH STEP-BY-STEP PROJECTS FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON by Antonia Swinson. c2006
This is an inspiring book for everyone who believes that you can’t buy the spirit of Christmas ready-made. It features a wealth of ideas for Traditional, Nordic, Country and White Christmas themes and offers detailed instructions to help you create a magical Christmas at home, with ideas for room decorations, tree and table, creative cards and gift wrapping, displays using wreaths and candles, stylish stockings and more.
‘TIS THE SEASON TO CROCHET. Edited by Bobby Matela & Mary Ann Frits. c2006
Create a beautiful holiday setting with crocheted decorations, stockings on the fireplace, a wreath, shelf sitters, a tree skirt and garland and more. This book includes many beautiful decorations and timely gift projects that will create a warm and welcoming look throughout your home, please your loved ones and make the holidays truly special.
CHRISTMAS COOKIES FROM THE WHIMSICAL BAKEHOUSE by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen. c2005
There is no better way to celebrate the Christmas season than by baking some special cookies. Mother-daughter bakers Kaye and Liv Hansen share their best cookie creations from simple roll-and-slice cookies to bars and cut outs including Chocolate Krinkles, Lemon Drop Cookies, Shortbread Snowflakes and Cream-Cheese Pastry Crescents, as well as detailed instructions for making truly impressive decorations!
THE OFFICIAL PRICE GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS AND OTHER HOLIDAY COLLECTIBLES by Dawn Reno Langley. c2006
Almost everyone has some kind of holiday collectible that they take out every year. From antique Christmas lights and ornaments to cherished Kwanza candle holders, people everywhere treasure their holiday accoutrements. This is the first guide that covers all major holidays and many minor ones ranging from Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza to Chinese and Japanese New Year, Passover, Cinco de Mayo and even Left-Handers’ Day. Organized by month, each section includes a history of the holiday, the items created and used for that holiday, and extensive price lists.
TO EVERY THING THERE IS A SEASON by Alistair MacLeod. c2004
This timeless tale of a farm family eagerly waiting for December 25th is our own classic Christmas story. The narrative, seen through the eyes of an 11 year old boy in 1940's Cape Breton Island, is simple, short and sweet. Beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated, this book deserves a place in every Canadian home that values a traditional Christmas.
THE SHEPHERD, THE ANGEL, AND WALTER THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE DOG by Dave Barry. c2006
Everyone needs some humour in their life (especially at Christmas) and, as always, Dave Barry delivers it in spades in this story for all ages that will touch your heart and make you laugh out loud. Incidentally, you may never look at a manger scene in the same way again!
A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens.
A beloved favourite of many, the timeless tale of Scrooge, Bob Cratchett and Tiny Tim is a must to share with your family and friends at Christmas. It is available in book format as well as in VHS and DVD.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (DVD)
Starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, Frank Capra’s classic tale of George Bailey and his Christmas Eve visit with Clarence, a guardian angel, remains as powerful and moving today as it was when it was made over 50 years ago. It is also available in VHS format.
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS. (COMPACT DISC).
Christmas would not be complete without listening at least once to the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas. If you’re like me, you listen to it all year ‘round despite the loud familial protests.
The Library has so many wonderful Christmas resources with which to tempt intellectual and creative palates that it is difficult to choose which ones to list. So come visit us – either in person or via the internet – select your favourites, sit back and enjoy. Merry Christmas!
Jill Otto, Library Technician, Mary J.L. Black Library
Sunday, 9 December 2007
How can I get my house clean without using chemicals?
Moving from a closet full of cleaners to a few natural products can be done in thoughtful steps. In Greening Your Cleaning Deidre Imus recommends simple steps to a safer, less toxic home. First, simplify your supplies, see which products can do multiple jobs and then stop purchasing special one application cleaners. Next, check your cupboards for existing natural cleaners, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and salt are all cleaners that can help to keep your house sparkling. Last, stop using disposable wipes. Use washable rags made from old t-shirts and towels. This will reduce the amount of garbage you produce and you will be on your way to a cleaner and safer home.
Are there green products for my pet?
Check out Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth for a wide range of eco-friendly products. Guidance on healthy pet foods, medical care, safety tips and pet selection will help you make Fido or Fluffy safer and happier. The resources include organizations, products and a wide range of websites to help make you a better pet parent.
How do I know which appliances in my house are using the most energy?
Borrow one of our Electronic Energy Meters. With the high cost of electricity, the Thunder Bay Public Library and the EcoSuperior Environmental Program is offering a valuable tool allowing consumers to monitor their electricity use and make smart energy choices. This simple gadget allows you to compare energy use between appliances. It comes with instructions for use, and it is free at your public library.
What is an Earthship?
Earthships were homes designed and built in New Mexico using tires for wall construction. The classic curved shape built into the earth was designed by architect Michael Reynolds to use tamped earth, angled glass, indoor planters, and solar power for an energy efficient green house. Building Green by Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan has pictures of both traditional and updated Earthships, and it includes information on planning and building cordwood, straw bale and modified Stick-Frame buildings. If you want to remodel your existing home in an ecologically friendly manner don't miss Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House. From simple decorative elements using recycled materials to full scale additions to your house this book will motivate you.
