Sunday, 25 May 2008

Sunday May 25th, 2008 Tea

A while ago, I explored the topic of coffee in a library detective column and while the television ads and the proliferation of Tim's cups in the hands of trendy drivers and pedestrians seems to indicate that coffee is king of the Canadian beverage industry, a growing market seems to be coming of age in the wholesome shape of a tea leaf.

As the proliferation of new blends and brands grows it seems that the notion of afternoon tea has stepped out from the church bazaar to become a decidedly popular pastime at a trendy tea house near you.

How big is the Canadian tea market?

Canadians consume seven billion cups of tea each year and the Canadian appetite for tea has been growing rapidly. Consumption increased 43 percent between 1996 and 2005 and by 2005 the per capita consumption of tea in Canada was 69.98 litres (or 280 cups) for each Canadian. In 2005 the Canadian tea market was worth about $305 million dollars.

Source: Tea Association of Canada

What ever happened to the Tetley Tea Folk?

The cartoon styled Tetley Tea folk almost had a thirty year run promoting the brand between 1973 and 2002. Originally developed by the D'Arcy advertising agency in England, the campaign of white capped characters had their own tune and spin off ceramics produced by the Wade Company. In 2001, Tetley decided to revise their advertising campaign and gave the host of characters a break.

Source: Marketing Magazine Aug 2002 (Available through the EbscoHost Masterfile Premier Database)

What is white tea?

Although relatively new to the North American palate, white tea has long been a specialty of Fujian Japan. Leaves for white tea come from a number of varieties of white tea cultivars but it is unique mostly because it is made from younger buds and leaves, undergoes a different drying process and is not rolled like regular prepared tea. While tea contains more caffeine, but is lower in flouride and has greater health benefit than green tea because it possesses more anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities.


Who was Earl Grey?

While the bergamot flavoured tea that bears this name is originally of ancient Chinese origin, the man who made the blend fashionable to European taste was better known as a British Prime Minister (1830-1834),the Second Earl of Grey, Edward. The fourth Earl of Grey (Albert) may be known to Canadians, not as a tea-totaler, but as a Governor General of Canada (1904-1911) and the founder of Canada's Grey Cup trophy.

Sources: Book of Tea, by Annie Perrier Robert, World Book Encyclopedia.

What are some of the recent health benefits associated with Tea?

A complex beverage, tea contains many antioxidants and compounds that have been associated with good health and disease prevention. Flavonoids, for example, are compounds that may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and protecting against blood clots. Tea plants have the highest known concentration of Flavonoids and according to the USDA their benefits are transferred to the consumer; Tea drinkers get nearly 700 milligrams per day where non tea drinkers get about 60. Other promising compounds in your teabag include EGCG which has been shown to prevent brain cell damage and deterioration in animals, as well as polyphenols (especially in green tea) which may have a role in protecting DNA from cancer damage. Recent findings reported to the International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Health were summarized in the December 2007 issue of Environmental Nutrition magazine.

Why does Tea relax me?

In short, it goes straight to your head. Most teas contain an amino acid called theanine which has the ability to cross the brain barrier. Once there, theanine affects certain neurotransmitters which in turn produce a calmer state of mind.

Source: Environmental Nutrition Magazine Dec 2007. (Available through the EbscoHost Masterfile Premier Database)

Tracey Zurich, Reference Librarian

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Sunday May 18th, 2008 Fishing

With summer and the warmer weather just around corner, many of us have turned our thoughts to the anticipation of fishing. Whether you cannot distinguish between the bent rod of a snag or actually hooking the big monster you have always told your friends you would land (much like myself) or are experienced and confident in your fishing abilities, the Thunder Bay Public Library can offer you services and resources associated with the subject of fishing.

For the young people (ages 16 years and younger) out there with an interest in fishing, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters have generously donated rods, reels and basic tackle (no hooks) to the TBPL for a service named Tackleshare. Located at our Waverley and Brodie branches (just inquire at the check-out desk), this fishing gear can be loaned out with the presentation of a valid library card.

With numerous books located at the TBPL covering a variety of topics concerning the subject of fishing, there just may be something for everyone. If you are looking for tips to finally out-fish your friends and loved ones to capture the bragging rights for the weekend (when it comes to fishing, there’s no holding back, especially with family), Freshwater Fishing Tips: 300 Tips for Catching More and Bigger Fish by the editors of Creative Publishing International might be the book of choice. Sometimes, getting away from the city for a fishing vacation is just what the doctor ordered. Let the library help with planning your trip by offering up Woodall’s Canada Campground Guide. For those out there wishing a more lighthearted take on fishing, Chicken Soup for the Fisherman’s Soul: Fish Tales to Hook Your Spirit and Snag Your Funny Bone by Jack Canfield is both entertaining and uplifting.