Is there a dvd that I could borrow to inspire my husband and me to think green?
Borrow Planet Earth, the complete series. This Emmy Award winning series, produced by BBC and the Japan Broadcasting Corporation in association with CBC, is a celebration of the diversity and beauty of our world. Occasionally violent, but always moving, this 11 episode series, does not focus on the environmental concerns but reminds us of the fragile and exquisite nature of the earth. For a dvd more focused on practical eco-lifestyles borrow SimpleSteps to a Greener Home. From flooring to restoring, you can make your home an Earth-friendly oasis that proves creative ideas can make green living gorgeous living.
Do you have stocking stuffer for my ecologically minded friend?
Look up 1001 Ways to Save the Earth. This pocket size book, printed on sustainably produced paper, is a must for any conservationist. This colorful little book contains great ideas on how to clean your clothes, care for your children, manage your garden and cook with an eye to the environment. Good things do come in small packages!
Roberta Casella, Adult Services Librarian
Sunday, 2 December 2007
The Public Library is a unique institution. It’s a place where people can go to share ideas, to learn new things and to enrich their lives by borrowing books and magazines to read, movies to watch and music to listen to. We provide a wide variety of services to people of all ages, diverse ethnic backgrounds and from all walks of life.
We offer puppet shows and story times for young children in addition to learn-to-read programs and craft programs. The Youth Advisory Council provides recreation for teens, as well as a forum for their input. For adults we offer book clubs, informative programs, film nights and more. Seniors’ needs are addressed with large print books, audio books and home service options. People of all ages enjoy our public internet access, local history, genealogy, special collections, our virtual collection of online databases and ebooks, meeting rooms, photocopiers and quiet spaces to study and relax. And we can’t forget that we also lend out books, movies, music, magazines, cd-roms, leap-pad books, Braille books, and books a variety of languages too!
Our Vision sums up what we stand for:
A Citizen Enlightened
Providing people of all ages, abilities and cultural heritages with the knowledge they need to pursue their goals and dreams.
A Community Engaged
Creating an accessible destination for learning and play that is dedicated to growth, partnerships, innovative programming, and connecting people to information and the world.
A City Enriched
Maintaining and developing services and programs that are relevant to the challenges and needs of our City and our Region.
The Public Library welcomes your feedback about our programs, services and collections. We have Customer Comment forms available at all locations, and online, and respond promptly to all concerns. If there is a certain book, movie or recording you think we should consider adding to our collection you can fill out a Purchase Suggestion Form – again, either at any location, or online. If there’s something we have in our collection that you think shouldn’t be there, we have a “Request for Reconsideration Form.”
Another way we collect your feedback is through surveys. There’s a link to the “Customer Satisfaction Survey” on the homepage of our Website. Information collected from this survey is used extensively by Librarians in planning new services, and refining existing ones. Further, many other public libraries across Canada are using the same survey, and information is shared, compared and studied.
Currently we are also conducting a very short online survey about our Website. This survey will be featured on our homepage, in the centre column, until the end of December. All opinions, comments and suggestions are welcome. The results of this survey will be used to make the Website easier to use.
Speaking of feedback, over the past year the Library has branched out on to the social web to give you more opportunities to share your ideas and opinions with us. This column has a home online, at libdetective.blogspot.com, where you are welcome to add your comments.
We also have a Facebook group, and a new Facebook page, where lively discussions about books have taken place. We have a video tour, hosted by two members of our Youth Advisory Council, on YouTube – another site that welcomes your comments. Photos from Library events can be seen on Flickr, and you can send us notes there too.
The Public Library is YOURS to use and enjoy. Please help us make it the best it can be for YOU, by giving us your feedback.
Saturday, 24 November 2007
I often hear people complain of being bored and my first thoughts are “what are their hobbies?” and “do they have any hobbies?” Those with an abundance of hobbies are more concerned with a lack of available time than with boredom. A good hobby can become all consuming and may even help to financially support a family in tough financial climates. When I was young and my father couldn't find work in his field he did minor renovations for people in the neighbourhood. Had he not had excellent carpentry skills the time between jobs would have been far more challenging, both financially and psychologically. And there are so many hobbies out there, but I personally have a preference for something that entertains and leaves me with a finished product. As such I knit, quilt, bead, sew, do needlework and am learning to spin! As the holiday season approaches these hobbies stand me in good stead to have gifts ready for my family and friends.
A few months ago, my family was in a craft shop and the non-crafty one said “I can't believe they already have stuff for Christmas out!” Yet to me that seemed perfectly normal, if you do any sort of craft, be it needlework, woodworking, stained glass or any of the myriad of other crafts out there you know that considering the time involved you have to start early. If things are to be completed by the holiday season careful planning is in order and ideas presented in August have a far better chance of being made than those that tempt us in November. In fact, the later they surface in November the more likely they are to be delegated to the “well, maybe next year” pile. A pile which may mysteriously disappear as others “clean up” the house.
While there is the time sensitive nature of projects around this time of year, there's also the dream that “while I'm on holiday I'll have time to do _______________.” I know, I fall in to this category of thinking and truly believe that over the holiday I'll have lots of time to finish some WIPs (Works in Progress) and start (and complete) some great new projects. I think the key here (and I'm really trying to believe this) is to enjoy the time you have.
Whether you're ready to find a new love or rekindle an old one the library has a wide variety of titles for hobbyists and crafters of all stripes. And if you don't have time to complete a project sometimes it's nice to read fiction that encompasses your hobby. The following is just a tiny part of our collection for hobbyists and crafters. Unfortunately there is not enough room to give a feeling of the full breadth of our collection.
For the woodworker:
Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Using Woodworking Tools by Lonnie Bird
Furniture You Can Build: Projects to Hone Your Skills by Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk
Wreck the Halls: A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery by Sarah Graves
Canadian Home Workshop (magazine)
For the needlecrafter:
Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas
2001 Cross stitch Designs: The Essential Reference Book
Leslie Linsley's New Weekend Quilts: 25 Quick and Easy Quilting Projects You Can Complete in a Weekend
Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton
The Christmas Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini
Vogue Knitting (magazine)
McCall's Quilting (magazine)
We also have materials on such a variety of topics as stained glass (e.g. Stained Glass Exploring New Techniques and New Materials), scrapbooking (Scrapbook Tips & Techniques), sewing (Sew Basic: 34 Essential Skills for Sewing with Confidence), and so many more. Please come in and get creating!
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, Children's and Youth Services Librarian at the Brodie Resource Library –
Monday, 19 November 2007
Were you one of the many who experienced an” act of poetry” during Random Acts of Poetry week Oct 1 – 7? I was! What a talented “construction crew” we had this year! I’ve always marveled at those individuals who had the gift of rhyming words. But it seems nowadays the words don’t even have to rhyme anymore. Poetry has come a long, long way. There has been a resurgence in the attention paid to poetry especially amongst the youth as they “rap” their way to stardom – have you ever listened to the words of some of the songs on the pop chart? Some - not all - certainly have a way with words that is quite remarkable. Take the lyrics to the BareNaked Ladies song “Pinch Me” – “Try to scream but it only comes out as a yawn, when ya Try to see the world beyond your front door. Take your time cos the way I rhyme's gonna make you smile, when ya Realise that with a guy my size it might take a while, just to Try to figure out what all this is for….I could hide out under there, I just made you say 'underwear'” . My kids just loved that final line – having fun with words is what these lyrics are all about. When you have that realization you form a whole new appreciation for the “new music”. Poetry isn’t just Shakespeare and iambic pentameter; it isn’t just rhyming words or alliteration. We now have E-poetry, Slam poetry, Spoken word or performance poetry. The list is endless. It seems anything can be turned into a poem.
Keeping up with this jivin’ new world, the library held a Grade 8 poetry contest in conjunction with this year’s Random Acts of Poetry. On November 26 at 7 pm at the Brodie Library Fireside Reading room, we will be hearing from this year’s winners. Please join us for a literary evening and some refreshments. If you missed your “random act of poetry”, the construction crew will also be on hand to share some of their poetry.
What is E-Poetry?
“Digital poetry (also referred to as E-poetry, short for electronic poetry) refers to a wide range of approaches to poetry at all have in common prominent and crucial use of computers. Whether a work is poetry or visual art or music or programming is sometimes not clear, but we expect an intense engagement with language in poetical works.” Wikipedia
I don’t get what “Spoken Word” is – do you just read your poem out loud?
Spoken word involves more than reading your poems out load. It has a performance element to it, and often music or sound. There is even the Canadian Spoken Wordlympics. The 2008 Festival of Spoken Word which holds the Wordlympics is set to be held in Calgary.
Does Slam poetry involve any physical contact?
Slam poetry just refers to poetry competitions and usually does not involve any physical contact. This type of forum for poetry has gained popularity in recent years. Toronto and Ottawa both have annual poetry slams. It involves more spoken word or performance poetry. Check out www.capitalslam.com for more information on the Ottawa group, and www.torontopoetryslam.com for information on the Toronto group.
Where do you find “concrete poetry”?