The Thunder Bay Public Library is also current with today’s fishing magazines for your enjoyment. Publications such as Outdoor Canada, Field and Stream and In-Fisherman can be located at our various branches throughout the city to provide a wide range of up-to-date articles focusing on fishing. The TBPL Virtual Collection also contains many electronic resources related to fishing. By accessing the TBPL website, either form home or the library, all one needs to do is possess a valid library card to login to our extensive electronic databases. The Canadian Reference Centre database is an ideal start to our Virtual Collection for information search on the subject of fishing.

An extensive collection of maps featuring many of Thunder Bay’s surrounding lakes and rivers are available for viewing at our Brodie branch location. There are approximately 80 fishing maps that were produced by the Ministry of Natural Resources that chart the depth of each body of water. Crime Stoppers had also produced a series of recreational maps detailing the location of lakes, private and crown land, trails and primary and secondary roads. In addition, there is also a series of maps that showcase a fish species index to highlight the types of fish that can be found at each lake.

These are just a few of many resources available to TBPL visitors that relate to the subject of fish and fishing. You may also want to borrow instructional and informative videos on angling, books featuring fish recipes or seek out information to assist you in taking the perfect picture of your mammoth catch (because you know you need that picture so your friends will actually believe you, you big liar; oh wait, that’s me). So good luck to everyone and I’ll see you on the lake. I’ll be the guy out there with his limit, or in truth, the guy out there standing beside the guy with the limit.

Derek Gradner, Library Assistant

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Sunday May 11th, 2008 Fiction for Mothers Day

As a mother with a full-time job outside of the home, I strive to achieve balance in my life. To me, this means finding time to do the things I want to do, in addition to the daily chores, organization and play time of motherhood, time spent nurturing my relationship with my husband, and the obligations of my professional life. Because time to myself is often elusive, I have spent some time considering what exactly it is I want to do. One of the things I want to do is read.

Ironically, perhaps, when I read, I often read about people like myself – mothers trying to get it right. Maybe it’s part of the sisterhood of motherhood idea – and how it’s always good to know you’re not going through something alone. Or maybe it’s because in comparison to the women in the books I read, my life isn’t really all that complicated. Here are some books about mothers that I have enjoyed.

Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope

I admit I was attracted to this author because we share the same first name! I have continued to read her books because I enjoy the stories of contemporary English life, which are just a bit “deeper” than chick lit, although they still have that fun, light quality. “Friday Nights” is the tale of a group of women and their families brought together by a single, older woman, Eleanor, who sets out to create a life in retirement following a busy career in social service. The story begins when Eleanor invites two young single moms, who she has watched walk up and down her street with their children, over to her house on a Friday night. The small group grows as the women invite other friends along, and the older woman becomes like an anchor of common sense in their tumultuous, intertwined lives.

I don’t know how she does it: The life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson

I read this book when I was pregnant, and it gave me a sense of how motherhood is about figuring things out, and discovering what works for you. Kate is a very high powered business woman who has two very young children. Her life takes the work/life balance issue to the extreme. She goes to great lengths to appear as the consummate professional, and as the perfect mother. One memorable scene in the book involves Kate distressing some store-bought mince-pies (ie. hitting them with a rolling pin), so they will look home-made for the school bake sale. She even hides the packaging so her nanny won’t tell the other nannies her secret. This tale gave me some insight in to the kind of working mother I did NOT want to be!

Little Earthquakes: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner

This story brings together three mothers who meet in pre-natal yoga class. They all have very different lives, and very different ideas about the types of mothers they want to be. It is fascinating to watch how their careful plans unravel, and how they band together to be the best mothers they can for their children. This book helped me realize that the “earthquakes” are going to happen, and often you need help from friends to survive them.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

This book is like the women’s companion to the Old Testament. It tells the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob, sister of Joseph. I was reluctant to read this thick work of Biblical fiction, but, was completely drawn in by the incredible women and their network of supportive relationships. The centre of the women’s lives is the red tent, which is an oasis of “girl power” in their man-centric world. The red tent is where the women go to remove themselves from the males when they are menstruating, pregnant or ill. The red tent is more than a refuge, the women do go there to rest and heal, but they also go there to learn, gossip, laugh and bond. They care for each other’s children, who benefit from the collective knowledge and love of all the women. The red tent symbolizes and nurtures the power of women. This book left me wanting to resurrect the tradition of the red tent, and helped me identify the value of supportive women in my life.