Concrete poetry is not found on concrete like a hopscotch squares. It is not a form of graffiti. Rather, it refers to the shape of the words and is also known as “visual poetry”. Concrete poems “ use typeface, word arrangement, spacing, special characters, and color to dramatize the words’ meaning by the way they look.” It is not a new phenomenon. An early example is from Herbert’s "Easter Wings", in which the overall typography of the poem is in the shape of its subject. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland contains a similar effect in the form of the mouse's "Tale," which is in the shape of a tail. Wikipedia
Barb Philp, Head of Adult Services
Sunday, 4 November 2007
From the moment I heard that author, columnist and humorist William Thomas was coming to the library, I knew I had to be there. I've been reading his column in Pets Magazine for years and I've read most of his books. On May 9 my husband and I were part of a small audience in the auditorium of the Waverley Resource Library, that were fortunate enough to hear him. He said he doesn't actually do a reading, instead he sat on the corner of a table and just talked. He was warm and terribly funny. It was like reading one of his books. I actually spoke to him after and told him what a thrill it was to hear him. There is only one of his books that I haven't read. His newest book out is The Cat Rules (Everything, Including The Dog!). It's about life with Weggie, the hockey playing cat. It's a follow up to his best selling book The Dog Rules (Damn Near Everything). Hmm I guess this tells you which animal is really the one in control. His animal stories are hilarious and will touch the heart of any pet lover. He also has a book about the humorous side of life with his elderly mother, that I enjoyed, called Margaret And Me. For hilarious travel stories be sure to read Never Hitchhike On The Road Less Travelled. At the library, he spoke of some of his travel escapades, and they were even funnier to hear in person. This was his second visit to the library. If he ever returns, treat yourself and attend. I'm sure you'll leave with a smile on your face. We carry most of his books at the library.
May was a busy month for visits by authors. When my sister asked if I'd like to attend a talk by a well known gardener, I said I would if it was David Tarrant or Mark Cullen. Well, it was Mark Cullen. On May 25 I sat in a packed room at the Italian Cultural Centre to hear him. I think he said there were over 600 people in the audience. He was funny and very interesting. It was fun to listen to a famous voice I'd only ever heard on a radio show. He showed photos of his garden, well known Canadian gardens and gardens he visited on a trip to England. The photos were breathtaking. It was a treat for your senses. Afterward I went home, looked around the yard, and said, this doesn't quite compare. But you can dream. His books are a perfect choice if you're sitting at home this winter on a dark thirty below Celsius evening, just trying to stay warm. You can open up a book and transport yourself to a warm sunny day in a lush garden. Who knows, maybe that night you'll even dream about summer. The library carries several titles by him, such as Mark Cullen's Ontario Gardening: How To Get The Most From Your Garden With Canada's Bestselling Gardening Expert. And if you're spending your winter planning a new garden for the spring, Mark can help with Canadian Garden Design: Ideas and Inspirations For Your Garden.
Early October lead me to the accidental discovery that one of my favourite authors would be appearing in Duluth, Minnesota during my vacation. A few phone calls later, I was registered for a dinner with Lorna Landvik and I could scarcely contain my excitement. The last time I was this excited was in the early 1980's, when cast members from the soap opera, Another World came to Keskus. I had a wonderful evening. I sat with perfect strangers, members of a Duluth book club and had a great time. Lorna was gracious, funny and unfortunately, even sick to her stomach. I've enjoyed every book by her. From the moment a library staff member recommended Patty Jane's House Of Curl, I was hooked. I borrowed some of her other titles from out of town through our Interlibrary Loan service. It's a great service. I don't know what I'd do without it. I then submitted suggestions to purchase all of her titles, and I've read them all. I finished reading her new book The View From Mount Joy, just two days before I realized she'd be in Duluth. October 11 saw me eager to join Lorna for a chicken caesar salad and hear her read from her book, and answer questions. The library carries all of Lorna's books. Her latest The View From Mount Joy follows Joe Andreson through the years, starting with his move to Minneapolis as a high school senior. Joe has a crush on one of the most popular girls, Kristi Casey, a cheerleader. They stay in touch over the years, as Joe becomes a grocer and Kristi becomes a televangelist. They both go on to meet other people, but their lives stay entwined.
Now you see why I called this the year of the author. I feel as if someone was watching out for me and trying to cheer me up in an absolutely amazing way. To see just one of these authors would have been exciting, but to have the chance to hear all three, was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It brings to mind a sheet of stickers I bought this fall. One of them says Give Thanks For Simple Blessings. Right now, I feel blessed.
Karen Craib, Library Technician
Sunday, 28 October 2007
For me the most difficult part about writing this column is picking a topic. So I
got to thinking about writing, which is just so many words all strung together in
a way that's comprehensible to all, right? It can be that simple but the words
you choose and the way you put them together make all the difference. So
that gave me the idea for my topic today: words!
I know that meanings of words change over time, so how do I go about tracing
the origin of a particular word? You'll need a good etymological dictionary.
The standard source for this is the Oxford English Dictionary. This hefty,
multi-volume set is located in the reference departments. There are numerous
other etymological dictionaries available in the library as well. The precise
subject term for these is English language -- etymology -- dictionaries.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word "word" has its origins in
Old English. It's easy enough to look up the meaning of words in a regular
dictionary, but what about expressions like "your name is mud"? A dictionary
of idioms should be able to help you out. Try the Oxford Dictionary of Idioms.
A book like The Whole Ball of Wax and Other Colloquial Phrases by Laurence
Urdang is both a fun and educational read. A site such as
http://www.idiomsite.com has a number of idioms, their meanings and origins.
While it lists a large number idioms, the following site does not provide
the origin of the idiom: http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms
I heard the term "biPodding" the other day which sounds like it's a
newly made up word. Is there anywhere I can find new words like
New words, or neologisms, pop into our language all the time, however,
whether they get accepted into everyday language is another matter.
One neologism that has stood up is the use of the word "google" as a
verb, derived from the popular search engine Google and meaning to look
up information on the Internet using a search engine. It's fun to see what
words or phrases people are making up these days so have a look at The
Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com They have a Word of the
Day section and you can keep up to date with this by subscribing to it
I read the bestselling book Eats Shoots and Leaves: the Zero Tolerance
Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss. Are there any books like this
Gotta love those quirky titles! Yes, check out books like Words Fail Us:
Good English and Other Lost Causes by Bob Blackburn, Wanted Words: from
Amalgamots to Undercarments: Language Gaps Found and Fixed by Jane
Farrow, ed., and Death Sentences: How Cliches, Weasel Words, and
Management Speak are Strangling Public Language by Don Watson.
Browse the shelves at 428, 428.1 and 428.2 to find these and other equally
Speaking of quirky did you know that there are dictionaries for almost any type
of word application? For example, there are rhyming dictionaries, crossword
dictionaries, spelling and visual dictionaries, dictionaries of eponyms (words
derived from the name of a person or place), quotations, allusions, foreign
phrases, slang and dictionaries of American and Canadian English. You'll
find the definition of Thunder Bay's unique pastry, the Persian, in the
Canadian Oxford Dictionary.
Here's a hint on how to use Google specifically for finding definitions. Type
"define: the word you're looking for", e.g., define: infrangible, and you'll get
exactly what you're looking for, without all the other unnecessary stuff a
typical Google search result would throw at you. A site worth bookmarking
is refdesk.com. You'll find a wealth of information, including all types of
dictionaries, a thesaurus, and much much more.
We'll have to wait until December to see what the American Dialect Society
decides is the word of the year. Last year the word was "truthiness", the
Stephen Colbert definition, which, according to the Society, "refers to the
quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than
concepts or facts known to be true�.
I hope I haven't been too wordy today (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun). I'll
leave you with this quote by Rudyard Kipling: "Words are, of course, the
most powerful drug used by mankind" (Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations).
Sylvia Renaud, Head of Reference and Information Services
Sunday, 21 October 2007
An examination of any food packaging label can be confusing with such unpronounceable words as benzyl isobutyrate and soya protein isolate. When Steve Ettlinger's 6 year old daughter asks the question "where does pol-y-sorbate six-tee come from" it leads him on a journey through the complicated world of processed food. In his book Twinkie, Deconstructed he tries to unravel this food mystery. Each ingredient on the twinkie package is investigated. Interestingly, the source of the ingredients are more closely related to rocks and petroleum than actual food. You will never look at this classic snack cake the same way again.
In 2004, Morgan Spurlock produced his Academy Award nominated movie Super Size Me which focuses on a diet consisting strictly of fast food. He eats three meals every day at McDonald's, must try everything on the menu at least once, and if asked whether he would like to super size his meal he must say yes. It's a humourous film that shows an extreme example of what happens to our body when we eat fast foods. A copy of this film on dvd is available at your library. You can also borrow a copy of Don't Eat This Book for further funnies on the supersizing of America.
Chew On This by Eric Schlosser is everything you don't want to know about fast food. Learn about the secret ingredients that make fast food taste and smell so good and look attractive. Slick advertising and meals that come with a toy keep children coming back for more and set the trend into adulthood.
So, how do you know what to eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle? We've all learned about Canada's Food Guide from grade school. In 1942 the Canadian government published the first food guide to help prevent nutritional deficiencies and improve our health. The 1942 version included wartime rationing. The Food Guide was recently updated, in 2007, and now includes such foods as tofu, kefir and couscous. You can view a copy online.
When Thomas Pawlick cuts into a nice red, freshly purchased tomato only to find it disappointingly hard and tasteless it leads him on an investigation into food industry practices. He places the tomato on a windowsill for several days thinking it will become juicy and soft. No such luck. The tomato never seems to ripen. Why? In his book The End Of Food he explores various methods of food production in order to raise consumer awareness. By the way, the tomato was picked while it was still green to withstand transportation and last longer. It is then gassed with the chemical ethylene to change it to a nice red colour for the shelf.
Is Our Food Safe? by Warren Leon uncovers the hazards found in our current food supply. He separates fact from fiction to try and guide consumers into making the correct choices in what can be a very confusing area. Reports of food-borne illnesses and recalls are becoming a common occurrence. Interestingly there are more recalls and warnings for vegetables than meats. This book points out how to avoid these risks while choosing a healthy diet.