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill

This is a disturbing, engaging story about a motherless young girl, Baby, coming of age on the streets of Montreal. She manages to struggle through, and helps her drug-addict father steer them both in a new direction. The absence of a mother in Baby’s life shapes it significantly as she searches for comfort, love and joy. This book made me think about what my son’s life would be like without me, and how, although I’m far from perfect, it’s good for him to have me, and for me to have him.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there – may you be content with your choices, and find time to do the things that make YOU happy!

Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Library Services, Thunder Bay Public Library

Sunday, 4 May 2008

May 4th, 2008 Spring Cleaning the Clutter

Ah, spring is here! Honestly, spring is just around the corner and that puts me in a mindset to clear the clutter. Yes, this is the time of year to get rid of all the excess in your home. I’m sure you are familiar with this ritual. It’s called “Spring Cleaning”. Getting rid of the junk I’m not using anymore and tidying things up leaves me feeling calm and soothed. A clean, organized home is a much nicer place to be. Fortunately, the Thunder Bay Public Library has a great selection of books to help you get motivated. Why not try one of these:

Consumer Reports How to Clean and Care for Practically Anything by Consumer Reports Books Editors

Whether you're tackling the entire garage or basement or have just five minutes for a quick pickup, this guide describes for readers the best products, methods and strategies for getting things clean and keeping them in tiptop shape.

Real Simple Cleaning by Kathleen Squires
With room-by-room strategies and tips, this edition guides readers through what to do and when to do it, culminating in one cleaning calendar. With this resource, the dirty work, truly, can be done.

Greening Your Cleaning by Deirdre Imus
We all grew up thinking chemical smells like bleach and ammonia signaled "clean." But as Deirdre Imus reveals, some of the chemicals we use to maintain our homes are doing us and our families much more harm than good. In Greening Your Cleaning, the first in her Green This! series, Deirdre shows how cleaning house the environmentally responsible way can be as effective and often cheaper than the more traditional, toxic, means. This volume includes: Simple, efficient cleaning methods for every room of the house, Spotlights on everyday products (all purpose cleaner, glass/window cleaner, laundry detergent) and the toxic ingredients you should be wary of, Summaries of the latest research on the toxic effects of ordinary chemicals, Resource lists of widely available "green cleaning" products and retailers. Filled with tips and testimonials, Greening Your Cleaning will show you how to streamline your cleaning products and practices, and how easy it is to make "living green" your way of life.

Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers of Organization: Unclutter your Home, Unclutter your Life by Christopher Lowell

If Your Closets are Bulging and your drawers are about to explode, you're not alone. The fact is, seven out of ten Americans live in cluttered homes. Our nesting instinct has allowed the stuff to take over. Emmy Award-winning host and design guru Christopher Lowell provides the perfect solution in Seven Layers of Organization. While other books simply show containers and gizmos to get organized, Christopher gets to the bottom of why we just can't seem to let go-and shows us how we can.
As in his smash hit book Christopher Lowell's Seven Layers of Design, Lowell takes you through the organizing process step by step, breaking down each layer into simple tasks that anyone can make time to do. He shows how to plan ahead for better, faster, longer-lasting results; how to decide what to keep and what to toss; and how to store or show off your possessions. You'll also see how each layer works in twelve fabulous room makeovers, from a ship-to-shore nautical bedroom to a Hollywood glam hallway to an inviting his-and-hers office space.

The Clutter Busting Handbook: Clean It Up, Clear It Out, and Keep Your Life Clutter Free by Rita Emmett

Are you tired of being surrounded by so much stuff that you don't know what you have, can't put everything away or find things when you want them? Does your clutter cause you to feel stressed, anxious, or embarrassed? Rita Emmett-a reformed clutterer herself-can help you take control of your possessions. The Clutter-Busting Handbook is a concise, energizing guide that gives you insight and direction as well as proven tips, methods, and strategies to tame your clutter. Emmett reveals: The Four Primary Causes of Clutter, That Cluttering is a Habit even Lifelong Clutterers Can Break, The Powerful Connection Between Clutter and Procrastination, How to Help a Pack Rat Part with Unneeded Objects, How to Prevent Clutter from Returning, Forever. As entertaining as she is helpful, Emmett offers practical advice on deciding what to keep and what to recycle, discard, or donate. Her combination of experience and good humor-based on her hundreds of seminars and advice shared by people all over the country-will turn even the most reluctant converts into clutter busters.

So, let’s get started. Apply soap and water, disinfectant, furniture polish, scouring power, and plenty of elbow grease and you will have results in a matter of hours. You’ll be surprised how much better you will feel and how much easier it is to live in your home when you give it room to breathe, with results lasting at least till the family gets home. Happy cleaning everyone!

Helen Cimone is a Public Services Assistant at the Mary J.L. Black Library