If you are concerned about foods that may have been recalled the Canadian Food Inspection Agency posts all current recalls on their website. There is a link on the right hand side for Food Recalls/Allergy Alerts under the heading hot topics.
Another interesting and fun read is The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. America's food process really relies heavily on fossil fuels and corn. Fossil fuels are used in fertilizers, pesticides, packaging and transporting the end product while corn is used to feed livestock, as a starch to thicken, corn syrup for sweetening and corn oil for cooking. It is in just about everything you can think of from vitamin pills to toothpastes. As well as industrial farming he covers organic farming and what it is like to hunt and gather food for yourself.
While all of this information on food processing sounds scary, it is possible to make good food choices for ourselves. By following nutritional guidelines and reading the packaging label you will be well on your way towards healthier eating. Bon Appetit!
Michelle Paziuk, Library Technician
Sunday, 14 October 2007
The Thunder Bay Public Library can trace its roots back to 1876 with the opening of a Mechanics Institute in the Port Arthur schoolhouse. Membership fees were $20.00 for life or $2.00 per year. Over the years the library moved many times until the present building at 285 Red River Road opened on June 1, 1951 as the Port Arthur Public Library.
Library services for Fort William began in 1885 when CPR employees opened a bath, smoking and literary room, with a library attached in the Round House, West Fort William. Fees were $1.25 per year for CPR employees; outsiders were required to pay $1.25 for use of the tub. In 1912, with the assistance of a $50,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation, the Fort William Library was opened at 216 South Brodie Street.
The Westfort Branch library, 151 West Brock Street opened in 1938. The Fort William Library saw its first major change when an addition was added to the south side of the building in 1955. The floor area was increased from 14,000 square feet to 23,150 square feet. In 1966 the front entrance was rebuilt. Mary J. L. Black was the librarian of the Fort William Library from 1909-1937. She was one of Canada's leading librarians in her day, and the Fort William Library was widely regarded as a fine small city library. She was the first woman president of the Ontario Library Association. It seems appropriate that the Westfort Branch was named the Mary J. L. Black Library in Miss Black's honour.
The present Thunder Bay Public Library officially came into being in 1970, after the amalgamation of Port Arthur and Fort William. The inaugural meeting of the Library Board was held in January, 1970. The Library has changed a lot since 1970, but our fundamental role as a dynamic community resource has not. Computers revolutionized the way staff do their work as well as how people find information. In addition to providing the community with a collection of books, magazines, music and movies to borrow, we also provide access to quality online collections and services. Fittingly, the theme of this year’s Public Library Week is “The world at your fingertips.”
Our Virtual Collection includes world-class databases of information from thousands of academic and media sources. We have online interactive tools like Career Cruising and Auto Repair Reference Centre. Tumblebooks are fun, interactive online books for children, and help with learning to read – they even come in French and other languages! We have ebooks from NetLibrary and streaming music from Naxos. You can chat with our Reference Staff via MSN Messenger, ask a question from a form on our website, and register for a program online. You can save a “preferred search” in our online catalogue, and sign up to receive email notices of new material you’re interested in.
The blog for this column (libdetective.blogspot.com) encourages you to “talk back” to us with your comments. The Library has a del.icio.us account where you can explore staff-selected websites, and we’ve posted photos from Library events on Flickr. Do you have Facebook? If so, join the Thunder Bay Public Library group and voice your opinions or chat about the book you’re reading. With these resources and more, you can enjoy a visit to the Library from the comfort of your home computer.
For those without the luxury of a home computer with internet access, all branches have public internet stations. In addition to the Virtual Library, we also continue to lend books (in hardcover, paperback, large print, easy reading, braille and other languages), magazines, cds, audiobooks, movies (on dvd and video), cd-roms and more. We also offer a wide range of programs for all ages. For children we have drop-in story times, puppet shows, concerts and stories and craft programs. For teens the Youth Advisory Council offers fun social events and a chance to help choose books for the Teen collection. For adults we have film nights, book clubs and special-interest programs, as well as computer classes ranging from basic searching to special topics.
Why not celebrate Public Library Week by visiting your library (virtually or in person!), taking out something new, leaving us a comment, and attending a program? Here’s a list of this week’s activities:
Monday October 15th
10:30 a.m., Brodie Library
Media Conference: Public Library Week Events and Aboriginal Art Commission
10:30 a.m., Mary J.L. Black Library, Beginning With Books, drop-in story time for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, with parent or caregiver
1:00 p.m., Mary J.L. Black Library, Novel Lunch Bunch, bring your lunch and discuss books about the British Empire
7:00 p.m., Waverley Library, StoryTimz Storytelling Circle, all ages welcome to listen to stories and share a story of your own
Tuesday October 16th
7:00 p.m., Waverley Library, Citizens Concerned About Pesticides presents “Gardening without Pesticides”, all welcome to attend
Wednesday October 17th
10:30 a.m., Brodie Library, Drop-in Storytime, for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, with parent or caregiver
Thursday October 18th
10:30 a.m., Waverley Library, Drop-in Storytime, for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, with parent or caregiver
7:00 p.m., Mary J.L. Black Library, Reading Rendezvous, Mass-Book Club Meeting, please call Roberta at 624-4206 to RSVP
Saturday October 20th
2:30 p.m., Waverley Library, Hallowe’en Haunts, for children age 5 and over, please register online or by phone
Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Library Resources
Sunday, 7 October 2007
Do you have any CDs or books for learning French?
We have books, dictionaries, grammars, cassettes, CDs and CD-ROMs. The Rosetta Stone language learning CD-ROMs are considered the world's best learning tools.You can put the disc in your computer and then interact with native speakers and the rich images and sounds; you can even quiz yourself and check your pronunciation and answers. The Library has the Rosetta Stone French Level 1 and Level 2.
Do you have any French movies?
We have a variety of movies which were filmed in French and are available in the original language with optional English subtitles. Additionally, many of the DVDs in our English collection have optional French subtitles or soundtracks. Find DVDs of classics like Mon oncle or Au revoir les enfants, or family films like Asterix & Obelix, Disney films or short features for children with Caillou or other animated characters.
Have you any French Canadian legends or folktales?
You can find some amazing stories in books like D'est en ouest: legendes et contes canadiens or the video Legendes du Canada francais. For those who want to know the stories but who read in English only, there are also books available. One new one by Roch Carrier is The Flying Canoe (La chasse-galerie) and it is an amusing picture book which begs to be shared with an audience.
Do you have really really simple French books for a parent whose child is in French Immersion classes and who wants to practice reading in French?
Yes. Each branch has a collection of beginner readers in French for children (or adults) with simple sentences and illustrations to help the novice reader. There are also picture dictionaries which are great for identifying key objects. Also, I would refer you to a useful web site which provides a Beginner's List of French words - both verbs and useful words or phrases such as parce que (because) or maintenant (now). Don't be shy! Plunge right in and soon you'll be able to parler with your children.
Why don't you have books by my favourite French author?
We work to provide a good variety and a French collection which is relevant to the francophone community and the French-learning students as well and we need and welcome your input. If there is a subject, or title, or author which you think that the Library should have, please fill out a suggestion form online or in card format at the Library. We want to provide the books and other materials that you most want.
Are there any award-winning French books?
At the Library can find many of the books which have won the Prix litteraires du gouveneur general (both for adult and children), or the Prix Alvine-Belisle, Prix Cecile-Gagnon or other Canadian and international awards.
Do you have books which are not translations but are in the original French?
We have both, although in the children's department we make a strong effort to provide books written in French by Canadian authors. There are some excellent choices from among the talented French-Canadian writing and illustrating community such as Marie-Louise Gay, Pierre Pratt, Gilles Tibo, Louise LeBlanc and others. But then it is also possible to find your favourite English authors, like Robert Munsch, translated into French. Watch out for name changes - Franklin the Turtle is Benjamin en francais and Clifford the Big Red Dog is the much-more appropriately named, Betrand.
Here is one last tip you might enjoy. If you have ever listened to a native French-speaker in an animated conversation and been curious about the meanings of certain words you hear interjected into the conversation and repeated over and over - words such as donc, alors or ben (pronounced like bain), then you will enjoy reading up on the French language web page for "fillers in speech" at www.ielanguages.com Browse the list at this site and soon you'll be "donc"ing and "bon ben"ing like a Quebecoise.
Angela Meady, Head of Children's & Youth Services
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Do you remember Spud's Burger Major Drive-In on Arthur Street? I recall going there as a child with my sister and her family. My nephew was in one of those car seats, complete with a plastic steering wheel and horn. I can recall how exciting it was to go there. This popular burger joint opened in 1959. Teens in the 1960's spent weekends cruising Victoria Avenue and then meeting at Spud's for a burger. It was also a popular family restaurant. If you're looking for information on Spud's or other local restaurants, keep our local history collection in mind. A quick search in our Thunder Bay News Index, which you can locate in the Virtual Collection on our web page, lead me to this article. Source: Chronicle Journal August 12, 2004 page A2 "Taste bud flashback"
Stanley Hill Cemetery
The library has newspaper articles on various area cemeteries. We also carry a book on the history of a small rural cemetery located on Stanley Hill. You can read about it's early beginnings, changes over the years and the recollections of area seniors. It is complete with photos and a list of people interred there. When the author was doing research for this book, another staff member and I mentioned to him that we have property there. I can't think of a quieter, more scenic spot for my future home. Source: Stanley Hill Cemetery: 1901-2001 by David Nicholson
The Train At Chippewa Park
Do you remember the miniature train ride at Chippewa Park? In the summer of 1960 the Lakeshore Express made it's debut. The train was operated by Fritz Altmann. I can still recall the excitement of riding this train. According to a newspaper article the ride was only 3 ½ minutes. As a child it seemed a lot longer than that. If you're interested in a general history of Chippewa Park, you can find a report on the City of Thunder Bay's website
Source: LF TB Parks and Playgrounds - Chippewa
Murillo Fall Fair
This year this rural community celebrated the116th annual Murillo Fall Fair. It still follows the same recipe for success you can enter a pie, a quilt or a vegetable in one of the competitions. There are chariot races, live entertainment and of course there's plenty to eat. When I was a child the biggest attraction for me was seeing the farm animals, especially the pigs and the chance to win a goldfish in a small bowl. I guess some things never change, after all these years I am still thrilled whenever I get a new goldfish.
Source: LF NWO Fairs - Murillo
Local Race Car Drivers
Do you remember local stock car driver Barry Kettering? His career began in the 1950s at age 17, on the CLE track. He moved to the States in 1960 where he became well known in racing circles. Unfortunately his life was cut short during a racing accident in 1976. For information on Barry or other well known local residents, check out our biography files.
Source: LF TB Biography Kettering, Barry
Slate River Churches
Are you looking for the history of rural churches? In Slate River, worship services were first held in a poplar grove on a farm, which is now the Gammondale farm. These services began around 1890. The first church constructed there in 1896, was a log structure built by the Presbyterians. An Anglican church was built in 1915 and a Baptist church was built in 1909. Oddly enough the Baptist church was hit by lightning twice, as was my Grandmother.
Source: LF NWO Churches
Gateway To Northwestern Ontario History
If you enjoy looking at old photographs, take a peek at our digitization site, also located in the Virtual Collection. With over 1,100 photos, you can find everything from royal visits to photos of
area people. There are photographs of hotels, schools, hospitals and train stations. There are photos of industries such as mining and logging. We even have a photo taken at the opening of the Pigeon River Bridge. If you can't find what you're looking for in the Local History files, we also have old newspapers on microfilm. Staff can show you how to search through the newspapers. They're always interesting to look at and you'd be surprised at the things you can find, that you didn't even know you were looking for. So the next time you're trying to dig up a piece of the past, visit the Brodie Resource Library. We just might be able to help with your search.
Karen Craib, Library Technician
Sunday, 16 September 2007
COMPANY’S COMING: COOKING FOR THE SEASONS by Jean Pare. c2002
Although this book offers year-round inspiration for seasonal cooking, its section devoted to fall contains some wonderful recipes. End a chilly day with cheesy asparagus chowder or acorn squash soup with Parmesan herb bread and a roasted vegetable stew or pork chop bake.Yummy! There are also some great harvest preserves ideas and Thanksgiving recipes which are sure to tempt event the most finicky of palates.
THE COMPLETE HUNTER VENISON COOKERY. c1997
In our neck of the woods, Fall signals the beginning of hunting season. This book offers a full-range of delectable recipes using deer meat and also includes a chart that outlines the various big-game cuts that you can substitute for the most common deer cuts. Its comprehensive section on sausages and smoke-house specialties, with detailed instructions for special processes like stuffing sausages and smoking jerky, makes it the perfect, all-round cookery source for the avid hunter!
SPIRIT OF THE HARVEST: NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN COOKING by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs. c1992
Spirit of the Harvest’s authentic recipes, detailed, full-colour photographs and informative text beautifully present the distinctive and delicious cooking of North American Indians from coast to coast. This carefully researched cookbook incorporates many indigenous ingredients hailed today for their healthfulness and flavour – wild rice, corn, beans, sunflower seeds, venison, buffalo, fowl and fish. Many recipes come from noted cooks who are members of the different tribes and all recipes can be easily prepared using modern kitchen techniques.
THE MANY BLESSINGS COOKBOOK: A CELEBRATION OF HARVEST, HOME AND COUNTRY COOKERY by Jane Watson Hopping, the Pioneer Lady. c1993
This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite cook books. It’s an old-fashioned celebration of the bountiful season of autumn containing over 100 scrumptious, traditional recipes (Effie’s Late Fall Deep Dish Pear Pie is mouth-watering!) along with poems, illustrations and anecdotes presented with all the heart-warming charm that readers have come to expect from the Pioneer Lady. Read, cook and enjoy!
PERFECT PRESERVES by Hilaire Walden. c2002
The title really says it all. Here is the perfect guide to the many methods for preserving all kinds of foods right in your own kitchen. Drying, curing, pickling, canning, crystalizing, freezing, smoking, potting, making chutney, relishes, jams, jellies, marmalades, fruit cheeses, curds and butters – it’s all included – and once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll also find delicious recipes for using your preserved foods. Don’t forget, few gifts are received with as much enthusiasm as homemade food and jars of preserves!
Memories that evoke the special spirit of autumn are often made while sharing harvest feasts with family and friends. These are the moments that are remembered and recounted from generation to generation around crackling fires, football games, pumpkin gathering, Thanksgiving celebrations and Hallowe’en parties. So, this fall, visit the library, check out some of the great seasonal cookery books and add to your family’s list of cherished reminiscences.
Jill Otto, Library Technician